Maintenance, Access and Guardianship

Marriage Breakdown

Download Maintenance Access Guardianship Notes


Who is maintenance payable for?

There is a legal responsibility in Ireland on both spouses to maintain each other and on parents to maintain their children in accordance with their means.

Is there a definition for the word child?

Both parents have a responsibility to support their children financially.  This applies to all parents, whether married, separated, living together or if they have never lived together.  Child maintenance is payable for a child up to the age of 18 or to the age of 23 if the child is in full time education.

If the child has a mental or physical disability to such a degree that it will not be possible for the child to maintain him/herself fully, then there is no age limit on the maintenance payments.

What is standard maintenance here?

A standard rate of child maintenance payment does not exist here currently but the District Court has the power to award maintenance of up to €150 per week per child and up to €500 per week per spouse and if someone is seeking higher maintenance than this they will have to apply through the Circuit Court.

If someone is not working, will they still have to pay maintenance?

Yes. I have seen cases where the Judge will award up to €40 per week child maintenance out of someone’s Social Welfare.

Does a parent who pays maintenance gain any rights over the children?

No.  Paying maintenance does not give a parent any rights of guardianship or access.

Can access be denied without maintenance?

If an ex partner does not pay maintenance – access cannot be dependant on maintenance.  A child’s welfare takes priority, which means having both parents in his/her life.

What is Spousal Maintenance?

A married person can seek maintenance following the breakdown of the marriage.  The obligation to maintain and support a husband/wife continues even if the person paying the maintenance remarries and takes on the responsibility for the support of a new spouse and dependent children.  Subject to the terms of any agreement reached or to the terms of a court order, a husband/wife only stops being responsible for the maintenance and support of the person receiving the maintenance when that person dies or remarries.

Surprisingly, recent report findings showed that spousal maintenance is not the norm in Ireland.

If father and mother are working and custody is given to father, does spousal maintenance apply to the father?

At Lynch Solicitors we deal with situations where a mother pays maintenace to a father.  The rights are the same, irrespective of whether the father or the mother is financially dependent on the other.

Is there Legal Aid for someone who wants to go to Court for Maintenance?

There is free legal aid granted to anyone who is earning less than €18,000 per year.

If a couple is not married, but co-habiting are they entitled to maintenance?

Prior to January 2010 parties were only entitled to spousal maintenance if they were married.

This all changed with the Civil Partnership Act.  Under the Civil Partnership Act a cohabiting couple must have lived together in an intimate and committed relationship for five years or two years if the parties have children together.

A cohabiting couple does not have automatic rights.  They must show financial dependency as a result of the relationship and its demise and it is a matter for the Courts to decide who “qualifies” as a cohabiting couple.  The Court does. if the parties qualify, have the power to award maintenance to an ex-partner.

When a marriage / relationship breaks down how is the question of maintenance i.e. financing the needs of children and the dependant spouse, arranged?

There are a number of options available:

  • In situations where parents are unmarried or separated, they can agree between themselves what maintenance is paid and they can agree the method of payment etc.
  • Alternatively, each parent can engage their Solicitor who will attempt to negotiate an agreement. Both parents can then sign this agreement which can later be made a rule of court. A rule of court means that these agreements have the same effect as a maintenance order
  • If the parties cannot agree upon maintenance, either party can apply to court for a maintenance order and in these circumstances the Judge decides what maintenance is to be paid.

How does the Court decide on the level of maintenance?

The Judge will look at the individual circumstances of each case and the Judge will decide what maintenance would be appropriate. Each party will have filed in Court an Affidavit of Means setting out their income and expenditure and the Judge will look at each of these in detail and it comes down to needs versus resources.  What does one party need and what can the other party afford.

Basically the calculation of how much maintenance is to be paid in any particular case is ultimately a matter for the court to decide, and each case will stand on its own facts. There is no set formula and the Court must attempt to strike a balance in all circumstances and will also take into account all matters it considers proper.

When a Maintenance Order is made, how is the money paid?

The maintenance can be paid by standing order directly between the parties’ bank accounts or it can be paid through the District Court Office.  The advantage of it being paid through the District Court Office is that the District Court Clerk will monitor the payments and will pursue the payer if he/her defaults.  The District Court records all payments so a print out of these is available to either party on request.

What recourse is there if maintenance is not paid as required?

In cases where a spouse fails to comply with a court order and does not pay the amount awarded, an Attachment of Earnings Order can be sought from the court,. This order results in the maintenance amount being deducted at source by the spouse’s employer- The employer has to comply with this otherwise he would be held in contempt of court.

If the spouse is self-employed, an Enforcement Summons can be applied for. When that person comes before the Court the Judge can if he has no Defence, imprison him or her for a maximum period of three months.

Can a maintenance order be varied?

Yes, you can apply to the Court to have the maintenance order varied if there is a change in circumstances e.g. the paying party looses his/her job. However, you are liable for the amount under the original order until such time as it is varied by the Court.

Who will be in Court when my maintenance application is being heard by the Judge?

All Family Law proceedings are heard in-camera which means that they are heard in private, this means that no of the public are allowed to sit in the Court room during the hearing of family law cases. The only people that will be present are both parties, their Solicitors, the Judge and the Court Clerk.

Can a mother look for maintenance for the children if the father is not on the birth certificate?

Yes, absolutely, being on the birth certificate is irrelevant to these types of applications.


What does Guardianship mean?

Guardianship means the rights and duties of parents in respect of the upbringing of their children.  It includes the duty to maintain and properly care for the child and it refers to the decisions which must be made during the child’s lifetime which relate to the general lifestyle and development of the child.  Being a Guardian requires a person to partake in the important decisions in a child’s life e.g. education, religion and general rearing.

Who can be Guardian?

The natural mother is automatically guardian.  If the mother and father are married at the time of the birth of the child- the father is automatically guardian.

The natural father who is not married to the mother can apply to the Court to be appointed Guardian of the child.  However, the easiest route to appoint a father a guardian is if the mother agrees to his appointment, both parties can sign a statutory declaration in front of a Solicitor appointing the father guardian.

An unmarried father has to take positive action in order to become Guardian of his children.  This involves either:

  • Marrying the mother of the child subsequent to the birth
  • Making an application to the Court to be appointed Guardian under section 6A of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964
  • Asking the mother to sign a Declaration consenting to both parents being joint Guardians.

For further advice or if you wish to discuss any other legal area please contact or telephone 052-6124344.

The material contained in this blog is provided for general information purposes only and does not amount to legal or other professional advice. While every care has been taken in the preparation of the information, we advise you to seek specific advice from us about any legal decision or course of action.

252 Comments to “ Maintenance, Access and Guardianship”

  1. Bridie Cox says :

    My husband is employed in England. He returns every 1/2 weeks and uses all the facilities. He refuses to contribute to the bills and may buy coal when he feels like it and so fort. I have tried discussing same with him….he refuses to communicate. I , for the sake of the family would like it sorted amicably.I don’t get maintenance. I’m 66 and on a pension

    1. John M. Lynch says :


      The best way to sort it out is amicably for all concerned. However, if he won’t talk to you, you may have to make an Application to your local District Court for maintenance. Taking the steps to make such an application might bring the matter to a head.

  2. ursula says :

    when does child maintenance finnish in ireland , and in what circumstances can it continue and until when ?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Child maintenance usually finished at 18 years unless the child is in full time education (23 years ) or has a disability ( until the disability ends).

  3. Jennifer says :

    I would like my ex partner to have supervised access with our two young children, preferably going through the court system as he has had a poor upbringing and a criminal past. I want a barring order put in place for my safety but he says because he hasn’t assaulted me in over 5 years that I can’t get one only a protection order. I don’t even know if I have his correct address for it to be issued.
    I am not interested in maintenance although he claims the two acts are intertwining, saying if I look for access there will be a maintenance order put in place. I’m fairly sure this is wrong. Thank you

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      As a general comment without knowing the specifics, access is better done by agreement rather Court orders, maintenance and access are not necessarily linked and a barring order is rare where the evidence based on a 5 years old episode of assault.

  4. Sarah prior says :

    my sister is an alcohalic the social got her to sign a form when she was drunk which left her kids with his ones . He is also an alcohalic . She left him and went to rehab and is seven months sober . They are not married either. She is home now with my parents but the social keep pressing her to sign this gaurdingship letter even though he has said to her he doesn’t want the kids only her. Why are they doing this and is it legal that the kids are with him and his ones . Thanks.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      This seems to be a case where the HSE, social work department, have become involved. It is their statutory responsibility to deal with children at risk or in need of intervention. The parents should seek legal advise on their duties and responsibilities in this specific situation before signing any paperwork.

  5. lindsey says :

    I have an 11 year old son. His biological father wanted nothing to do with us, he still doesn’t. I’m with my new partner for 5 years now and we live together, my son even calls him dad. Is there any way I can make him my son’s legal guardian? Its what all 3 of us really want!

    1. John M. Lynch says :


      There is currently a private Bill before the Oireachtas that would deal with this and enable your new partner to make such an application. However, it is not yet law and does not seem to be progressing. Presently, other than appointing him as guardian by will, there is not a mechanism to appoint your new partner a guardian, while you are alive.

  6. Mike says :

    Brief query on maintenance – I have a family agreement on maintenance of children for the last 14 years on divorce. Both children are now over 18 and attending university away from the family home. Can I now pay the maintenance sum previously paid to my former spouse, directly to them? Thoughts?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      A good question and one that often comes up. Usually the maintenance payer would prefer to maintain adult children directly and the other parent will prefer to continue to manage the funds for the child. It is usually motivated by a desire to have an adult relationship with one’s children.

      The answer will depend on how the original agreement was framed. If it specifies that the payment is to be made to the other parent while the adult child is in full time education then you will have to get their agreement to change it or make a Court application. There is no certainty that a Court will agree to alter the arrangement.

      As always, it is best , if possible,to try to agree to any change.

      Another way of approaching it – if the maintenance sum is specified and inadequate, you could continue to pay the agreement sum to the other parent and supplement any additional sum directly to the child.

  7. Nicky Walsh says :

    Hi, just a very quick query, I have received no maintenance in over a year from my ex partner, we were not married & had a private arrangement in place. Due to numerous circumstances I haven’t yet been able to get court proceedings moving & just wondering roughly about costs etc?? Also would that money be back dated based on what he used to pay if at all??? Thank you.

    1. John M. Lynch says :


      Not sure whether you are talking about maintenance for your self or children. If you were not married maintenance is not usually payable unless you are a qualifying cohabitant ( 5 years without children and 2 years with children ) and you can establish financial dependency as a result of relationship. If it is for children that is a different matter and you can make a Court application for maintenance and such maintenance will date from the date of the application. There may be some scope for an argument for arrears if there is a voluntary agreement but this will be on the basis of breach of contract.

      The cost will depend on whether or not it is a District Court or a Circuit Court application – and that is dependent on the level of maintenance being sought. Any claim over €150 per child is in the Circuit Court.

      You should also check if you qualify for Legal Aid , and , otherwise , look for a quote for the services.

      1. Nicky says :

        Sorry was referring to maintenence for our 2 children, should have specified!!! He also owns his own business but told me he put it in his fathers name so he wouldnt be ordered to pay much maintenence, I appreciate the reply thank you so much

  8. Martin says :

    Hi,would you be able to help me with a question. I had an agreement in place with my sons mother with regards to maintenance. Since last September i have put the money in to a new savings account for my son due to his mum saying she did not want the money anymore.She now wants the money reinstated and backdated. I have got a solicitors letter asking for a record of my finances which i sent off to them. I have explained in my reply that if she attends mediation that i will reinstate the money.I am married now and my ex seems to think my wife’s income is taken into account as well as main. Is this true.

    1. John M. Lynch says :


      If she wants the maintenance backdated and reinstated and if you have not issue with the amount , I would suggest that you offer her the money that you have put away and re-instate the payment to her. There is no provision for looking for arrears in any Court application and you would only show your income in an application. When showing your overheads , you would show your share of the overheads only.

  9. Hi I am rearing my great grandson for the last 7 yrs. He is 11yrs old? His mother does not live with us and is on lone parents allowance. She is getting paid for him and is also getting child benefit every month but don’t give me any money to support him.. Social workers have been involved in the past and has said she is not capable of looking after him due to substances. Can I go for guardainshiip. Her mother has her other child who is 6yrs old and in the same circumstances as myself..

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      You will be as soon as the legislation, the Children and Family Relationships Act is activated by the Minister. The Act was passed into law on the 6th of April but needs the support paperwork to come into practice. I am not sure how long this will take but , hopefully , a matter of weeks rather than months.

