My Ex-Husband is not paying maintenance for the children or if he is, he is giving the children the money to give to me.
Parents have an obligation to maintain their children and there are legal rules and regulations set up to enforce this. Generally the matter can be dealt with in the local District Court say in Clonakilty, Bandon, Skibbereen, Macroom, Bantry or Cork City and we can get you into a Court situation to have this matter resolved no more than 4 to 5 weeks having received your instructions.
The Court depending on means of the other party will then order that maintenance payments are made directly into your bank account on a regular basis or alternatively through the Court Office. The advantage of having the payments paid through the Court Office is that the Court Office can then issue a summons to have any reluctant maintenance payer arrested if he does not pay the Court Orders.
What if he is on Social Welfare?
He will obviously have to prove this to the Court but a Judge will still make an Order against him depending on his circumstances probably of around €25.00 to €30.00 a week towards the maintenance his child / children.
What if he says his income is far less that it actually is?
This is an old trick and the Court insists that each party in a maintenance case completes what is called an Affidavit of Means. An Affidavit is a sworn document which sets out a person’s income and expenditure together with their assets and liabilities. It has to be backed up with proof, for example, if you are claiming your car insurance is costing you €50.00 a month, then you have to prove it or if you are paying substantial monies into a pension, then again you have to prove it.
Likewise each party has to appear in Court and give sworn evidence backing up their claim. The witness box is a lonely place if you are telling a lie.
What if we agree on the figure for maintenance and then he does not pay it?
If you agree on the figure for maintenance then we will insist that the Court makes an actual Court Order. Breach of a Court Order is contempt of Court and ultimately punishable by imprisonment !! See above the advantages of having the maintenance paid through the Court Clerk in those circumstances.
What if circumstances change?
Well, a Court can be asked to relook at the maintenance being paid or received based on the change of circumstances provided the circumstances have actually changed. The maintenance can be increased or decreased for example if the child is going to third level or has special needs or one of the parents has won the lotto or say received a substantial inheritance.
What if I have told him I don’t want any maintenance for the children, can I change my mind?
You are always entitled to look for maintenance for the children and you cannot legally contract out of this.