Sunday, October 10, 2010

Unmarried Irish dads have no rights

Robert Franklin writes:
For about 10 years, an Irish man and woman lived together in that country. They were not married but had three children together. Last year, she abducted all three children to England. The father petitioned courts in Ireland, England and an EU court in Luxembourg, and all three agree; what the mother did is perfectly acceptable and legal.

How can that be? Well, here's the reasoning as I understand it. In Ireland, unmarried mothers and unmarried fathers are treated differently under the laws governing their parental rights. Mothers have full parental rights by virtue of being mothers. Unmarried fathers, on the other hand, must petition to be recognized as fathers and have their parental rights established by a court of competent jurisdiction. ...

The father in the case linked to hadn't done that. According to previous articles, he believed that, having been his children's only father, having helped to support and care for them meant something (a) to the mother and (b) to Irish law. He turned out to have been wrong on both counts.
I actually do not find this so outrageous. Establishing paternity used to be considered one of the main purposes of marriage. If Ireland still has that understanding, then men should know that they have to establish paternity somehow in order to gain their parental rights.

I was actually surprised to learn that in California, marriage has so little to do with a child custody dispute. In the western world outside of Ireland, marriage is being replaced by the DNA test for establishing paternity. Get used to it. Probably eventually the DNA test will be attached to the birth certificate. Marriage is a financial agreement, and the connection to paternity is being abolished.

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