  10. Lisa says :

    I am a mum of two boys. They father of the boys has not been involved in over a year and has paid no maintenance whatsoever.
    out of the blue he now wants access but he lives in scotland and I and the boys live in ireland. Where would I stand on this.
    Thank you

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Lisa, the short answer is that the Court will take the view that it is normally in the best interests of a child to have a relationship with their father . Obviously it is in the detail that your answer becomes more difficult. If he is an unmarried father he is obliged to apply to Court for guardianship and access and it is a matter for the Court to determine the extent of such access or , whether or not , (or more commonly when) to grant guardianship.

      You should apply for an order for maintenance in advance of any application for access .

      1. Stephanie says :

        Hi my partner and I broke up 9 weeks ago we’re not married he gives me money every now and again, I give him 2 over nights per week with our son. I recently found out he’s in a new relationship and had my son in the women’s house, something I don’t agree with, where are my rights there? He is also telling me if he brings me to court and he will get 3 overnights one week and 4 over nights another is this correct can he get that much access? He lives with his parents works 3 or 4 nights in a bar and claims social welfare, there is also drug use involved and a lot of alcohol abuse in his parents house where he lives I am terrified he will get that amount of access as I don’t trust them with my son, I inderstand he needs to see his dad but when he goes up to stay with him his dad is out and it’s his mother that looks after him, what can I do here

        1. John M. Lynch says :

          Not an easy question to answer. But if there is substance abuse and concerns over the level of care , then it is important that there be assurances that the child is not at risk. Ultimately there is no certainly that a Court solution will favour either parent – bear in mind that the Court’s primary concern is the best interests of the Child. Nine weeks is very early days , so I would recommend that you try to meet the needs of both parties and maybe, agree to mediate a parenting plan . This should address the issues such as the introduction of new partners to the child, the level of access , maintenance and non-exposure to drug or substance abuse.

  11. Jack says :

    Myself and my ex agreed that I would pay a weekly maintenance along with two lump sum payments a year in exchange for her letting me have my kids every second weekend. However she cut off my access for the kids and I can no longer afford the two yearly payments. I am still paying weekly maintenance and she now wants to bring me to court for not paying the lump sum payments. Where do I stand in this?

    1. John M. Lynch says :


      Firstly, access is not linked to maintenance . You should be able to see your children. Secondly maintenance is based ,naming other factors, on your ability to pay. If you can prove you haven’t got the resources, a Court will order you to pay what it considers is fair. That decision is, however, a matter for decision for the particular judge hearing all the evidence.

  12. Vicky says :

    hey, im wondering might u could help me.I have Court Decision for child maintenance from another EU country. Myself and my ex husband we r living in ireland and he is not paying maintenace for his child many years. What should i do? Do i have to go to Court again here in Ireland ? Thank you

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If you have a valid EU court order for maintenance it can be enforced with the help of the Central Authority.

      It can be contacted : Central Authority for Maintenance Recovery
      Department of Justice and Equality
      Bishop’s Square
      Redmond’s Hill
      Dublin 2
      Tel:+353 (0)1 479 0200 +353 (0)1 479 0200
      Locall:1890 555 509
      Fax:+353 (0)1 479 0201

  13. Siobhan says :

    Hi… I’m separated from my husband since April 2014. We have 4 kids..2living & working away & 2 aged 16 & 15. I want him to take the kids every second weekend as at the moment he doesn’t & only comes up for 4-5 hours once a week to see them.. My new partner & I never get out alone or get a break. My ex husband is living with his parents rent free & refuses to get his own place as he says he can’t afford it. He pays E90 a week maintenance & suggested taking it off me if I want him to get his own place so he can put it towards rent! I’m fed up asking him. I even suggested him coming to stay in my house when he has kids but he won’t talk to his boss about taking every second weekend off.. What can I do? Does he have to take them? Will a judge make him? I only want some time to do my own thing. He can come & go as he pleases

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Siobhan, the long and the short of it is that a Court/Judge cannot oblige a parent, in civil proceedings , to exercise their parental responsibilities. One might say that, in the long run, the loser in such a situation is the parent who fails to take up an offer of additional contact with the children.

  14. Paula says :

    Hi, my husband has left me recently. He rarely takes the kids, yet he has recently summonsed me to court over access. How can I get further information as to the nature/ detail of the summons? I need to understand what he is looking for before I go to court. Does he have to lodge details of what he is looking for before the court hearing?



    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Paula, it would appear that he does not appear to think that he can deal with the issue without court intervention. I would suggest being proactive and writing to him setting out your willingness to discuss the details of access – and even set out the access times. He does not have to lodge details – but you can ask him or his solicitor for these details.

    2. John M. Lynch says :

      There is no link legally between paying maintenance and having the father on the Birth Certificate.

      There is, however, the maxim that ” with rights come responsibilities” which might suggest that there may be a moral responsibility.

  15. Lucy says :

    Hi, my partner has only started taking his son a lot and now over night and he was wondering if he was to get his name put on his sons birth cert who is 6 now, would he have to pay maintance since the day he was born?

  16. Lesley says :

    Hi I have a query about maintenance, my partner and I split up 6 months ago and before we spilt he was with the kids all the time. Since the split he barely see’s them doesn’t contribute a cent towards anything, we have 4 children aged 18,16,14 and 10.. He is on social welfare as he cant be arsed getting a job because he’s living rent free in his mothers house. Would it be worth taking him to court for maintenance or would I be awarded nothing because he’s on social welfare? Thanks

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Short answer : he would not get a lot and would probably get as much SW payments as a lone parent.

  17. Derek says :

    hi my wife left me recently. she has a mental illness and spent a lot of times in hospital.more recently she went in again but turned around out of the blue and wants to separate.while she was in hospital i supported her with money for cigarettes. she was discharged she got a house away from the family home. we have 2 kids 13 and 8.I’m now left at home full time with my kids.she has them for 5 hrs two days a week and every second weekend. i am still supporting her with €100 even though she is in receipt of social welfare and rent allowance etc. the child benefit is still under her name. my question is do i have to keep paying her this money and am i entitled to the child benefit as i have the kids.we have not gone to court or anything yet. both of us applied for free legal aid she got it and i was refused. which i am appealing at the moment. where do i stand please help.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      A short answer is that you are are obliged to pay both child and spousal maintenance depending on the circumstances of both parties and the children. The assessment is based on a number of factors – e.g. the means and needs of all the parties. If she has no income and the children are minors then maintenance will normally be payable . The amount is based on the amount required and the amount of money you have available after catering for yourself. The child benefit will come into the mathematical calculaton of how much – if she gets it it reduces what you pay, if you get it , it increases what you pay.

      One point to remember about maintenance is that it varies with the changing circumstances of the parties – i.e as children get older the needs change, if people change or get employment it may vary.

  18. Patience says :

    Hi I have 3 kids with my ex Partner ,l got married recently and my kids called my new husband,our new dad and they call my their biological dad old Dad,and he’s giving out to me that am the one telling to call them like that,he used to abuse me in front of the children,and we part way,he went to court to look for access and Guardianship of which I don’t want him to be my kids Guardian,he gets access of the kids once every week and he still breach it,at times he come and at time he doesn’t’ turn,this man he can lie to the judge that I didn’t’let get access with kids the day that he doesn’t’turn up,please can u help

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      This looks like a specific issue that need input from a local family law solicitor . The short answer is that a Court will be unlikely to make any orders on the issue of the step father but will more than likely permit guardianship where there is access .

  19. Y byrne says :

    Hi, my son is 3 and after 3 years of communication difficulties and repeatedly sabotaged arrangements on access and maitenence I’ve decided to go to court. I want my sons father to have access though, he currently has him tue/weds overnight which were days I never approved of from the beginning, can (1) a judge order him to have him every second weekend with those regular days on the week in between, he dosnt work and is quite frankly a bum (2) I have been diagnosed with a mental health condition last year that no doctors or specislists have expressed concern for my sons welfare or safety by and his father is aware of it from the get go but is now saying hel use it against me to get full custody. What is the case with this sort of thing?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Two questions : What might be a Court’s attitude on an application by the primary carer to regularise access where there is a 3 year history of communication difficulties and sabotaged arrangements? Could the Court extend the access to weekend in addition to weekdays where the father does not work. The answer as always ,depends on the evidence before the Judge and also on the Judge’s attitude to both the parties and the evidence. The primary role of the Judge is to look to the best interests of the child and not the parents . Therefore, if the Judge considers that the child’s best interests are served by limiting or extending access he or she will order accordingly . The problem always in these cases is trying to assess how the Court will view each case . This is where a local family law solicitor who has familiarity with the Judge will help. Also the safer and more certain option is to try to reach agreement by discussion through solicitors or by mediations.

      The second question is how a diagnosis of a mental health condition will be taken into account in an access/custody application. It obviously depends on the detail, but as a general response, it should not entitle a non-custodial parent to get full custody if the medical personnel dealing with the conditions consider that it does not have an effect on the welfare of the child.

  20. Siobhan says :

    My ex was court ordered at the start of the year to maintenance, he did pay for some time but now says he is “unemployed” and unable to pay, I contacted the district court some weeks back for a variation ( I didn’t realise it was him that should have done this) however since then, I have information and evidence that he is working (for himself). I have hired a PI and have a statement and pictures proving he is working. I’m currently not being paid any maintenance and i’m waiting for my court date to arrive, I understand I need to now get a new summons for arrears as he is still liable to pay said amount until new court date. Can you please advise if the judge can enforce payment as I have evidence he is working. Would you recommend I engage a solicitor as this is now getting messy.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Siobhan , there are a few separate issues that you need to deal with and , yes, I would recommend that you retain a family law solicitor.

      If there is a Court order in existence and he is in breach of this order by not paying , then you should ask the District Court to enforce the order . This will deal with the maintenance arrears. If he says he cannot pay ,then he should seek to vary the order by going back to Court to apply to vary it . He will be allowed to vary it , if he can show that there has been a change in his financial circumstances sufficient to justify a change since the first order was made. Your evidence of his working is obviously very relevant for a Court in dealing with such an application – particularly if he denies that he is working .

  21. Martin says :

    Hi I was just wondering I have been split up from my partner 2 years now and I pay maintenance every week none of which is spent on the children an there’s concern over the amount of care the children are receiving off their mother . I currently take both children 2 days a week but it’s being suggested that we change the arrangement to 1week with the children and 1 week with out !! My question then is how will this affect the maintenance will I still have to pay it even though the time is split down the middle or will I not have to pay the weeks I don’t have them ?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If I understand you , you will be getting increased access – week on , week off . Congrats on achieving that and I hope it works , I am a big fan of shared parenting. The short answer on the maintenance is : if there is a change in the care arrangements , this ought to include the financial aspect. The overriding objective , however , should be the best interests of the children – and being too pedantic on the money side may not help!

  22. John Derby says :

    Bit more than three months my wife asked me to leave the house, on the grounds that as we no longer loved each other our marriage was a joke and should leave. She gave me no time to prepare myself, she threatened to change door lock so I wouldn’t get in, verbally abused me to the point I had agree to leave as we have two kids under 5yrs and I just thought it would be better to avoid arguing and conflict with her in front of our children. I been giving children maintenance since I moved out, two month consecutively paying 700 euro and 600 last month. She now took her tax credits back which has reduced my wages plus tax credits back to January which means a bigger cut in my salary starting January next. She still expects me and demands I pay same maintenance every month, I said I won’t be able but she threatens to go legal. Does she really have any grounds to do this? Thanks

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Leaving aside the question of whether or not you should have vacated the family home, maintenance is a standalone issue. The children have to be maintained and such maintenance is dependent on their needs, both of your needs and the joint resources available. In a nutshell, maintenance will be an ongoing issue up to when the children come of age – max. 23 years in full time education unless they are under a disability. The amount of the maintenance will be calculated taking these factors into account. It is not a precise mathematical formula or capable of easy valuation.

  23. Mary Vincent says :

    Hi, I am Irish and moved to US about 7 years ago. 2 years ago, I had my son and his father, was a friend I was casually seeing for about 3 years. When I told him I was pregnant he told me he wants nothing to do with me or his child and has refused to talk, text, email with me since. I’ve had no contact with him at all (though tried) and although I am financially secure, kids are expensive and I would appreciate any help with money. He still lives in Ireland and has his own business. I’ve filed a case over here with the Attorney General seeking Child support from him. Can you tell me the best steps to take with regards to trying to get him to help with child support (considering me being in the US)? What if he doesn’t answer any correspondence? Is there any repercussion? US does have a treaty in place with regards to Child support/maintenance. Thank you

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If the US has a treaty in place with Ireland then it should be possible to enforce any maintenance order in an Irish court. The fact that the father does not wish to see the child is no bar in Ireland for an application for maintenance.

  24. Marie says :

    I secured a maintenance and access order through the district court in February 2012 in relation to my child with my non-marital ex partner. The access agreement was reached through mediation and this was made a rule of court during the maintenance hearing. Access was agreed for a pick up from school on Wednesday and overnight stay, pick up from school every second Friday and an alternate every second weekend.

