Hi, I need an advice on a very stressful situation:
My relationship broke down. She's not from the EU/EEA and has a Stamp 4 EUFAM. Since we aren't married (just de-facto partners) it means that 1. she has sole custody of our son, 2. she can't apply for retention of immigration permission, so she applied for a safety order (and got a protection order) which was the only way - according to the Domestic violence act - to keep her Stamp 4. There was no violence ever but there were arguments with raised voices - she suffered from depression and anxiety since she was a teenager which got much worse when our son was born, she had frequent rage attacks during which there was some mutual name calling as she threatened me with abducting our son to South America. We weren't living as a couple since 2019 (seperate bedrooms) but were living in one apartment until recently. She refused to attend mediation and refuses to communicate about anything (custody, access). She applied for the safety order after she had been told by a legal advisor that she can't apply for retention of her immigration permission and there's no (other) way to keep her Stamp 4 (since our son doesn't have Irish citizenship). Now I see my son very rarely, he tells me he wants to live with me every time I see him (he always preferred me since he was a toddler, maybe because he witnessed his mother's frequent rage attacks since he was born, but he's only 4 years old so I don't think it'd be relevant to the court). I've applied for guardianship/custody/access but the hearing was scheduled in half a year. On top of all that, since my ex works full time, our son spends every day not with my ex but with his grandmother - my ex's mother (who came to Ireland as a tourist in 2019 and simply stayed living with us so she's here undocumented).
You can imagine it's very stressful not only for me but also for our son. Thanks a lot for reading this, any advice please?
You need legal advice of your own, pronto, from a solicitor who specialises in this area. And I don't just mean family law, I mean non-married couples where one party is non-EU.
And if you haven't been keeping a record of ALL of her threats, etc, start now.
If a child is born outside of marriage, the mother is the automatic guardian. The position of the unmarried father of the child is not as certain. An unmarried father will automatically be a guardian if he has lived with the child's mother for 12 consecutive months after 18 January 2016, including at least 3 months with the mother and child following the child's birth. If there is disagreement as to whether they have been cohabiting for the required length of time, an application for the necessary declaration can be made to the court.
Source: Citizens Information (dot) ie - Legal Guardianship and Cohabitating Couples
Contact Treoir to discuss your more specific situation. I can't post links, but their helpline is 01-6700120 or you can click a link on their site and they will call you back.
"Frequent rage attacks" that got worse after birth sounds like un-diagnosed / un-treated Post Natal Depression.
Would you have any recommendation?
Thanks a lot. I know about this automatic guardianship, she does as well and my solicitor told her about this explicitly but she keeps ignoring it.
As for the post natal depression, this was exactly the case, it was diagnosed very early but she refused treatment.
Be very careful if she took out a protection order
Very easy to use and you'll find yourself in court
Good that the mother has been advised that you are a guardian. She cannot claim ignorance of your rights so.
The only other suggestion I have is that if you're concerned about a flight risk, and your child's mother has threatened this, that you / your solicitor apply to the court for you to retain control of your child's passport, if they already have one.
Especially important if the mother's country of origin is not a signatory to the Hague Convention.
“Good that the mother has been advised that you are a guardian. She cannot claim ignorance of your rights so.”
She knew it from the beginning but ignores it. She also completely denies access.