Guardianship of Infants Act 1925

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1925 c. 45


Guardianship of Infants Act, 1925

(15 & 16 Geo. 5.) CHAPTER 45.

An Act to amend the Law with respect to the Guardianship, Custody and Marriage of Infants.

[31st July 1925]

Whereas Parliament by the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, 1919, and various other enactments, has sought to establish equality in law between the sexes, and it is expedient that this principle should obtain with respect to the guardianship of infants and the rights and responsibilities conferred thereby:

Be it therefore enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Principle on which questions relating to custody, upbringing, &c. of infants are to be decided.

1 Principle on which questions relating to custody, upbringing, &c. of infants are to be decided.

1. Where in any proceeding before any court (whether or not a court within the meaning of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1886) the custody or upbringing of an infant, or the administration of any property belonging to or held on trust for an infant, or the application of the income thereof, is in question, the court, in deciding that question, shall regard the welfare of the infant as the first and paramount consideration, and shall not take into consideration whether from any other point of view the claim of the father, or any right at common law possessed by the father, in respect of such custody, upbringing, administration or application is superior to that of the mother, or the claim of the mother is superior to that of the father.

S-2 Equal right of mother to apply to court.

2 Equal right of mother to apply to court.

2. The mother of an infant shall have the like powers to apply to the court in respect of any matter affecting the infant as are possessed by the father.

S-3 Amendment of 49 & 50 Vict. c. 27. s. 5 with respect to the custody and maintenance of infants.

3 Amendment of 49 & 50 Vict. c. 27. s. 5 with respect to the custody and maintenance of infants.

(1) The power of the court under section five of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1886, to make an order as to the custody of an infant and the right of access thereto may be exercised notwithstanding that the mother of the infant is then residing with the father of the infant.

(2) Where the court under the said section as so amended makes an order giving the custody of the infant to the mother, then, whether or not the mother is then residing with the father, the court may further order that the father shall pay to the mother towards the maintenance of the infant such weekly or other periodical sum as the court, having regard to the means of the father, may think reasonable.

(3) No such order, whether for custody or maintenance, shall be enforceable and no liability thereunder shall accrue while the mother resides with the father, and any such order shall cease to have effect if for a period of three months after it is made the mother of the infant continues to reside with the father.

(4) Any order so made may, on the application either of the father or the mother of the infant, be varied or discharged by a subsequent order.

S-4 Rights of surviving parent as to guardianship.

4 Rights of surviving parent as to guardianship.

(1) On the death of the father of an infant, the mother, if surviving, shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be guardian of the infant, either alone or jointly with any guardian appointed by the father. When no guardian has been appointed by the father or if the guardian or guardians appointed by the father is or are dead or refuses or refuse to act, the court may if it thinks fit appoint a guardian to act jointly with the mother.

(2) On the death of the mother of an infant, the father, if surviving, shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be guardian of the infant, either alone or jointly with any guardian appointed by the mother. When no guardian has been appointed by the mother or if the guardian or guardians appointed by the mother is or are dead or refuses or refuse to act, the court may if it thinks fit appoint a guardian to act jointly with the father.

(3) Section two of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1886, is hereby repealed.

S-5 Power of father and mother to appoint testamentary guardians.

5 Power of father and mother to appoint testamentary guardians.

(1) The father of an infant may by deed or will appoint any person to be guardian of the infant after his death.

(2) The mother of an infant may by deed or will appoint any person to be guardian of the infant after her death.

(3) Any guardian so appointed shall act jointly with the mother or father, as the case may be, of the infant so long as the mother or father remains alive unless the mother or father objects to his so acting.

(4) If the mother or father so objects, or if the guardian so appointed as aforesaid considers that the mother or father is unfit to have the custody of the infant, the guardian may apply to the court, and the court may either ref use to make any order (in which case the mother or father shall remain sole guardian) or make an order that the guardian so appointed shall act jointly with the mother or father, or that he shall be sole guardian of the infant, and in the latter case may make such order regarding the custody of the infant and the right of access thereto of its mother or father as, having regard to the welfare of the infant, the court may think fit, and may further order that the mother or father shall pay to the guardian towards the maintenance of the infant such weekly or other periodical sum as, having regard to the means of the mother or father, the court may consider reasonable.

(5) Where guardians are appointed by both parents, the guardians so appointed shall after the death of the surviving parent act jointly.

(6) If under the preceding section a guardian has been appointed by the court to act jointly with a surviving parent, he shall continue to act as guardian after the death of the surviving parent; but if the surviving parent has appointed a guardian, the guardian appointed by the court shall act jointly with the guardian appointed by the surviving parent.

(7) Section three of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1886, is hereby repealed.

S-6 Disputes between joint guardians.

6 Disputes between joint guardians.

6. Where two or more persons act as joint guardians of an infant and they are unable to agree on any question affecting the welfare of the infant, any of them may apply to the court for its direction, and the court may make such order regarding the matters in difference as it nay think proper.

S-7 Extension of jurisdiction to courts of summary jurisdiction.

7 Extension of jurisdiction to courts of summary jurisdiction.

(1) For the purposes of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1886, as amended by this Act, the expression ‘the court’ shall include a court of summary jurisdiction:

Provided that a court of summary jurisdiction shall not be competent—

(a ) to entertain any application other than an application for variation or...

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