    I was awarded maintenance of €40 my ex partner was on social welfare and was living with his parents in their family home (still living there). Approximately 3 weeks after the hearing my ex-partner gave 6 hours notice that he was taking up employment (this has happened on numerous occasions) and would not be taking our child on the appointed days as agreed.

    He refused to try and sort out alternative child care arrangements for these days or to agree to further mediation to agree on access. He now only sees our child every second weekend but often leaves her with family members and basically refuses to comply/ enter into any compromise or further discussion about the access agreement. Basically, is there anything I can do here? Does the access agreement mean anything at all or can he just decide not to comply with it? It is so frustrating because he refuses to bring her to any of the activities she’s involved in at the weekend so I usually have to pick her up and take her then drop her back and he often goes out and does not come back (leaves her with his mother).

    The judge ordered maintenance to be paid by direct debit to me but this was never set up. Instead I have to continuously chase him for it. He has decided to increase maintenance by €20 per week (so it is now €60) because he is working full time however he claims to pay his mother €100pw. This €20 increase does not cover the additional childcare cost etc so financially although he is better off for working full time I am at a disadvantage.

    When I mention legally varying the maintenance order he usually just leaves his job or will tell me that it is temporary. Can he be compelled to submit wage slips etc? Where do I go with this?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      I believe you should revisit the matter by Court application. I would however warn you, that this system does not offer much opportunity to oblige a parent to exercise access.

  25. Richard says :


    Hope you can help.
    My ex partner now lives in Galway, I am in Dublin. I see my daughter almost every weekend where I drive to Galway. Sometimes I stay and sometimes my daughter is allowed to Stay with me in a local hotel.
    I always pay my maibtainance and recently just increased this, however I continually get requests to buy clothes shoes and other things for my daughter. I’ve no issue in doing this but it’s the asking that is a frustration. I had already bought 2 pairs of shoes when I was asked the same day, doesn’t maintainance cover this and my additional contributions, I.e taking my 6 yo daughter shopping are at my own discretion?
    Also I’d love to take my daughter over to England to see her grandparents on half term just for 3 nights but this is always thrown back at me and the ex isn’t comfortable.

    I have sent a letter, outlinging access, maintenance, Xmas visit, time together, regular evening phone calls, holidays and a quarterly trip to see UK grandparents, but the letter is refused to even be acknowledged.

    I see my daughter regularly but I just want a plan so we all know where we stand and can make plans for the future etc. I didn’t think it much to ask. I’ve even Sat and had dinner with the ex and her new partner which she moved in as we separated and been nothing but respectful and dignified, but have in addition received abuse and threats from both over my want to treat my daughter to holidays and have time with in UK.

    Is there anything I can do, would really appreciate an impartial opinion?

    Best regards,

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Maintenance would usually cover all outgoings for a child – however, as a matter of practice, this does not prevent additional payments and certainly does not preclude the maintenance paying parent from making additional contributions, or being asked to make such contributions. It is always a very delicate balance between legal obligations and maintaining a one-to-one relationship with the dependent child.

      The access which you are seeking does not appear to be unreasonable – however, I would suggest that you attempt to mediate a parenting plan. If you are not in a position to deal with the matter by mediation then your final resort is a court application.

      Court applications are usually based on the best interests of the child to take into account the circumstances of both parents and the needs of the child.

      My suggestion is to try to mediate a parenting plan and, failing this, deal with the matter by Court application.

  26. Linda says :

    Myself and my husband live in Australia . He has 2 children from a previous relationship aged 17 and 19. He pays maintainence weekly and also pays half the mortgage as the house is half his. His 17 year old daughter is coming to live with us indifently and the 19 year old is going to college but only part time this year. My question is does he have to continue paying for the 19 year old or will they cancel each other out in a way. We would be giving him an allowance each month anyway. Or should the mother be obliged to pay him maintainence for the 17 year old( we don’t want any money though )
    Thanks for your help

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      A dependent child is entitled to maintenance payments while they are in full-time education up to the age of 23 if a child no longer resides with one parent as a matter of law there are entitled to maintenance from the other parent.

  27. Terry Bradshaw says :

    I have been separated and living apart from my ex for the past 16 years with a separation agreement. The agreement specifies that neither party shall make any financial demands on the other. There are four children who are all grown up with their own families. Youngest is 32 eldest 45. I am retired and ex is working as a teacher. Has she any grounds for opposin or slowing down divorce proceedings?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Usually no, unless there are some unusual circumstances that might prompt a court to consider that the separation agreement had not made proper provision between the parties.

      1. John M. Lynch says :

        But , of course, that does not prevent a party from opposing. slowing , not agreeing to or contesting a divorce application.

  28. James says :

    In August 14 me and my parner broke up due to a slight substance abuse. I went to counciling and got over it we got back together however broke up a few months ago. I have my son for 12 days in a month, these are my rest days from shift work, sometimes more. I have him for four overnights per month, I look for more and it’s refused. I pay his maintenance every week without fail. I pay his healthcare each week. I feed him at all my visit.. I also take a/l from work for the days we are caught for childcare.
    I am now looking for guardianship and an access agreement for holidays, she is refusing point blank and states if I apply to court it will not be granted due to the pervious substance abuse ??? Would I be wasting g my time in court, the substance abusers is being used as a beating stick constantly , there is no fear for the safety of the child as can be seen from my involvement

    Advice ???

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If a court were to be satisfied that substance abuse was an ongoing issue, then this would have an impact on the type of access that might be granted. Obviously each case depends on the extent of the evidence of such abuse. Guardianship and access are two distinct issues. Normally, guardianship would not be refused – this is by reason of the fact that guardianship is not a hands-on (day-to-day) care issue. Guardianship usually involves decisions on the education, health and welfare of the child.

      If it is the case that someone has issues with substance abuse but that such abuses under control and can be proven to be so, there should be no reason why reasonable access would not be agreed between the parties.

      If the matter has to go to court, judges normally take the view that access is as much a right of the child is that of the parent and that therefore it should not be restricted unless there is sufficient proof of risk to the child.

  29. Grainne says :

    My son is 18 years old and was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome in june this year. His dad and I were never married and have been separated since he was 2. He has paid a weekly payment of €50 until 5 weeks ago where he cut off all contact with me and stopped payments. He only answered my call when I text him to say I would call to his house if he continued to ignore me. He informed me he no longer intended to support our son but still wanted access. We are from a small area and I am sure this is just for show as he has never been an active father figure. Just wondering where I stand on maintenance and access? My son has deferred his college placement until next year because of his recent diagnosis as he is not ready but will be attending next year.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If a child remains in full-time education until 23 years there are entitled to maintenance. Furthermore, if a child suffers from a disability there are also entitled to maintenance during the period of their disability.

  30. Emer Mulvey says :

    I hope you can advise. At the moment my partner takes his daughter every single weekend, the arrangement that has been in place for the past year has been one weekend she stays with us Friday evening until 6.30 on a Saturday, and the next weekend she stays Friday evening until 6.30 on a Sunday evening. My partner does the pick ups and drop offs as the mother refuses to do this as there is a toll involved. If there was ever a case where we were away or her mother was working a Sunday, there would usually be no hassle to change / swap days. However her mother sent a threatening message to my partner recently, saying that he now has 2 choices, either take his daughter fri-sun every weekend, or not see her at all. I am just enquiring as to if this went to court, would the mother have the right to impliment this new arrangement? There is no logical reason for her insistance other than that she wishes to have all her weekends child-free. Both he and I work Mon – Fri and we live too far away from the child to take her during the week. The mother now does not work at all and claims social welfare. We feel that this is a bit excessive in terms of access arrangements and we were happy with the existing one. The child is perfectly happy with the arrangement as it stands and is unaware of this conflict. I understand that the court usually rules in favour of the child’s welfare, and the only info I can find online is that where the father refuses to take the child fullstop. Any general advice / info would be grately appreciated. We are seriously considering taking this case to court.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      A few comments – he is a lucky father to see his daughter every weekend ; the Court considers that the best interests of the child are paramount ; I am glad to hear the child is unaware of the conflict ; the mother will not be allowed to remove access in its entirety.

      The only basis on which I would take it to court is to deal with a removal of the access.

      Is there a compromise position here that would prevent a stand off – full alternative weekends ?

  31. Terry Bradshaw says :

    I am seeking a divorce and my spouse has indicated that she will not be contesting. There will be do dispute about maintenance as there are no dependent children and it was agreed that neither party would make financial demands on the other. My spouse has engaged a solicitor. Am I liable for the cost of the solicitor?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      In family law divorce proceedings it is not the norm to award costs to either party – so the short answer is , no.

  32. Gill Gannon says :

    If maintenance is paid directly to the child when they reach 18 and go to college, is it still counted as ‘income’ for the mother when calculating Family Income Supplement?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Child maintenance is not considered the income of the mother for tax purposes . However, if the child is been independently maintained and is in college it would impact on the family income supplement.

  33. Elaine Reilly says :

    I have a query in relation to access for a teenage child. My brother and his ex wife are divorced. Ex wife gives lots of hassle over the years, involving the child in all sorts of verbally abusive arguments towards her dad. It’s gotten to the stage where his daughter now 14 has told him she doesn’t want to come over to stay with him anymore. The court order was Friday/sat one week and sat/sun the following week. As it stands she hasn’t come to visit since August. The ex wife is now threatening court action saying the daughter will tell a judge shedoesn’t want to come over anymore. He is unable to speak to his daughter without the mother being present for the phone call. He calls her a lot but the phone is only answered when the mother is around and the conversation consists of the ex wife screaming obscenities down the phone. My brother is obviously worried about how his relationship with his daughter is slipping away from him with no substantial reason. Can he do anything to “make” the daughter visit him seeing as it was court ordered?? He has thought about waiting outside her school to see her on her own but he’s afraid he could be done for kidnap of his own child. Thank you in advance

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      This is quite a difficult and all too common situation. Neither is it amenable to a legal answer. The bottom line is that the child is at an age that her wishes will be taken into account by any court. It is difficult to see a situation where she would be forced by a court to exercise access.

      My non-legal advice would be to use every possible opportunity to meet with his daughter on a one-to-one and keep phoning and attempted to communicate.

  34. Gary says :

    I have been paying my daughter’s mother €50 per week in maintenance since it was agreed via our solicitors when she was an infant. She is now 10 years old. I continued to pay this amount when I lost my job 4 years ago despite job seekers allowance being my only source of income. I have recently moved in with my new partner and am now no longer eligible for social welfare payments because she earns too much. I therefore now have no income of my own and am being fully supported by my partner. I am now no longer in a position to pay anything towards maintenance. How do I go about communicating this to my daughters mother? Also, is my partner now liable to pay for my daughters maintenance costs as she is essentially supporting me? We are due to be married next year- would this change the situation at all? Thanks so much for your advice.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The legal way to deal with a change in financial circumstances – which results in an inability to pay maintenance – is to apply to the Court to vary the original maintenance order . If this is not done , you could find yourself before the Court for breaking a Court order which is a criminal offence.

      A parent’s new partner is not liable per se for the maintenance of the child. However living with a new partner could have the effect of reducing living costs and therefore making more funds available to pay maintenance. (which would not be the case , where the parent has no income).

  35. Danny says :


    Can a judge order me to take more access than I have already.I find the current access is interfering with the kids schooling and my work.


    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Quick answer, it would be very unusual for a court to order you to take up more access. However, it is always arguable that it might be in the best interests of your children!

  36. Danny says :

    Sorry I meant to say I only agreed to this in court because I was told if I didn’t the judge could make me and even order me to have more access.
    Is this true


    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Unusual, but anything is possible depending on the judge – you would of course have the right to appeal.

  37. kelly says :

    Question: My Niece lives with her Grandparents full time for the past 11 yrs with no income support/contact from either of her parents. it is an informal arrangement and nothing legal has been signed.

    Mother is claiming childrens allowance/Benefits for this child and not passing on anything to help support the child.

    What is the best advise you can give for the grandparents to follow in relation to becoming legal guardian etc. Mother refuses to even sign a passport form for her daughter to travel with grandparents.

    many thanks

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Under the new legislation, they should be able to make a court application in their local district court.

  38. Mary Lynch says :

    Hi, I was wondering what way the courts decide on access. We currently have a court order which allows access to my daughters father every Saturday pm – Sunday pm and Tues and Thurs for 2 hours in the afternoon. This was agreed when father was unemployed but is now employed so cannot take her in the afternoons anymore. He has now filed to vary access and wants two nights every weekend. I have not agreed to this and feel the agreement we have at the moment suits our daughter perfectly. She has a baby brother that I feel she needs to spend time with as a family and I work full time monday-friday so would mean she never gets a full day/morning at home with us.

