QuestionHow much maintenance should be paid?

Spouses are also required to maintain each other having regard to their means and needs. A spouse can apply for maintenance even if living with the other spouse.

All parents, married or unmarried, have a duty to maintain dependent children.

Sometimes, a person other than the parent make seek maintenance such as a relative taking care of a dependent child who is legal guardian, or social worker if the child is in the care of the H.S.E.

For the spouse, age, income and ability to take up employment will be considered for maintenance purposes.

The District Court can only award up to €500.00 per week to a spouse and €150.00 per child per week. If a spouse wants to get more than these amounts they must apply to the Circuit Court. Maintenance payments can be paid on a fixed regular basis payments or in a lump sum, it can also be ordered to be paid through the Courts or directly to the parties.

Both the District and Circuit Court can make lump sum orders for maintenance although, at present, the District Court cannot make an order for more than €6,349.00

The amount of maintenance to be paid varies from case to case dependent upon your individual circumstances and individual legal advice including an assessment of the parties’ means is needed to advise fully.


QuestionCan maintenance be deducted directly from my salary?

Yes, it can.  If a spouse fails to pay maintenance, an Attachment of Earnings Order can be sought from the court if the person is employed.  Similarly an Attachment of Earnings Order can be sought from persons on social welfare or on a private pension. In such circumstances the employer or organisation that pays the spouse can be ordered to deduct maintenance from the salary or social welfare or pension payment.


QuestionCan maintenance be enforced?

The Court can make an Attachment of Earnings Order as set out above.

In addition an enforcement order for arrears of maintenance can be brought.  In certain circumstances the Court can order for the arrest of a defaulting person.


QuestionI lost my job. Can the amount of maintenance be changed?

Yes.  Maintenance can be reviewed by the Court if there is a change in circumstances.

The law acknowledges that circumstances change over time.  Maintenance can be decreased, discharged and similarly it can be increased depending upon the change in circumstances.