Maintenance is financial support paid by a person for the benefit of a dependent child or children. It is important to note that both parents have responsibilities to support their children financially. Parents are responsible for maintaining their dependent child up to the child’s 18th birthday or up to the age of 23 if the child is in full time education. If the child has a mental or physical disability to such an extent that is it is not possible for the child to maintain her/himself fully then there is no upper age limit for seeking maintenance for his/her support.
Parents can make informal arrangements in relation to maintenance. However if maintenance cannot be agreed between the parents then an application for maintenance should be made to the court.
The type of application depends on whether or not you are married and whether or not you are seeking maintenance for yourself and for your dependent child.
The various maintenance applications forms can be found at www.courts.ie
The maximum that the District Court can order for maintenance of a child is €150 per week from either parent. The maximum that the District Court can order for the maintenance of a spouse is €500 per week. A parent can seek a contribution from the other parent towards expenses related to the birth of a child, or funeral expenses if a dependent child dies. The maximum that the District Court can award is €2,000. If you are seeking greater amount than those as mentioned above, it is necessary to apply to the Circuit Court or to the High Court.
Maintenance & Income Tax Maintenance:
Maintenance payments are not taxed and tax relief is available for maintenance payments to children.
How Maintenance Affects Social Welfare Payments?
If a parent is receiving One-parent Family Payment (OFP) he or she is required to seek the maintenance from the other parent and OFP may then be reduced by approximately half the amount of the maintenance being paid.
If you wish to appeal the decision of the District Court you have 14 days to do so. You have 10 days to appeal a maintenance order made in the Circuit Court to the High Court.
What if he/she does not pay maintenance?
If you have received a maintenance order against one parent and they have refused or neglected to pay, you can obtain an attachment of earnings order. An attachment of earnings order can be sought if the person paying the maintenance is employed. This order will direct the maintenance debtors’ employer to deduct the specified sum from the debtor’s wages. Since 1995, the person who is ordered to pay maintenance, does not need to default on it before an application for attachment of earnings order can be made.
Please click on this link for an attachment of earnings order application form www.courts.ie
Q. Who can apply for maintenance?
A. A spouse can apply for maintenance on behalf of himself/herself. A parent can apply for maintenance on behalf of his/her dependent child.
Q. How much maintenance am I entitled to?
A. Unfortunately, there is no set amount and each application depends on a variety of circumstances eg financial stability, employment status, out-goings. The court has to balance the needs of the child against the needs of the parent.
Q. How much does it cost and how long will it take?
A. A maintenance application in the District Court usually costs between €700 and €1000 and usually takes up to eight weeks.