    I am very nervous that he will get granted the full weekend, every weekend that he is looking for. What will the judge look out for – will he compensate the 2 hours every tuesday and thursday that he is now missing and give him the extra night every weekend?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The short answer, depending on the age of the child, courts will usually grant overnight access. The general trend or attitude of the court is that access is a right of the child and the court will generally go out of its way to facilitate access taken into account circumstances of both parents.

      There are no hard and fast rules and it will often depend on the judge.

  39. John says :


    i need some advice to the maintenance i will start paying.
    I agreed on paying 50% for the kindergarten plus 50% of all the expenses that are related to my son. That would be 475€ + 150-200€ = 650€ a month. Big expenses will obviously change that for certain months, but i am happy to help where i can.
    My ex and her councillor are not satisfied by that and want as well 50% of the 900€ rent. Altogether it would be at least 1000€ a month i would need to give her, depending on the expenses it could be more as well.
    I think it is very much and i can’t see why i should be paying the rent. Especially when already being way over the 150€ a week a court would order.
    I am not sure what to do as the last thing i want is my son to suffer under the situation. But i don’t want my self being ripped of either.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      This is the eternal quandary when you are the maintenance payer. You could say that the ultimate answer is to leave it to court to determine the maintenance. However, this can cause significant stress to all the parties. The best answer I can give you is that you should try and seek to mediation an agreement on maintenance and parenting issues.

  40. Pamela Hill says :

    Hello, I wonder if you can help me with some information I’m looking for to find out. I have a toddler almost 3 years old and the husband is not the father and he knows it. We are in the course of separation and are going to see a mediator soon. husband said that he doesn’t want to have anything in the agreement in relation to maintenance towards the child and when we will go to the judicial separation if the judge will order maintenance for the child, he will get the biological father involved. I do not want to involve the real father as he is married and has kids and this would put an end to his marriage and affect the children. My question is can my husband by proving with DNA test that he is not the father to ask the court to force the real father to pay maintenance? If husband supports his refusal to pay child maintenance by saying that he is not the father could the judge ask husband or me who the father is and force the real father to pay maintenance?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Many thanks. Pamela

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Pamela, I do not think so. I may be missing something here, if you do not look for maintenance for the child from your estranged husband husband, then there can be no issue about parentage

      1. Pamela says :

        Thank you for your reply to my query. Just to clarify the biological father is voluntarily helping me financially so the child is like after.

  41. Sarah-Jane says :

    My husband pays €300 monthly to his ex for maintenance of their daughter. This is court agreed figure. There is no specification for him to pay extra for school, Christmas, birthday parties, Communion costs etc. She has not applied to court for any once off payments but is demanding he give her more money. Does he have to contribute extra even though he pays the court ordered amount each month? Also, she has not been giving him the agreed access to their daughter despite a court ordered access agreement – if he brings her back to court, will anything really change? Is there any way the court can force her to keep the access arrangement?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      There are two linked questions is here – one on maintenance and one on access. I would normally separate them. On the maintenance if there is a court order it can be changed by the agreement of the parties and if there is no agreement one or other of the parties may apply to court to change the arrangements. If there is a court order on access and someone fails to comply with it, in theory you can apply to the court and asked them to deal with the breach. There are practical difficulties however in this but it might force the unwilling party to agree with the access rather than deal with the stress of a court application.

  42. Pamela says :

    I apologise for taking this opportunity and asking for another advice if it is ok. Husband has a wage of 70k per year while I have 33k. We have a family home on which there is a mortgage of 270k left. We asked the Bank to allow the mortgage to be on my sole name and as I was to rent out a room I would have been able to pay the monthly mortgage payments myself. The bank refused us. We then agreed that we should keep the house for another 5 years and I’ll live in with the child and pay the mortgage and husband will move out and pay rent but nothing else, no maintenance towards me or the child or mortgage for this house. The house matter going to be revisited in 5 years time when I might be able to buy him out or at that time the profit on the house would be much better to allow each of us to get another property. Despite the fact that initially husband agreed to this arrangement he got upset because I am still in touch with the biological father of my child and asks to sell the house now and split the profit which would come at 30k maximum for each after paying the mortgage. My question is am I not entitled to live in the house for the child’s stability even if I can’t buy husbands share of the house now when we separate? Would a judge force me to sell the property and split the proceeds for the reason that husband is not the biological father of my child despite the fact that husband earns more than twice than I earn?

    Many thanks and really appreciate your help

    Warm regards


    1. John M. Lynch says :

      I would be difficult to believe – but not impossible – that a judge would would force you to sell for such a reason.

  43. Colm says :

    Hi ,my wife and I are looking to separate and are waiting on a date for mediation .
    She would like me to move out of the family home which I do not wish to do .
    She has always worked in one job or another and at one stage tried running her own business .She has a couple of small private pensions in place .
    Could you advise as to whether I am obliged to pay her spousal maintenance ,would she have a claim to my pension and savings ,and do I have to vacate the family home .The mortgage is in both names but I am the only one paying it ?
    Many thanks .

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The first thing is, that if you do not wish to move out of the family home you do not have to do so from a legal perspective.

      If both of you work are capable of working then it is arguable that both of you should be able to maintain yourselves without reference to the other.

      In the case of savings and pensions it is usually a matter of distributing the value between the spouses depending on certain factors – such as contribution or ability to earn.

      However it is difficult in this forum to give you a definitive response – firstly, because I do not have all the details and secondly because it is obviously a matter for a court in due course as to how it views proper provision.

      I can only suggest you that the mediation process is a very worthwhile exercise rather than going to the cost and stress of litigation

  44. James says :

    Hello there,

    My son’s mum applied to the courts to move him tonthe uk and she won, despite my appeal to the High Court. Since then I have found keeping my maintenance payments (€390pm) very difficult on top of flights over and back. The maintenance was court ordered long before her application. Does that order still apply now that my son is in England? I want to have it reduced, she won’t negotiate with me, and the uk courts there said it could cost me up to £300stg just to have a review! Its all v confusing. Hope you can help.

    Kind regards

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The first thing to understand is that maintenance is always capable of variation where there is a change in circumstances. This can be an upward or downward variation. When you apply to vary maintenance you have to establish that there is a downward change in order to vary the maintenance downwards – likewise with an upward review.

      The second thing to understand is that there is no magic formula to calculate maintenance and accordingly it is a matter for the parties to either agree it or for a judge to determine it.

      Accordingly you can have a failure to agree or a judge who is either generous or not – depending on which side you are on.

      The issue for you is where the original order for maintenance was made – if it was made in Ireland you should be able to apply to an Irish court.

      However this is something that would have to be checked with your solicitor.

      1. James says :

        Hi John there is in fact a formula in England – one which the government and the courts support. So this is the basis on which I want to reduce the payments down. I will apply to the Irish courts to have it reduced to CSA lvels, as they found it acceptable to allow Jake to move over they should agree that I pay UK-level maintenance

  45. mary h says :

    Hi I have a question regarding maintenance. My husband has being paying maintenance for his daughter for the past 6 years, he has no problem paying this even though he regularly gets requests for extra money for books/appointments/ christmas etc. The child is never brought anywhere and spends most of her time with a childminder or her grandparents (except when we take her) so the maintenance is definetly not all being spent to care for her needs, my husbamd never questions the amounts he is asked for at school time or christmas time as he does not want to jeperdise the needs of the child. His ex girlfriend- the mother of the child is now expecting her second child with her new partner, they are not married but are co-habiting in her house. Would the maintenance amount be reduced considering we could effectively soon be contributing to a second child which is no relation of ours- as we have no idea what she spends the money on as it is.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      No an easy one to answer – I sympathise with your husband wanting to take any action that would affect the child. This is quite a common complaint but I would favour the approach of paying sufficient money to support the child and not try to monitor its use. The issue is the amount and can it be reduced – not unless you can show a change in circumstances that would have the effect of reducing the money available or the needs of the child.

  46. Sarah says :

    What does at present access is to be personal to the father. It is in an access agreement that was signed by both parents. Does it mean he can’t have the children near family or friends? Thanks

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Not sure without seeing the order or document. It could mean that , but could also mean that he is to have the access rather than on behalf of his parents . If there is a good reason why the child should not be near family or friends then the first meaning – exclusive to him – may be the meaning .

  47. AC says :

    Hi. I am divorced and we have a maintenance order in place. However, I am owed €2,500 – maintenance for children of the marriage – over the period of 2015 and I now want to take him to court to try getting it back. I am very worried he will stop paying completely. I have a notice of motion and grounding affidavit form and have no idea what I need to put on them. Is it in the matter of Family law divorce act 1994? Do I just simply put arrears in maintenance on the form? Also, do I need a solicitor? Will there be court costs involved? I would hope not as he is the one who is breaking the order and he is fully employed and should have no problem paying for his children. Please advise. I’m desperate. Thank you.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      You would usually use a solicitor to draft the paperwork . If you cannot afford one , you may be entitled to apply for Legal Aid .If you have an order you can look for an order for his attachment and committal for non-payment .

  48. Michelle says :

    Looking a bit of advise on my situation. My daughter is 8 months old, her father has never even bothered to see her. He lives in England and I live in Ireland. I sent a solicitors letter 4 months ago and he got back straight away saying he wad willing to pay and sent all of his relevent details, due to his wages my solicitir asked for 150 euro per week but this was negotiable, we have heard nothing back at all. I was wondering would it be better and quicker for me now to go straight to an English solicitor and get him summons from over there?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      You can go to an English solicitor and get an English maintenance order or go to an Irish court for an Irish order that is enforceable in the UK.

  49. Becca says :

    I have a very complicated issue that has arisen regarding my ex and our child.
    We were only dating for a few weeks when I fell pregnant. He was not around for the pregnancy or the birth but entered into a relationship when my son was 2 months old. He was not on my childs birth certificate but I added him when we decided to move to Spain. The relationship was abusive, physically, but more importantly emotionally, financially and verbally. I stayed with him until my son was 3, we split up after one of the most violent attacks whilst living in Spain, I still have photos and an ambulance report from Spain of that final attack.
    It went to court in Spain, but my ex left and moved back to the UK before he could be charged or any decision could be made on custody as he simply didn’t show up.
    The court granted me temporary full custody of my child on account of him not being present to contest anything.
    He left for the UK, Left a job and as my son was not in school there yet, i was left penniless and surviving of handouts from friends/family. Once my son started school in Spain a few months later I got a full time job. My ex was coming to visit my son once every 5 weeks (approximately although it could be up to 7 weeks). He paid 200 euro a month maintenance which was continuously late and I would always have to chase and often beg for. The abusive emails, phone calls and name calling has continued throughout the nearly 3 years of our separation. He once threw a can of drink over me whilst dropping my child off at my house because I overslept and didnt answer the door at the agreed time, in front of my child. Despite this I have always encouraged contact.
    In february of last year he decided to move back to Spain, I told him I would be returning to Ireland by the time the year was out. He was not paying proper maintenance once he moved to spain, i recieved dribs and drabs. I lent him money for a deposit this summer as he was homeless, he still owes me 800 euro for this.
    In spain he had my son every second weekend and one week day. Again this was only when it suited him to do so.
    I lost my job there and returned to Ireland a few months ago. My ex then moved here… 6 weeks ago. I resumed an access agreement of every second weekend and one night a week. He was promised work on arrival but it fell through so he is now on benefits and has told me he is waiting to start a job in January sometime. As well as not paying me back the 800 euro he owes me, I also have not received maintenance for my child for 4 months now. I am in a very low paid job and struggling to make ends meet here while I start again in a new country and childcare costs are literally leavving me choosing between rent payments and food… yet I am still to receive any payment for my child. On top of this he has entered in to a new relationship with an older woman (yes he has only been in the country 6 weeks or so) and my son tells me he has moved out of his home and into hers. He spent 5 nights over the christmas holidays as agreed, but my son spent it in this womans house without informing me, as he is now living there. my son has witnessed them in bed together…I find this highly inappropriate. With the access agreements we have had I think it is reasonable and responsible for both of us to be keeping any extra-relations away from our young son.
    He refuses to give me an address or home number for this woman despite him having my son there and me having full custody guardianship. he now tells me he is going for guardianship. This man has walked in and out of my childs life as he pleases…and is using the guardianship to have control over me, another form of his bullying. he has always been encouraged to have access to his son, we are both non-practicing Catholics and he has always been given access to school reports/teachers details etc. So no need to get guardianship as there is nothing to contest. He is (usually) good with my son, but I find it strange that guardianship would be given to someone with a violent history (he also has a criminal record here, in the UK and abroad) has a history of substance use and is continually verbally insulting me in front of my child. How would the courts look at this. I am happy for access to continue but I am looking for improved and regular maintenance, this to be back paid and an address/phone number of this woman he is living with. Would you advise me to withhold the contact until He provides this. I have no idea who this woman is at all. I also believe that my son should not be privy to every woman that he meets especially seeing them in bed together, I have never exposed my son to this!
    In a nutshell- access without the proper address information?
    – maintenance, back payment and money he owes me
    -gaurdianship? And can I contest this?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      In a nutshell , on the access issue , a Court will look to the best interests of your son . Normally a Court will take the view that it is in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with the father . However, it is not unreasonable for you to expect that the child’s interest we respected in the context of new relationships – i.e. that discretion be exercised. On the issue of maintenance , you are entitled to such maintenance as he can afford based on his means and are entitled to make a Court application for it . It will be a matter for the Court , unless you can agree , as to what level of maintenance will be payable. The money you paid him is a debt which is recoverable by issuing proceedings. My advise to you is to consult a solicitor who will advise you in more detail.

