Guardianship describes the legal responsibility of parents to make decisions and perform duties in relation to their child’s upbringing. Married parents are automatically joint guardians of their children. Neither separation nor divorce changes this.
Section 2 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 gives new rights to unmarried fathers, Civil Partners, step- parents, cohabiting couples, grandparents and those acting in loco parentis to a child.
Who is automatically a Guardian?
- The mother of the child
- The father of the child married to the mother
- The unmarried father who lives with the mother for at least 12 months (9 months before the birth and 3 months after the birth)
- Adoptive parents whether married, civilly partnered or a cohabiting couple or survivor of them
- A parent
A person other than a parent if:
- They are married, civilly partnered or cohabiting with a parent of a child
- Or they have provided day to day of the child for a continuous period of twelve months and the child has no parent of guardian willing or able to rear the child and provided that notification is given to the parent of the child and also to TULSA (The Child and Family Agency) and guardian consents or that consent is dispensed with. The child will have the right to have his or her opinion taken into account . The Court can order what guardianship rights the guardian will be given and will take into account the relationship between the child and the applicant guardian and the best interest of the child.