Apart from orders under the Adoption Act or the Childrens Acts, a father or guardian has an absolute right to the custody of the child. It is a criminal offence to take away any child under 14 with the intent to deprive the father or guardian of the possession thereof or to take away an unmarried girl under 16 out of the possession and against the will of her parents or the person having charge of her. There is also a civil right of action against a person who takes away a child, and on the matter coming before them the Court will make an order as to custody, based on what is the real interest of the child.
Servant of her Parent
It is a legal fiction that a daughter is the servant of her parent. On such grounds the parent may maintain an action for damages arising out of the loss of the services of a daughter who has been seduced, whether she be a person under
Parents can recover damages for injuries causing the death of their child providing the suit be brought a year after the death, and that some proof of pecuniary loss arising because of the death be given. Parents may also claim under the Workmens Compensation Acts for fatal accidents to young workmen.
DUTY TO MAINTAIN CHILDREN
ALTHOUGH a father is bound to main- tain his child or his step-child, the duty is by no means so strict as that of a hus-band in respect of his wife. If he starve the child he may be punished for the criminal offence of cruelty, if he fail to call in medical assistance and the childs death be accelerated, he can be charged with man-slaughter. If the child become a charge on the poor law authority a maintenance order can be obtained against the father.
There is only a moral obligation unen-forceable in law to maintain his child in a manner conforming with his own station in life. A provision of the bare necessities of life fulfils the parents obligation. A child cannot, like a wife, pledge the fathers credit for necessaries, and only by consent can he contract as his parents agent. Contracts of service, if beneficial, may be entered into by a person under 21. A tort committed by the child, unless agency can be proved, is the responsibility of the child, not of the father.
Elementary education is now provided free. The child must attend school until 14 years of age, an obligation that may be enforced by proceedings in the police courts, and fines on the parents, but the matter goes no further than this. There is no duty cast upon the father to provide a superior education.