      1. Beca says :

        And the issue of guardianship? What do you think my chances are of successfully contesting this given the new laws coming into force in 2016 and the history of the father continuously moving in and out of the child’s life and his history. How should I best approach this? Thank you.

        1. John M. Lynch says :

          I am not sure that the new legislation is going to help you with this issue. Normally, where a father is remiss on exercising access this would be reflected in the level of access that would be afforded by the Court . The overriding principle is the best interests of the child and most judges consider that any relationship with a parent is better than none. It might be worthwhile considering a go-between or mediator to see if you could get the message across that intermittent or irregular access is not good for children.

  50. Fiona says :

    I’m due my first child in the coming months. My husband pays €300 monthly maintenance for his first child. Money will be very tight for us once we have to begin paying crèche costs (his ex does not pay crèche costs as a family member minds their child for 1/3 of what our crèche costs will be). If he applies to the court for a variation of maintenance, is it likely it will be reduced? He has to work overtime weekly as it is in order to meet the maintenance payments. So far my salary has made up deficit when he can’t get overtime but this won’t be possible for me to cover the difference when have my own little one to pay for.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Where there is a change of circumstances – such as on the birth of another dependent child – then an application can be made to vary maintenance . It is a matter for the Court as to how much or whether a variation will be made.

      1. Fiona says :

        Thank you

  51. Margaret Tobin says :

    Myself and my ex partner have a maintenance agreement for €50.00 per week for our daughter which was awarded to me in 2001, in Dolphin House Court. It was all done very nicely with no problems and we were both happy with the situation.
    Over the next 13 years we had agreed between ourselves that the payment would be increased and for the last few years I was receiving €80.00 per week maintenance, as well as him helping out towards school clothes, medical bills and Christmas.
    Last year my ex partner met a new partner who he is now engaged to and living with ( she has two children), although on paper he is still claiming that he lives in his parents house. I am also living with a new partner for the past 8 years.
    In January 2015 my ex partner said that because of the new Single Parents Tax Credit system he would not be able to pay maintenance unless I signed over my Tax Credits to him. I was unsure of how this worked but did so as he did actually stop my maintenance for a week.
    This year however I refused to sign over my Tax Credits as the accountant where I work advised me against it and also because I know he is living with his new partner and our daughter does not reside with him 100 days per year so I would be signing a false document.
    He has now lowered my maintenance to €40.00 per week, €10.00 lower than what I was originally awarded unless I sign the Tax Forms.
    Is it possible for me to bring him to court to get this matter sorted as I now dont know what he will be paying week to week,as the maintenance is by standing order so he can change it when he wants.
    Our daughter was 18 in December and is in her first year of a four year course in college. She receives a grant as my earnings are under €22,000 per year.

    I would be grateful for any advise that you give me,
    Kind Regards,
    Margaret Tobin.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If I assume that the original agreement was made a Court order for maintenance then he is in breach of a court order and you can ask the District Court to seek recovery of any monies due. He can vary maintenance if there is a change of circumstances , but unless you agree he has to make an application to Court.

      1. Margaret Tobin says :

        Thank you for your help. The original maintenance agreement was made through a court order.

  52. He refuse too takes he 3 kids .as lives at home went he’s mother.she can’t handle the kids want do l do .

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Unfortunately there is very little that you can do to force a parent to exercise access by taking the children to a grandparents house.
      Can you not suggest that he get alternative accommodation?

  53. Kelbel says :


    ive recently split with my partner we have a 6 year old and a 11 month old. we are trying to come to an agreement on what maintenance he should give. i own my own house and have a mortgage and we both work so we need to pay a child minder, do i have the right to ask him to pay for half of the child care as well as maintenance per child ?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      It is probably not a question of whether or not you have a right to ask, as whether he has a right to refuse to pay. Child care is one of the costs associated with the children , so the question is what he can afford to pay it and whether what he is already agreeing to pay might cover it. Maintenance has to be looked at in terms of the income and needs of both parents together with the needs of the child.

  54. Darren says :

    My sons mother will not give me any information on my son’s hospital appointments and is claiming he is receiving counseling but will not tell me where he is getting this. She also has previously lied about certain cost and will not supply receipts for any extra purchases when she is looking for half. Example She told me when our son was a toddler his creche was 75 a week when it was 35, then also when they reduced the cost she told me they increased the cost. At present I give 50 euro per week but she will only accept cash in hand. What can I do about any of this as I’m finding it very stressful.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      My starting comment is that 50 euro per week is not an unreasonable maintenance payment – and is more on the lower end of the scale. The lack of communication is more difficult issue . As a parent and joint guardian (if you are one) you should be provided with this information. The problem is how to enforce. The New Family Relationships Act try to address this by way of fines . It remains to be seen how this will work in practice.

  55. Barry D says :

    My wife and I are seperating.
    We have been married for +/- 10 years. In that time she has been a “homemaker” and has not worked outside the home. She claims to State benifits.
    I have a decent income of +/- €100K p.a.
    I have her tax credits.
    After tax & deductions the take home is +/- €4,700 p.m.

    We have 3 children .

    There is no concern regarding access to / sharing time with the kids.

    We are eager to agree maintenance on an amicable basis.

    The house has little equity and a mortgage of +/- €1,000 p.m.

    She will have to stay in the house with the kids & I will need to find accommodation elsewhere.

    How do we start to decide on an appropriate split of the income?
    Should the mortgage be paid 50:50 even though I wont live there? Will I then be entitled to 50% of the house value when paid? As she is living there, should she pay more (maybe 75% of the mortgage?).
    Is it reasonable that I would look for a 3 bed home so that I have somewhere suitable to take the kids when they are spending time with me? Would that seem reasonable & appropriate?

    Do I start with the €4,700 & calculate what is needed to run the family home & then I am left with the balance (which may not be enough to live on) or vice versa?

    Finally – do you have an initial consultation process where these matters can be discussed in greater detail that is appropriate on this forum?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Your finally is where we can start – email me on and I will set up an initial consultation with you.

    2. M David says :

      Barry D,

      How did this work out for you?

      I am in a similar position now with take home of about €4,100 however my wife wants to separate. I will need to leave the family home eventually and get rented accommodation which will cost about €1,500 before any food/household bills. The mortgage on our house is €1,000 before any food/household bills. My wife works part-time and earns about €2,000 per month. Simply put, there is insufficient finances to run two houses and keep our 2 children in the same lifestyle and for my wife to only work 3 days per week.

      I would be interested in hearing how your case ended up?

      Kind regards,

  56. Barry D says :

    previous comment should read “no State benefits”! Sorry about that

  57. John says :

    My daughter is 9 years old and in past 3 wks has refused to attend my home for her access (she knows she is in trouble for telling lies to her mother about myself and my wife) her mother is allowing her to refuse to come with me and I have no doubt subtely encouraging/rewarding her not to. access is court ordered over 4 years ago , my daughter has begged me for months on end last year not To make her return to her mothers but I never engaged in this behaviour, her mother is however. What would likely outcome be in court re addressing this issue as I must act due to the damage being done to our relationship is building and I need to try and ensure her mother does not allow this to happen again etc.
    Much thanks for your time

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      This is a very tricky issue to predict . As a 9 year old it is likely that the Court will take her views into account. The Court will, however , seek to act in the best interests of the child. Normally it ought to be in the best interests of a child to maintain her relationship with both parents. Each case is decided on the facts as presented to the Court and each judge will decide a case on how they read the facts and apply the law.

  58. Brian says :

    Hello, I have a 2 year old child with my ex partner. It has been a very acrimonious break up (not from my side). I have a few queries but the main one I would like answered now is as follows. I have guardianship. If the mother moves to another part of Ireland which is very far away (lets say over 100 miles away) , can I object to it? At present I see my child one or two nights overnight during the week and also most weekends. If she moves it will drastically cut down the times I see my child. Thanks in advance.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The quick answer – if she is the main carer you will run the risk that a court will allow her to move if it is in the best interests of the child or not against her best interests . This is all the more so when she has sole custody .

      1. Brian says :

        Thanks John. You can imagine thats not the answer I wanted to hear. Surely its in the child’s best interests that both parents are close at hand? Your last sentence mentions sole custody. How hard is it to get joint custody? Is there some chance? I wont take up more of your time. Thanks for this.

        1. John M. Lynch says :

          unfortunately , in practice, if the mother can show that she has good reason to move , it is very difficult as a partner to contest . Joint custody is automatic when married but not so when unmarried. Sorry .

          1. Brian says :

            Thanks John.Its good for people to have this forum.

  59. Daniela says :

    I have a few questions regards my fiance and his X. She just found out we are engaged and took him to court again: for maintenance (court order was for 350 every 4 weeks in march, but they both signed a mediation in aug with 300 euro). Does not the mediation have any legal effects ? He also had a paycut in wage recently so I doubt the judge will agree on more than 300.
    He has regular access every Friday till Saturday afternoon. We were ment to take the kids on holiday in Spain this year but she is refusing now. We had them last year in holidays with us for 5 days in Ireland. Would the judge agree to take them on holidays?
    My partner has some mental issues( not impact on children at all)- can his X play on that at court.
    Also she had been taking him to court every few months. As soon as any change in his life – she would just go to court: when he announced we’re together she forbid the kids to see me for 6 months, when he moved with me – took him to court regards access, now as she found out we are engaged.
    Thanks a mill !

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Sounds like the Court is being used as a stick to beat him with . Mediation agreements unless converted to legal agreements are not legally binding. On maintenance , the onus will be on the person looking to change it to prove a change in circumstances sufficient to justify a change – a pay cut should be helpful in applying to make any change. However if the order was made in March 2015 , it may be difficult to persuade a judge to reduce the maintenance. When you are in Court he should seek to formalize the access – including the summer holidays. I cant see a judge refusing the Spain holiday – unless there is something unusual about the circumstances. If the access and maintenance is formalised – hopefully Court can be taken out of the equation!

  60. Alan says :

    My daughter’s mother has sent me a solicitors letter wanting money for January,now i never said i won’t pay but my daughter has not come up at all this year.Now i did take my daughter’s mother to court for day’s to visit stay over etc.Now my daughter is 16 she at the age she does not want to stay i understand that but she would come up for few hours on a friday and take her mother’s money home with her you know.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Maintenane and access are not interlinked – a Court would expect you to continue paying access irrespective of whether or not access happens.

  61. Thomas says :

    I have weeekend access in place from the courts.
    My ex is refusing me permission to take children on a weeks holidays abroad.
    Do i have to return to court to get permission from the judge???

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      You should not , but you will have to if you dont have prior agreement .

  62. Fufu says :

    Is it possible for a man to dissolve / discharge his parental rights in Ireland.

    8 year old child, not on birth cert as father and no guardianship in place. No contact in the last 5/6 years with either Mother or child.

    Pays maintenance weekly over the same time 5/6 years and as a result they are struggling a bit each week and is slowing down any plans for them to make provisons for their future.

    How would this be viewed in the courts?

    I know a new partner wouldn’t be liable to maintain a child from a previous relationship but I suspect there would be an assumption there that if a man was living with a new partner there would be dual incomes?

    But what if that wasn’t the case that living together didn’t necessarily improve a mans financial situation as he had to take on now housekeeping and bill payments to his new partner and her home as well as his existing liabilities?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Once a father, always a father comes to mind. Whatever about parental rights , it is not possible to dissolve or discharge unilaterally parental responsibilities – such as maintenance. It is , however, to vary or change them depending on changing circumstances of any of the parties. Each case has to be looked at individually.

      1. Julie says :

        Hi there. I have a 9 year old girl. I’ve been separated from her father with over 2 years. The relationship with him was very hostile. He abused me physically and psychologically on a regular basis and would do so in front of our daughter. After we split I allowed him access to her as she loves her dad. But even now he will still scream and hurl abuse at me, roar all sorts of profanities at me in front of our daughter. He is incapable of controlling his temper and I used to think that he might treat me whatever way but he wouldn’t do that to her. The thing is, I am now getting married to a wonderful guy next year. And since my ex found out about me and my American sweetheart he’s very bitter. He still trues to control my life. And now he’s looking for guardianship. I wouldn’t grant him guardianship of a dog to be honest. I don’t want to sign my daughter over to such a controlling and abusive person . What grounds do I have in denying him this?

