Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Letter to the Irish Government

Dear TD's and Senators,

With all the recent fuss about austerity and water charges, other issues have been kept out of the public eye. I am specifically referring to children, there is one area that I take particular issue with.

Namely, where the mother of a child is married, any children are automatically deemed to be her husbands. I'll give you my circumstances.

I met a woman in 2007. At this time she was married but living apart from her husband for over a year. She had custody of their children and he had court ordered access. There were numerous issues, child welfare concerns and safety of the children during his care. My partner became pregnant in 2008 and gave birth to my son that same year. When attempting to register his birth, we were informed that as she was still legally married, her husband must sign a declaration stating he was not the father. Eventually he did. After some expense on our part, paying for solicitors letters.

In 2009 my partner returned to court over access and a no access order was granted. Due to a clerical error, no order was written on the papers. The legal aid centre will not proceed with a divorce or legal separation until this error is resolved. It cannot be resolved without returning to court as the judge involved is no longer sitting.

In February thus year we became the proud parents of a beautiful little girl. As of today she is still unregistered.

Why? Because even though she has had no contact with her husband for over six years, he is deemed the father, unless he signs a declaration stating otherwise!

There was an opportunity to rectify this stupid and antiquated law in the children's and family bill.

As with anything useful, this government has chosen to ignore the issue and leave some of us fathers with no option but to take up, the already overstretched court services, time on a silly administrative issue.

Why can the mother not just name the father on the birth certificate like all other civilised countries.

Yours Sincerely

The Dad Network


  1. How ridiculous and what an old fashioned system. Obviously todays families are a lot different and often blended, so surely the law should allow for that! Brilliant post Alan, it's clearly something that needs bringing attention to. Stevie :)

  2. It is ridiculous, but I suppose its one of those things that only affect a few people. Not enough to warrant a change.

  3. How stupid, infuriating, pathetic and ridiculous and any other verb that suits!! Why on earth is it not the same as other countries?? This makes you at least in the legal system a nobody. Despite being two of the children's dad. Has the last 6 years meant nothing?!

    This really needs sorting. Am pleased that you posted it. It's brilliantly written and highlight what is a massive flaw within the system!

    Good for sharing it with us on the #bigfatlinky

    1. The bill going through the Dail gives fathers guardianship. They are not changing the law in respect of a married woman's husband having to declare he is not the father though. It's madness.

  4. Wow that is archaic! I'm shocked that things like this still exist, it reminds me a little of how some countries laws are totally crazy (I recall a story in the US of a man who has been imprisoned for failure to pay child support to a child who is not his, proven through DNA and not even knowing the child, because the mother added him to the birth certificate).

    1. I know complete madness Ashley. Thanks for reading and commenting :-)