How much maintenance will I have to pay?

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Many people understandably believe that there are standard levels of payment for maintenance in Ireland. But they are wrong….In reality, there is no fixed rule in the State, to determine an appropriate figure for maintenance payments.

What Maintenance is Payable in Ireland?

Under Irish law, there are two types of maintenance you may be legally obliged to pay after separation or divorce: spousal maintenance and dependent child maintenance.

Spousal maintenance relates to the obligation which each married person or civil partner has to financially support the other.  Maintenance for children is payable for as long at the child remains legally dependent, i.e. when they are 18 or – if they are still in education –  23. However, in the case of a medically dependent child, this obligation may be ongoing.

How do Courts Decide on Maintenance?

The courts take numerous factors into account when considering applications for maintenance including:  the income and expenditure of both parties, their assets and their debts/liabilities. They will also look at the particular needs of the children.

Most Maintenance applications will be made to the local District Court.  However, where a spouse or parent is applying for a Separation/Divorce in the Circuit Court or High Court, that parent can also include a claim for maintenance as part of this process.

You can make huge legal cost savings if the terms of maintenance are agreed in advance of any court application for Divorce or Separation by using:

  1. Mediation – a voluntary, non-binding method of resolving disputes. Those involved in the dispute are helped to reach a solution by an independent and neutral third party (or parties).
  2. Collaborative Law – a method which allows the couple to reach agreement in an amicable, reasoned and creative way, without going to Court. All negotiations take place through a number of four-way settlement meetings that are attended by both Solicitors and their clients.

Using alternative methods of resolving disputes such as these doesn’t just save money – it saves time and reduces stress levels by keeping you out of court.

If you need advice or support on any of the issues raised above, please call Alan Finnerty on 01 637 6200. Or you can email him at alan.finnerty@orpenfranks.ie

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

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