Common Applications

Below is a list of some of the main procedures.


To make an application to the District Court to be appointed legal guardian of the child, the Applicant father must file and issue an Application for Guardianship

Custody and Access

A Notice of Application for the direction of the District Court must be filed and issued by the Applicant and served upon the Respondent. The application before the Court will allow the Applicant to seek the direction and orders of the District Court on the issues of custody and/or access as appropriate.


Married parents are presumed under law to be the parents of a child born to the mother, unless the contrary is proven. Where parents who are not married and the paternity of the child is in dispute, the court may order that the parties undergo paternity testing prior to any court order being made as regards guardianship, or maintenance. In such circumstances, an application for the ordering of a paternity test can be made to the court


When issuing a passport for a minor the Minister has to be reasonably certain that the passport has been consented to by in the case of a child with 2 legal guardians, both legal guardians, and in the case of a child with more than 2 legal guardians, no fewer than  2 legal guardians.

Where a parent of a child is not the legal guardian of a child  the Minister must take into account the circumstances of the individual case before he may grant a passport without that parent’s consent.

When the application for a passport concerns a child who is not ordinarily resident in Ireland a passport may be granted without the consent of  other  guardian(s)  when

A) A court or competent judicial or administrative authority the child lives in normally, takes a measure directing that a passport may be issued to the child without the consent to such issue of the other guardian(s)


B)if  the  laws surrounding the requirements relating to the consent of the other guardian(s)of the child have been fulfilled in the country the child ordinarily lives in.


Domestic violence

An application for a remedy in circumstances of domestic violence can be made to the District Court. The Applicant must issue and serve on the Respondent, a document called a ‘‘Summons’. For example a summons for a safety order will issue where the Applicant seeks the protection of the Courts without the necessity to remove the Respondent from the Family home. An Applicant can seek the protection of the court, and apply for whatever remedy is most appropriate:

  • Summons for a Safety Order
  • Summons for a Barring Order
  • Information for an interim barring order
  • Information for a Protection Order

See further on Domestic Violence

 Useful Resources

The FLAC website offers very informative documents explaining all aspects of Maintenance, including the process surrounding a court application; Domestic Violence, including an explanation of the remedies available and how the process works; and Family law and children; explaining the processes surrounding guardianship, custody and access applications.

The Legal Aid Board has also produced very useful documents explaining all aspects of Maintenance, Domestic Violence, Children and Family law; explaining the processes surrounding guardianship, custody and access applications.

The Aim Family Services website similarly provides a question and answer list in its sections on all aspects of family law proceedings, and in relation to District Court applications, provides useful information on maintenance , Children and the law; which covers issues including applications for guardianship, access and custody and Domestic Violence applications.

The Courts Service website has a very useful family law webpage; which includes a very informative section on court procedure with detail on the laws and procedures for individual applications in the areas of:


One Family

Legal Aid Board

  • Address: Legal Aid Board, Quay Street, Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry.
  • Tel: (066) 947 1000 Lo-call No: 1890 615 200  Fax: (066) 947 1035
  • Website:

Free Legal Advice Centre

  • Address: Free Legal Advice Centre, 13 Lower Dorset Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
  • Legal information lines: Lo-Call: 1890 350 250 / +353 1 874 5690
  • Website:

Family Mediation Service

Citizens Information

The Courts Service

  • Address: 15 – 24 Phoenix Street North, Smithfield, Dublin 7
  • Tel: 01 1 888 6000 (main switchboard)
  • Website: