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Access refers to the right of the parent with whom the child does not reside to spend time with the child. It can include the right to have the child stay overnight either occasionally, on alternate weekends or during school holidays and the right for parent and child to go on holidays together.

In the event that agreement cannot be reached, either parent may make an application to the court to decide which parent will have custody of the child and what access the non-custodial parent will have. The application can be made to the District Court or can be made in an application for judicial separation or divorce in the Circuit Court.

In any application for custody or access, it is the welfare of the child that is the most important factor that a court will consider.

It is a child’s right to see both parents and access by the non-custodial parent will only be denied if the court believes that it is not in the best interest of the child. The court can set out the time, place and duration of access visits and can order supervised access where another adult is present during visits if it considers it appropriate.

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