        1. John M. Lynch says :

          Agreeing to guardianship is not signing over control – guardianship allows a parent to be part of certain important decisions in their child’s life . This is not the same as custody or access arrangments that impact on the day to day care of the child. Commonly , a parent who is actively involved in their child’s life will be awarded guardianship. This allows them a say in any milestone events in the child’s life – for example , choice of religion, school, or medical treatment. If there is a dispute between the two guardians then there is a facility for the Court to decide between the two alternative views.

  63. Amy says :

    Hi I was wondering can you help my partner has joint custody & guardianship of his 10yr old daughter. He has access every Wednesday until Thursday morning when he brings her to school & then every other weekend Friday to Sunday. They child hasn’t been coming up regularly for the past 6 months as she says she doesn’t want to. And now her mother has just sent him a letter stating that she has moved the child with her to Tipperary (she lived in Dublin perviously) & moved her school also. We were giving no warning only after she has already gone & moved the child house & school.. She also said she won’t be allowing Wednesday access anymore as its to far but she leave weekend access as is. Is she allowed to do this without the father consenting to the child moving hours away & moving school? Thanks so much for any help Amy

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      No , is the short answer – and you can make an application to Court . You will, however, have to show that it is in the best interests of the child to remain in Dublin.

  64. jenna says :

    I wonder could you help me, I was in court some months ago regarding access for my daughter. The judge awarded that her father take her every second weekend from a Friday to a sunday. At the time maintenance wasn’t an issue as he gave €60 per week. I am on lone parents and my benefit was reduced according to the maintenance I received as I work one day a week. Howwever, I made my daughter father aware that I was going back to college for a year to do a course and that I would be looking at creches. After looking at a few creches, a lot were full, so I seen one but its expensive at €800 a month. I asked my daughters father to contribute half and I would contribute half. Both of us live with our parents and he works full time. I have told him its only for a year as my daughter will be in Montessori for the following 2 years and my mum will mind in afternoons. He has said he doesn’t have to pay any other childcare costs as he pays maintenance. I don’t want to have to go back into court if I can help it, but I was just wondering does he have a legal right to pay towards childcare costs aswell as maintenance. would be grateful for some advise.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The short answer is – he is only legally obliged to pay the Court ordered maintenance unless he agrees otherwise.

  65. Martin says :

    I am self employed, I have been mosyly out of work for past 6 months with injury ( I made €6000 in past 12 months) my wife pays maintenance for my son and supports me ( I would be entitled to no social welfare)and my sons mother is bringing a variation order- I pay €110 per fortnight- would I have to face an increase?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Martin, sounds unlikely – a Court will vary a maintenance order if a change in circumstances supports the change . However, it is a matter for the judge hearing the case.

  66. Antoinette says :

    Hi ,
    My husband walked out after 25 years of marriage. I am living in our unmortgaged house with 3 adult children , 2 who are in college. Only one of them under 23. I had a job as a rep but using our own car which he took with him as he is paying finance on it. I can not find work at moment without access to a car and financially cannot afford one. My husband earns 70,000 p.a. so was the main earner. There is college fees due and a high expense of sons razzmus year. He is the 20 year old. Does he have to cover all college expenses with me not working.Living expenses at home with bills due for all of us living in the house too. Husband lives with his parents so has no living expenses.
    He is also only five years from retirement and has been paying into a pension fund and will get a retirement lump sum. Am I entitled to any of that having been the main homemaker for 25 years.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The family law code in Ireland is base on fairness and proper provision – when a family breaks up a Court is mandated by law to follow the code.
      So the quick answer to your query is that a Court will apply this code to your particular situation. The detail is going to be a matter for your legal advisers, his legal advisers and a Court. I would suggest that you seek legal assistance .

  67. Emma says :

    Hi just a quick question.I have been to court with my ex over our now 5yr old child and he is now a joint guardian.we have come to a stage where we are amicable for our daughters sake.but as u know life changes…he is now about to get married and has only given me a months notice to inform our daughter of this and for her to attend the ceremony next month.she is already asking questions about why we are not together and I’m worried this will have emotional and psychological effects on her so I am not prepared to put her through the whole situation to keep him happy.I am just wondering if this is within my rights to refuse?also myself and family with whom myself and my daughter have a strong support network as we live with them are relocating 1hr away from galway to mayo and i will also be attending university there-I’m wondering if it is also within my rights to do so as long as regular access is maintained?any help would be great

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      These are hard questions with no easy answers! The law provides a mechanism whereby a judge can be asked to answer these questions. However, the answer will depend on the way the case is presented and the attitude of the judge. The guiding principle is the “best interests of the child” in any decision that is made. On the question of attending the wedding the case that you might have to answer is whether it is not in the child’s interests to have a relationship with the new family unit and whether attending the wedding might be a good way of fostering such relationship. On the second question of relocation an hour away , the issue is similar in so far as is child’s interests best served by having ready access to a strong support network.

  68. Nils says :


    I have a maintenance order against me of 1000 euro per month, which I am unable to pay and I have informed both the judge and my wife about this, I have for the last few months paid what I can and I have been upfront with her about this.

    She is now threatening to go to court and ask them to get me arrested so I will loose my job, but I am suspecting that a lot of this is due to that she needs a new GNIB card, she is not Irish or a citizen of a EU country, she is emailing my girlfriend, my job and my parents and is trying to get me into as much trouble as she can, I have asked her to stop but she keeps on emailing and this is giving me even more trouble.

    I am applying for a vary but I don’t know what to do now, can I get arrested as she says? I am not refusing to pay but on my salary with my expenses then I can not afford it.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If you are in breach of a court order for maintenance you can be brought before the District Court for breach – which does carry the threat of jail for breach of the Court order. If there has been a change of circumstances since the original order you can apply to vary the amount. On a separate note, if she is harassing you it is open to you to make a complaint to the Gardai.

      1. Nils says :


        Many thanks, she has gone to the court without my knowledge and without me being present and got the court to take the money out of my salary and I must also pay what I have not been able to pay before, to put it short this is going to ruin me and I will loose my job, this is no joke.

        I am really disappointed that a system can be so backwards, this way she will also loose the money from me as I won’t be able to pay her anymore.

        1. John M. Lynch says :

          Not sure how she could have done this without your knowledge – all documents should have been sent to you. You should either appeal or seek a variation. If you consult a local solicitor they should be able to guide you.

  69. Kenneth says :

    Hi can you help me please. I have a fourteen old son . I paying 50 euro since 2003 a maintenance order. We have joined guardianship. I don’t work for the last couple of years . I doing a fas course at the moment I was 6 month course . I miss 1 week I couldn’t pay it I had 2 do a week in hand . I only gotten 196 a week I pay 40 euro just on buses to get to courses with my rent bills after the meantime I only around 40 for myself. I after getting a meantime order she dammeding I give her a 100 euro the following week I dint have it . On the maintenance order variation is cross out.could I still get a variation when we go to court

  70. Sophie C says :

    Hi. I have been back and forth to court with my sons dad for the last four years. Finally everything in my opinion was finished in there ,a set amount of access and I was awarded €40pw. I had never had money from him but drove 1hr down with my boy to see his dad on friday and home and drove back down sunday to collect my son, and home. So kwith 4hrs driving a week to make sure they seen each other, the 40 was going to be a big help.
    Now he is giving me an embarrassing amount of money and I genuinely cant afford to keep driving up and down to facilitate access, his wife is also very verbal and has now accused me of trying to ruin her family by getting her husband to maintenance. After me being patient and asking every couple of weeks could he please get it fixed.
    Can I contact the court in writing and make them aware that I can no longer affort to drive up and down every weekend and that I will be breaching the order in doing this but am left with no choice.
    I cannot continue to be down from being given out to and disrespected and have no money when he should be atleast paying the cost of travel I do and have done for 3yrs to facilitate his access

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Not sure I fully understand the detail here – is he not paying the €40 per week? If that is the case, you can make an application to the District Court to deal with the non-payment.If he is and the issue is the cost of travel – and if the issue of access and maintenance was recently dealt with : then unless there is a change from the hearing date , the Court would not normally make a change.

  71. Debbie says :

    Hi, I have a maintenance order in place since 2012 which my daughter’s father has never paid. I was living in Cork at the time it was granted but am now living back home in Scotland. Is there a way I can apply to the district Court in Cork to have the order enforced without travelling there? I would travel for the case to be heard if needed but can’t really afford to fly over to make the new application and come back for a court date. I have spoken with my ex partner about paying but he claims I can no longer enforce the order as the child no longer lives in the country so he won’t pay.

    Thank you.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The order is enforceable even if you reside abroad and it should be possible to arrange to travel only for the hearing.

  72. Maria says :

    Good afternoon
    My ex husband took the kids for one week holiday. during this week he didn’t pay usual maintenance into my bank account. Apart from food I still have all the usual bills, childcare, mortgage etc. Is this acceptable? Im really short of money this week now and am not sure whether to ask him for it. He does not want to speak to me, is bitter over the split etc so I don’t want to contact him if he is within his rights.
    any advice would be appreciated,
    I am currently waiting for mediation
    Thank you

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If the maintenance is payable on foot of a court order, he is in breach of the order if it does not allow for holidays. If it is by agreement with him the situation is much more problematic. Unless the agreement is in writing there is no way to enforce it. If you think this is something that is likely to require you should consider getting a formal maintenance order. Of course if you manage to access mediation this might be the best way to resolve matters.

  73. Pat says :

    Hi my ex has brought me to court over access. The judge decided for me to take the kids 3 nights a week which I think is too much. I have a family now with 2 kids as well. And I have been paying my ex 150 euros a week for the 2 children.I am not happy with the judge decision as I think it’s too much to have the kids 3 nights and 3 days a week plus 150 a week maintenance. What else could I do?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The options that are open to you would be to Appeal the decision or renegotiate with the children’s mother. You could of course simply not exercise the access or attempt to exercise a more limited access without having to get involved in the court scenario again. However that carries the risk that your ex might invoke the court.

  74. Adam C says :

    Hi, My ex partner from about 25 years ago has applied to the high court for maintenance of one of our children. I have already paid a lump sum which she continues to draw from. My question is can the court force me to sell my new family home that I own with my wife. The home was bought about five years ago, long after we split. The reason I ask is that I don’t believe she will be satisfied with a weekly maintenance order and will be looking for me to sell assets. I cant believe that I could be forced onto the streets but who knows, are you able to advise. I have applied for legal aid but it has been declined so I am trying my best to navigate the high court! Thanks in advance this Q&A session is a real lifeline.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      I would suggest that it is highly unlikely that a court would order the sale of the family home subsequently purchased in respect of maintenance for a child of a former partner.

  75. Dolores says :

    I am a unmarried mother. The father is paying maintenance but hardly comes to see the child we stay in separate towns. My question is if the father comes to visit and is under the influence of alcohol can I refuse him from seeing the child? The child is 8 months old.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      This is a tricky question and usually involves the degree of intoxication – unless the father has a serious problem with drinking and it interferes with his ability to care for his child, a court would be unlikely to refuse access. It is not unlikely that a court might impose some sort of condition if it considers that alcohol is a problem.

  76. Deirdre says :

    I have sole guardianship and sole custody of my two children, I have always given my ex partner access to them and encouraged my children to spend time with him. He now has a new partner and I do not want her in my children lives as they are only 3 and 5 and in my opinion, it is too much for them to deal with as such a young age. Can I insist on this as he is refusing to agree to keep her away.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      It is always a difficult matter to deal with when former partners enter into new relationships and there are children involved. By and large the court recognised the reality of the situation and will facilitate access to the non-custodial parent. I would suggest that it is better in the circumstances to try and get agreement on a phased introduction rather than an absolute ban.

  77. Mel says :

    Hi I was wondering if u could help me with answer a couple of questions please. I have giant guardianship with my sons father. Who takes him every weekend. Apart from the first day of every month.

    We never put a Maintenance order in place, but he pays me €50 per week which I declared to the social welfare who then made a deduction to my family income supplement payment, I also work part time 20 hours per week.

    When myself and my ex row he holds off on paying me. Last week he brought my son on holiday and never paid me. Is this allowed ?

    I get nothing but a hard time about absolutely everything when it comes to my child. It’s getting to the stage were I am in tears when he drops my son home.

    Can a maintenance order be out in place and also can mediation be enforced ? As he turned down the voluntary mediation. The situation between us gets so nasty and upsetting and out of hand and needs to be resolved ASAP.

    Also when a maintenance of a certain amount is out in place, does this mean he does not need to help out in other ways like school trips ? Uniforms etc ??


    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If maintenance is not working voluntarily then you have the option of making an application to the court to get a maintenance order. The benefit of a court order is that if there is a breach you have an avenue open to you to enforce the breach.

  78. Hayley says :

    Just wondering if maintenance is still to be paid a week that children are away on holidays with the person paying the maintenance?

