My boyfriend and I have been together for approx. 6 years and we have two young children together. He has recently asked me to nominate him as their Guardian. We are very happy and he is very good with the children. I am unsure however whether I should nominate him as a Guardian and how that would affect my rights to the children. I would appreciate your advice.
Thank you for your letter. As you and your boyfriend are not married, you as their lawful mother are regarded as the children’s sole Guardian, regardless of whether your boyfriend’s name is registered on their Birth Certificates. A guardian of children has a legal duty to maintain and properly care for them. Also, to make decisions about their religious and secular education, their health requirements and their general welfare. If you were to agree to nominate your boyfriend as Guardian of your children then he too would be able to make these decisions on their behalf. You would remain their sole Custodian however and the final decision would rest with you. Your boyfriend can become a joint-guardian provided both of you sign a Statutory Declaration. This Declaration must be signed in the presence of a Practising Solicitor, Peace Commissioner or Commissioner for Oaths. If, on the other hand, you do not want to appoint your boyfriend as a Guardian, then your boyfriend may apply to the District Court without your consent. While a Court will take your views into account, the fact that you do not consent does not automatically mean that the Court will refuse the Application. Instead, the Court will determine what is in the best interests of the children, their welfare being of paramount consideration.
With Every Good Wish.