Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve just found out I’m pregnant and don’t know what to do.
You could contact one of the publicly funded pregnancy counselling agencies who will talk to you about all your options. See www.positiveoptions.ie.
Does putting the father’s name on the birth cert give him any rights in respect of his child?
No. Having the father’s name on the birth cert does not give him any guardianship rights in respect of his child. See our information on Guardianship, Access and Custody and Birth Registration.
As an unmarried father how much maintenance will I be expected to pay?
An unmarried father has a responsibility to maintain his child but he has no responsibility to maintain the mother of his child. There is no fixed amount of maintenance. The only guideline available is that €150 is the most a father can be asked to pay per week per child in the local district court. There is no maximum amount in the circuit court. See our information on Maintenance. You could also have a look at our Expenses Sheet which might help you to work out maintenance payments together.
My child’s father is not paying any maintenance so I don’t think he should see his child. Is this right?
No. Generally it is good for a child to be in touch with her/his dad and dads should be paying maintenance if they can afford it. But one doesn’t depend on the other. For further information see Shared Parenting and Treoir's "Family Links" booklet.
Does my child’s father have to sign the passport application form? We are not married to each other.
This depends on whether he is a joint guardian or not. If he is a guardian his signature is required. If he is not a guardian, his signature is not required. For further information see our information on Passports.
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My child’s father keeps in touch only rarely. Would it be better if he didn’t visit at all?
Research shows that children appreciate any contact with both parents, no matter how little. However, it is best if contact can take place in an atmosphere where there is no conflict. For further information see Shared Parenting and Treoir's "Family Links" booklet.
Where can I get a paternity test done?
Contact one of the agencies listed in Establishing Paternity.
My child’s mother won’t let me see my son since she got a new boyfriend. What can I do?
In Access and Custody you will find ways of arranging access to children where this is difficult – either by talking to each other, with the help of a mediator or collaborative lawyer or, as a last resort, going to court.
If the father’s name is on the birth cert, will it affect my One-Parent Family Payment?
No. Whether or not the father’s name is on the birth cert you will be asked to try and get maintenance from the father for his child. For further information see Maintenance and Money if you are not working outside the home.
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As an unmarried father how can I put my name on my child’s birth cert if the mother doesn’t want me to?
You must have a court order (for access, custody or guardianship) to do this. For further information see Birth Registration.
Will I lose my One-Parent Family Payment if the father pays maintenance?
No. About half of what the father pays will be deducted from your Allowance. For further information see Maintenance and Money if you are working outside the home.
How much can I earn before my One-Parent Family Payment is reduced?
The first €90 of weekly earnings is disregarded. About half of the remainder of your wages is counted as means. For further information see Money if you are working outside the home.
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I’m worried that if something happens to me there will be no-one to look after my daughter. What should I do?
It is very important that you make a will setting out who you would like to be guardian and who you would like to care for your daughter in the event of your death. This is especially important if you are your child’s only guardian. Most Citizens Information Centres have Free Legal Advice in their Centres on certain nights and you could get advice there about making a will. For your nearest centre LoCall 1890 777121. See Guardianship for more information.
If you would like to talk through your individual situation, please call us on our confidential LoCall number 1890 252 084
"I have just come across your website and am very impressed with the level of detail & amount of information available" Email from client January 2014