  79. Sean says :

    My daughter has just finished secondary school, she is 19.
    I have no access and haven’t had access in the last 8 years when I did have access it was always broken on the mothers end so I don’t have a relationship with my daughter and never had even though I have tried and tried and still try to this day
    She doesn’t want to know me and mocks me constantly but still asks for money outside of my Maintence.
    I have always paid my maintaince and I am to this day.
    She has text me saying she is now going to college to do a PLC course and saying she is taking me to court if I don’t pay her fees.

    Am I obliged to pay any of her college fees when I pay Maintence every week to her mother??

    Thanks in advance

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Your legal obligation is to support until she is 21 years of age if she continues in full-time education. In view of the fact that you tell me that you are already paying maintenance the question is whether or not you are obliged to pay more maintenance. Ultimately any change of maintenance is determined by change in circumstances justifying an increase. If you have the means to pay more maintenance and she has the need for more maintenance, then it is likely that an increased order for maintenance could be made.

      The fact that you do not have a relationship with your daughter is not taken into account by the court in determining maintenance.

  80. Seanie says :

    I am separated from my wife since 2008. She is a non-EEA national and came back to Ireland later on a student visa. I cant find her at all and want to get divorced. When I last bumped into her she had a boyfriend. We have no kids and I now have a partner and a family of my own. Would I be liable to pay her spousal maintenance? We have no money left each month and I am in dread of a judge demanding I pay her money. Thats if I could find her!

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If you have no money and the court is satisfied that you have no money then the issue of maintenance should not arise. Furthermore if your wife is financially independent and capable of earning in her own right and you have no excess funds then again the issue of maintenance should not arise

  81. Collette says :

    if a father leave the country and still pays maintenance does he still have rights to the child?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Normally maintenance is viewed as a responsibility of the parent and is not linked to rights per se. So the answer to your question is that the parent irrespective of maintenance continues to have rights of access etc

  82. Mary says :

    Hello, I am looking to find out if you are required to force your children see their father on the specified days agreed with the court if they absolutely do not want to see him? If a child reaches a certain age do they have a say whether or not they want to go regardless of the court order?

    Thank you

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      A Court order means that the other parent can refer the matter back to Court. If the Court considers that the custodial parent is in breach it can sanction the parent in breach . A Court will usually take the child’s views into account where it considers that the child is of an age that should be able to hold and express such views. Court should be the last resort – is there any way that the impasse can be resolved!

      1. Natalie says :

        Hi I’m just looking for some advice. Me and my ex split we have a 4 year old. I signed guardianship forms and I have no issue with my daughter spending time with her dad we have arranged days and it suits my daughter. My ex is bitter that I get the child allowance and has told me he is going to the social to say I don’t spend it on my daughter. I do. He earns 7000 a year more than me but still asks me to buy my daughter clothes for his house. What kind of proceedings would this even be listed under. Any help would be great.

        1. John M. Lynch says :

          You are talking maintenance – both parents have a right to see their child with a duty to maintain their child. The level of maintenance, if not agreed between the parents, can be set by the Court. The Court will look at the needs of the child and the income and outgoings of both parents. The non-primary carer ( the father in this case) will usually pay the maintenance the the primary carer ( the mother in this case).

          I hope this helps.

          1. Natalie Lambert says :

            Even though me and my ex weren’t married we do share time with my daughter on a 50/50 split this seems to be working best for my daughter since starting school. As we both have 50/50 time with my daughter would I still be able to apply for maintenance?

          2. John M. Lynch says :

            Sounds like a very good arrangement and well done. I presume the issue is that she spends equal time with both parents, so both share her financial support equally. It is a question of balancing the resources of both parents with the needs of the child and seeing it there an imbalance. This is not a precise science and you will get as many answers as there are judges. The argument is down to the difference between the Children’s allowance plus your income versus his income. If it is not significant the argument would be that the status quo remains.

  83. Anda says :

    Hi I have a daughter of one year and half I am not married to her father and he s still Maried to he s wife they have four big children.Can I obligate him trough the court to sign for the gurdianship? Also he s name is not on the birth certificate.can I obligate him trough the court to put he s name on the birth certificate? Thank s

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The question is why do you want to put him on the birth certificate and make him a guardian? If it is to oblige him to take a role in parenting the child , the answer is usually that the Law will not oblige someone in that way !

  84. Ray says :

    Hi John
    What would be the rights of a dad living in a different county to their child. Over 100miles. At the moment the child is 4 months and dad is allowed to take child evety three weeks for two nights but really wants more time. Would the judge rule against a father taking the child because he is in a different county.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Not necessarily. However the Court would look to the best interests of the child and award access that would suit the child .

  85. Izabela says :

    I come from Poland. three years ago I brought the case to court in Poland for deprivation of parental rights. the court has sent me to court in Ireland because jurisdiction. lawyer says there is no sense to do this in Ireland because in Ireland the care has only a mother (I have never been married with my ex partner). Now I would like to increase the maintenance which he should paying for the past 12 years (polish court decision aprox 50€ per month). jurisdiction is in Ireland. is it true? how court will examine if the father does not have incomes.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If I understand your question – if you have a Polish maintenance order you should be able to enforce it in an Irish Court . However, if he has no income then thee may be little point in trying to enforce it!

  86. Patricia says :

    Hi John, my brother was taken to family court by his wife 4 years ago as she was seeking maintenance. The court awarded her €45 per week. He didn’t actually move out of the family home and continues to live there 4 years later. His wife is now taking him to the D/CT for breach of the maintenance order and is suing him for €12K. My brother has been paying the mortgage and bills for the past 4 years. Could he still be forced to pay the €12k his wife is looking for? He’s a nervous wreck as he’s worried now that he’ll be going to jail as well.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      I am assuming that it was anticipated that he move out and that the maintenance was to include the mortgage and bills that he continued to pay for the four years! If that equated to the maintenance sum then his argument is that he did in fact pay maintenance! Strictly speaking , however , he should have gone back to vary the order made.

  87. Elle says :

    Hi, my partner has left myself with 4 children in rented accommodation and we have agreed that he will continue to pay his cut of the rent, €850- which we are now terming as ‘maintanence’. I have been open to unlimitted access to suit him around his work hours and he is looking for guardianship also. I would like to grant him guardianship but worry about control. Should i visit a solicitor to officially draw up a legal contract detailing maintenance and guardianship? Roughly what would the fees be for this service at your office?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Guardianship does not means control on a day to day basis. There are a number of terms that are used in the area of contact with children that can cause confusion. You have guardianship which is having a say in major decision making – for example : choosing school or religion. You have custody which which is having a child in your presence . And you have access which likewise having a child with you. Custody usually has a stronger connotation. However, you have the day to day carer or primary carer. This is the person who has primary say on the day to day care of the child. Akin to a couple who are a family unit there are many variations – but traditionally one of the couple take control of the day to day minding of the child . This does not mean that the other party is excluded , it simply reflects who takes on the role of the day to day minder!

  88. Abi says :

    Hi John

    Thank you for this helpful resource.

    My children’s father and I were divorced and had a settlement agreement. In that process he declared only a back to work allowance as his income and on this basis a nominal sum was set as the maintenance contribution. Please could you help me with the following questions or direct me to where I might find the answers.

    1. If at some point in the future I discover that he has become gainfully employed but has not declared this change in his employment status, can the maintenance be backdated to calculate a proportional maintenance from when his new employment began?

    2. If that cannot easily be done, and maintenance can only be increased from the date I discover he is employed, how do I go about getting regular formal statements of income from him so that not too long a period elapses from the point of employment until maintenance is adjusted?

    3. In either of these cases what is the process by which I have maintenance adjusted to fit his changed income status?

    Unfortunately he is not open to an amicable conversation to reach agreement about anything at all. He was abusive during the marriage and continues to use every opportunity to try to exert control, so simple dialogue will not work as a way to manage this.

    Kind regards,

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The nature of maintenance is that it can be varied if there is a change in circumstances from the original circumstances under which it was granted. The “but” is that you have to prove the change in circumstances – however, moving from unemployment to employment would be a change .

      Your second question is over what period can you make a claim for maintenance – can it be backdated. it is backdated from the date that the claim is made. Therefore the sooner you make the claim the better.

  89. Emer F says :

    Hi John. My ex husband who i divorced in 2004 was ordered by the Coventry district court to pay £50 a week and paid it for one week and then stopped.he said he would give up work and give a tenner a week if I went after him and that he would wait until my daughter was an adult before he has a relationship with her.. My daughter id now 16yrs old and is in her last year of secondary school and would like to go to 3rd level education. My question is, can all the years of none payment of maintenance be re couped?? I have struggled for years but did everything myself and I’m just tired now and need help.
    I would really appreciate your advise on this. I forgot to mention. I left him when I was 6months pregnant and returned to Ireland..

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      It is usually only possible to get arrears from the date you issue proceedings. But you may be able to look for a revised figure that would cover some of the costs , if he has the means to pay.

  90. Jennifer says :

    Hi .
    Myself and my husband separated in September last year . He moved back to his parents for a few weeks and then moved back into the family home onto the couch until recently. He is back now in his parents .
    We have two children and a mortgage . We decided 1 year ago I should take a career break to raise the children for 2 years and I can’t go back until then . At present I am doing a none paid course to further myself when I return to work .
    He has been paying the bills up until now but I have a feeling he is going to stop as he has changed back account and he wants to move out of hospital parents and cl can’t afford to rent somewhere while he pays outer bills . He is working full time .
    My question is does he have to still pay or can he leave me with nothing . I get no payment from anywhere except children allowance once a month. Can you help me on what to do next .

  91. Nuala says :

    Hi, I have a daughter who is nine who sees her biological dad two nights a month. He has recently settled down and is getting married and has suddenly requested that my daughter spends 50percent of all holidays including Christmas with him and his new girlfriend. I was never married to my daughters biological dad but got married when my daughter was four. I always encourage my daughter to see him but she has little interest in seeing him and certainly does not want to spent Christmas or half the summer holidays with him. She wants to be at home with her friends and little sisters. Is it likely he will gain this extent of access?

  92. John geoghegan says :

    Hi my name is John.. I’m not with my sons mother.. My son is now eight I’ve been paying maintenance since he was born now I’m just finding out she’s married with three other kids now.. I just wanted to know do I still have to pay maintenance since she is married with three other children

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      It the maintenance is for your son and does not include spousal maintenance , it continues to be payable. The only issue would be whether or not the amount could be reviewed.

  93. Tom says :

    Hello ! I have some question if you dont mind! I have a son he s six weeks old. me and his mother separeted and not married . I pay maintanance 50 euro /week .Its right for me.I can see my son 3 time a week. She is alone parents so i m not a guardian becouse she affraid loose the money from the social walfare but every week if have a small problem she black listing me that if i dont do how she want we go to the court and I can see my son just 3 hours/ 2 weeks. My question is if we go to court how she always say how many days I can see my son? this situation is good for me I know that my son need his mom and i can see him three days a week but I dont wanna live in fear and black listing week by week.
    Thanks John!

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Tom, I would not be inclined to accept the black listing – a Court is unlikely to grant you access. It may be that it will not be exactly as you might wish but Courts are by and large sympathetic to access by the father.

  94. Sean says :

    I have paid maintenance for 7 years and all college expenses even though I was only supposed to pay 50%. . My ex also owe me a five figure sum for the house per the original court order that was never paid I never pursued it as I don’t want the stress.

    My eldest is finished her degree education this year. She is age 21. I have read that ‘If a child remains in full-time education until 23 years there is an entitlement to maintenance’ How do you define ‘remains in full time education’ -can I just stop paying when she finishes college? She intends to work after college.


    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Sean, the law says that if she is in full time education then you maintain her until she reaches 23. Full time education usually means being a student on a full time course. It sounds like you do not have contact with her , otherwise I would suggest talking to her to agree an arrangement until she takes up employment .

  95. Sean says :

    Thanks for the response John. I am in regular contact with my daughter and know she is in full time education. She does her finals in May 2018 He grades are high so she will pass. After that my daughter intends to look for a job. My question is really do I have to pay maintenance to my ex-wife when my daughter finishes full education at age 21 1/2. Do I just stop paying or is there a legal process? Thanks.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If your daughter is no longer is full time education you are not legally obliged to support her.

  96. Steve says :

    My husband and I separated 15 years ago and divorced 4 years later . I have been paying maintenance for my children since , €1000 a month as per divorce agreement ( child maintenance only ) She was in and out of jobs over the years . She didn’t stick any job too long . I remarried 6 years ago and own a company now which is going very well . My youngest turns 18 next month . He is not in education . Can she come looking for spousal maintenance now that the child maintenance will be ending and I’m no longer legally obliged . Can spousal maintenance be sought 15 years later ? It was never sought before as she only got child maintenance.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      I was responding to the comments as they arrived – so see my previous reply. I might suggest that you do not be too quick to stop your youungest’s maintenance!

