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Written Answers - Proposed Legislation

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 123.  Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  when she plans to introduce legislation in line with the paragraph 4.12 of the Report on Family Relationships by the Law Reform Commission regarding statutory declarations by mothers regarding the father of their child; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19619/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Under current legislation, section 46 of the Status of Children Act 1987 provides for a legal presumption that a man in a subsisting [188]marriage (or in a marriage that subsisted up to ten months before the birth of a child) is the father of all children of that marriage.

Under the provisions of section 22(3) of the Civil Registration Act 2004, a woman who is in a subsisting marriage can rebut the presumption of paternity by providing to the registrar of births either:

a statutory declaration of the person or each person to whom the mother was married at some time during the period of 10 months prior to the birth that he is not the father of the child, or

a statutory declaration of the mother that she has been living apart from the person who is or any person who formerly was her husband during the period of 10 months ending immediately before the birth of the child by virtue of a decree of divorce, a decree of divorce a mensa et thor o, a decree of nullity or a deed of separation, or

a court order (such as a Guardianship Order or a Declaration of Parentage) which names another man as the father of the child.

Paragraph 4.12 of the Report on Family Relationships by the Law Reform Commission contains a recommendation that a statutory declaration, made by the mother of a child and accompanied by evidence, to the effect that she has had no contact with her husband within 10 months of the birth of her child, and that he is not the child’s father, should be sufficient to rebut the legal presumption that he is the father of all children of the marriage.

This and other proposals contained in the report that are relevant to the Civil Registration Service are currently under active consideration and it is expected that I will be in a position to introduce legislation on this, and other aspects of civil registration, in 2012.


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