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7 1964



Enforcement of Right of Custody

Definitions for Part III.

13. —In this Part—

the court” means the High Court;

health authority” has the meaning assigned to it by subsection (1) of section 2 of the Health Act, 1947 , as amended by section 9 of the Health Authorities Act, 1960 ;

parent” includes a guardian of the person and any person at law liable to maintain an infant or entitled to his custody;

person” includes any school or institution.

Power of court as to production of infant.

14. —Where a parent of an infant applies to the court for an order for the production of the infant and the court is of opinion that that parent has abandoned or deserted the infant or that he has otherwise so conducted himself that the court should refuse to enforce his right to the custody of the infant, the court may in its discretion decline to make the order.

Power to court to order repayment of costs of bringing up infant.

15. —Where, upon application by a parent for the production of an infant, the court finds—

(a) that the infant is being brought up at the expense of another person, or

(b) that at any time assistance has been provided for the infant by a health authority under section 55 of the Health Act, 1953 ,

the court may, in its discretion, if it orders the infant to be given up to the parent, further order that the parent shall pay to that person or health authority the whole of the costs properly incurred by the person or health authority in bringing up or providing assistance for the infant or such portion thereof as the court considers reasonable, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including, in particular, the means of the parent.

Court in making order to have regard to conduct of parent.

16. —Where a parent has—

(a) abandoned or deserted an infant, or

(b) allowed an infant to be brought up by another person at that person's expense, or to be provided with assistance by a health authority under section 55 of the Health Act, 1953 , for such a length of time and under such circumstances as to satisfy the court that the parent was unmindful of his parental duties,

the court shall not make an order for the delivery of the infant to the parent unless the parent has satisfied the court that he is a fit person to have the custody of the infant.

Power of court as to infant's religious education.

17. —(1) Upon any application by a parent for the production or custody of an infant, if the court is of opinion that that parent ought not to have the custody of the infant, the court shall have power to make such order as it thinks fit to secure that the infant be brought up in the religion in which the parents, or a parent, have or has a legal right to require that the infant should be brought up.

(2) Nothing in this Act shall interfere with or affect the power of the court to consult the wishes of the infant in considering what order ought to be made or diminish the right which any infant now possesses to the exercise of his own free choice.

Custody where parents are separated.

18. —(1) In any case where a decree for divorce a mensa et thoro is pronounced, the court may thereby declare the parent by reason of whose misconduct the decree is made to be a person unfit to have the custody of the children (if any) of the marriage or of any children adopted under the Adoption Act, 1952 , by the parents jointly; and in such case, the parent so declared to be unfit shall not, on the death of the other parent, be entitled as of right to the custody of the children.

(2) A provision contained in any separation agreement made between the father and mother of an infant shall not be invalid by reason only of its providing that one of them shall give up the custody or control of the infant to the other.