  97. Steven says :

    When the child maintenance term ends can a spouse then apply for spousal maintenance. I have been paying child maintenance for 15 years since my divorce. Spousal maintenance was not awarded at the time . Not that my youngest is turning 18 next month can my ex go back to court 15 years later and apply for spousal maintenance. I was paying €1000 for 2 children

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Without knowing all the history and details , I can only say that it would be unusual to award spousal maintenance post divorce after 15 years. This would be on the assumption that the spouse earns in her own right or whose income support had been otherwise provided for .

  98. Paul says :

    John, Me an my ex separated 6 months ago, we have 3 young kids together. I am currently paying 300 euro per week to her, which I am stretching myself to pay and cannot sustain. There has been no agreement to pay this amount but she threatens me with court each week if i do not pay it. Also for 4 months now she will not reply to me each week when i try to arrange to see the kids. Also will not let me take the kids to my house. I live a few hours away. Yet she says she is not denying access i now see them the odd weekend but that only gets decided last minute and do not know what is happening from one day to the next.
    I do not want to go to court as i have had an addiction and they may take a dim view on it. I have tried all means of offering mediation etc but she just controls everything and refuses to negotiate finance and access.
    She is also getting full benefits from the government and money from me. Is court the best option?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Eoin, it sound like you may have no option but to go to Court . If you can prove that your addiction is under control it should not be a factor in denying you access. The Court will fix your maintenance in accordance with your means. Is there anyone who might act as a go-between to see if you can avoid Court.

  99. Cristiane says :

    Hello, I am a Brazilian citzen and I had a baby with my ex boyfriend who is Irish, I got back to my country to have the baby, and now I’m back to Ireland, but his father doesn’t want to pay maintenance or re-register him, he says if I go to court I will just get few money but I won’t get the birth certificate or the passport! Is it true? Can he say to the judge even the DNA proving he is the father that he won’t sign the birth certificate or passport? Thanks

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      This a a tricky one and may involve issues on the rights of non-nationals which is outside me area of expertise. I think you should consult a lawyer who specializes in the area.

  100. Sam french says :

    My ex partner is applying for joint custody of our two girls after our relationship ended badly, he isaid incompetent and can’t handle both kids more than a couple days at a time. I don’t want him gaining joint guardianship, what can I do? I already have an aunt signed as a guardian so if anything happens to me she takes my place as soke guardian of the kids

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      This is always a difficult question to answer. All depends on the facts and on how the Court will view the facts as presented. The Court is mandated to look to the best interests of the child. As a general rule , Courts are reluctant to exclude one parent from contact.

  101. pru says :

    My ex husband has been in accident from 2009 my baby was 8 months but now he recieve the road accident fund grant 1.1 million but he didn’t. t support what must I do. He has one child I always support my child alone all most 8 years. Cloths education school fees transport I’m alone.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Quick answer without further details – you may be able to deal with his lack of support by making a maintenance lump application or a divorce application. But you should act now.

  102. Jamie mc ginty says :

    I am a father who is raising my 4 children in the family home since 2009 . I get no support from my wife and have had no contact with her in over 5 years . My fear is when my youngest grows up my wife would be entitled to half the house i am struggling to pay for . Any advice welcome .

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The quick answer is that she is not automatically entitled to a half share. The Court is mandated to make proper provision for the spouses and dependent members of the family . So it depends on all the circumstances as to how the Court will deal with it.

  103. kirstie says :

    My partner has a child from a previous relationship they were never married. We are currently looking to marry but I’m wondering if the mother of the child can ask for my income as well as his for the support of said child.??

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      The quick answer – if his outgoings are reduced by sharing living costs with you , then she may be able to argue for more maintenance. – but its about his situation rather than yours!!

  104. john says :


    I have a son with my an ex girlfriend but she have another son with another man that leaves in UK. I have pays her a maintenance of 25 euros per wk and it’s deducted from her rent allowance and the other man does not pay it legally as she doesn’t want it to be deducted to her. she bought me to court that I am not paying her maintenance, I pay her car insurance and i pay her the rest in cash. I ask her to provide me a bank account, she refused. How can i deal this situation?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Quick answer – pay by cheque or some other way to record the payment.

  105. David says :

    Hi, i pay maintenance to my ex for our 2 children, we agreed on each of us getting holiday during year so last week she went off on holidays and i had the kids for the week, so as i had them i did not pay her maintenance for the week, she has flipped out about this but i think im in the right here as in the money is for the kids not for her, also she has requested i purchase clothes but i am adament she must provide as this is why i pay maintenance.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Not an uncommon situation – the bottom line is that if a maintenance order set out that maintenance has to be paid weekly , there are no exceptions unless agreed. Likewise, if the maintenance is agreed/ordered then additional payments are discretionary.

  106. M David says :

    Barry D,

    How did this work out for you?

    I am in a similar position now with take home of about €4,100 however my wife wants to separate. I will need to leave the family home eventually and get rented accommodation which will cost about €1,500 before any food/household bills. The mortgage on our house is €1,000 before any food/household bills. My wife works part-time and earns about €2,000 per month. Simply put, there is insufficient finances to run two houses and keep our 2 children in the same lifestyle and for my wife to only work 3 days per week.

    I would be interested in hearing how your case ended up?

    Kind regards,

  107. Shane says :

    Hi John,
    My divorce agreement included an order that I should pay the life insurance premiums. I have been paying the premium for several years. However as is the norm with most life insurance, the policy is reviewed as people get older. The options are to increase premium substantially or reduce cover and keep existing premium. Am I obliged to pay the premium increase which is substantial (>€100 per month to a total of near €300). My ex is refusing to reduce the cover and keep existing premium and expects me to pay the 100% of increase presumably because I am currently paying it. The insurance company is saying the policy default to the higher premium in the absence of agreement and will lapse if the increase is not paid. Am I obliged to pay the increase? What are the legal implications if I don’t pay the increase which I would prefer to avoid as I still have college expenses and education loans to pay.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      On the basis that I do not have the court order, my comment is : I am afraid that if there is an order that a level of insurance be in place and you have to maintain such level of cover you will be in breach of a Court order if you do not maintain the increased cover.

  108. david says :



    just a quick question i hope it is straightforward i have been paying my child maintenance payments for the last number of years for my two daughters but now one of my daughters is living with me (agreed by both parents) and my ex wife is returning half the payment to me monthly this saves us getting the maintenance adjusted but would i be better off going to court to pay no maintenance because we both have one child each

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Not necessarily the way it would work! I presume your argument is that she is not contributing to one daughter that you should not contribute to the other. Everything being equal – the cost of each child and the income of each parent – it is arguable. Maybe a chat with the ex might be cheaper.

  109. Ana says :

    I am not legally divorced, I am still married, but I am separated from my husband. We have child and he have custody for that. Is this possible to take child abroad for living? How this process is going, could you tell me, please?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Yes, If he has sole custody as opposed to being the primary carer , then you need to make an application for custody. It is very unusual that a parent would not have joint cusdody with the other parent. Maybe if you email me the specifics , I can give you a more comprehensive reply.

  110. David says :

    Hi John,

    I am hoping you can help me with a question.
    I am recently divorced, pay weekly court appointed maintenance for both my daughters. Through the divorce I have been granted a full week for the summer with my youngest daughter as we are going away for the week. I have already bought all her clothes for the wee as I was informed by her mother that she would not be bringing clothes for the holiday. As I will be as such maintaining my daughter for this week, do I have to pay the full amount of maintenance for that week? Can I half the payment and use the funds to take additional care of my daughter?
    Thanks for any help.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Quick answer, if the order is to pay weekly without break. you cannot reduce without court order. And would it be worth the hassle !

  111. Joanna Biniaszak says :

    Hello i was in court today and The judge granted my ex partner to see kids every weekend for 3 weekend a in a calender Month but i dont want this becuase he takes druger i can agree for nim to see the kids once a Month what can i do about this

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If it an order of the Court – your only option is to appeal the order to a higher court . If it was in the District Court , you appeal to the Circuit Court.

      1. Joanna Biniaszak says :

        ok and my question is are you on The legal aid board panel and would able to help me with all this

  112. Kathryn says :

    Hi, I’m hoping you can give me some advice please. I served my ex partner with a maintenance order. I didn’t have legal representation as I felt I didn’t need it. His solicitor requested an adjournment on the day of court as he said he wasn’t satisfied with my statement of means. He has now sent a letter looking for my partners bank statements, I’ve already given my partners P60 and payslips, my bank statements(which I already provided to him) credit union statements, rent receipts which I don’t have as I pay through the bank, a statement from SW as I receive domicilary for my son. This payment was on my bank statement I gave to him. My question really is, am I obliged to give these to his solicitor or is it the court I need to give them to? Am I correct in thinking that once I signed the affidavit then that should suffice. I feel as though I am being bullied as I don’t have legal representation. Thank you.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Quick answer, you need to provide vouchers to prove your affidavit .

      1. Kathryn says :

        Thank you for your response. Do I need to give them to the court or to his solicitor?

  113. Anita says :

    Hi, I have a 3 year barring order against my husband and he is appealing it. The barring order was obtained as a result of an assult on one of my four children (10,12,13,14) and esclating physical and verbal abuse to all of us. We are living in fear that this will be overturned, how likely is it?

    Next question, I am currenly paying for everything, mortgage, household expenses etc and he has contributed nothing to the 4 kids, school expenses or house and has no intention of doing so. He works, I have the bigger income. Both our names are on the house. He is getting legal aid and I am not so he seems to have dedicated legal teams as we go into court. What can I do?

    My final question is access, my children do not want to see him. My youngest met with him once and it was terrible, he came home distraught with the anger and questions fired at him. I did sign an agreement re access after this as I beleive it is right that a relationship is maintained but kids did not want to go. He is blaming me saying Im not letting them go. Looks like back to court for section 32 but I cant afford this as well as legal fees, any advice? Feel like I am hitting a brick wall at every turn.

    Thank you.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Anita, based on the information you have set out , I will offer a few pointers. The problem is that every legal outcome is based on the facts as presented to the Judge and the Judge’s view of the issues.

      1. If there is proof of violence the Court is unlikely to overturn a barring order.
      2. It sounds like you are in the legal process for separation, I would advise applying for an order for maintenance and having confidence that you have the right legal team.
      3. If there is an issue on children it is not unlikely that the court will look for a Report.

      I hope this is of some help.

  114. JJ says :

    Hi John my daughter has turned 18 in June she is awaiting her LC results and college placement.My Judicial seperation states maintenance paid until 18 however my divorce decree just states maintenace of €400 pm with no age limit.My query is (1) is maintenance until 23 years old of she takes up college & (2) am i liable for maintenance for months of july and aug while she awaits news on college.
    Ive no relationship with her or her mother.

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      Yes, its until she is 23 and is in full time education and there would usually be no break while she is waiting for her results.

  115. Georgia O’ Keeffe says :

    Hi, my boyfriend got a message off an old partner a couple of months ago, saying she was pregnant with his child, when he asked about a paternity test, she blocked him. He’s had no contact with her since and today he’s received a letter for child maintenance!! He’s in shock as he never done a paternity test as he hasn’t been able to contact her and as he never signed his name on the birth certificate? What should we do? There’s no proof this child is his, so why was a letter sent to him to pay child maintenance! Where should we start?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      He is entitled to look for a paternity test .

  116. Anya says :

    my ex-pays maintanence as appointed by the court for two children. But on a summer holiday, he took my son to another country to visit his parents. he said that the child was on holiday and for these 2 months he will not pay because the son was not in Ireland and he had to pay for tickets, entertainment, food and etc. But my daughter was with me in Ireland. Tell me I have the right to go to court or is he right? He doesn’t have to pay? Thank you

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If there is a maintenance order he cannot stop payment without varying the order .

  117. Mazia says :

    Hello there,
    I hope if you can help.
    I am a polish national and was with non-eu national (cohabiting – living together) for 3 year. I have his child but I did not get his name on birth certificate. He applied for EU family permit showing DNA result and Visa was issued to him in Ireland for 5 years. He now works there. The child is now 2 years, I took the child and return to Poland as he was over controlling and trying to force his religion and culture on me and my daughter. He has never paid any maintenance for this child . I am raising this child alone in Poland. When I ask him for financial support, he ask to put his surname for the child and ask me to come and stay with him..I do not wish to stay with him as I know his behaviour..How can I get him pay the child maintenance…It is difficult for me as a lone parent with no job security…Which court should I lodge the petition – Ireland or Poland? He still works in Poland and earns around 25,000 euros. I now live in Poland and he is in Ireland…Can anyone please assist me?

    1. John M. Lynch says :

      If he works in Poland , I would suggest you make your maintenance application in Poland . You should check this advice out with a Polish lawyer.