i assume this is in the right forum!!
hope it is other wise fox please move it accordingly!
just some information needed here lads. hope some1 can help!!
if i have a child due in 7 weeks, and im not getting on with the mother, what rights do i have as a father? what are the rights of custody and maintanance?
and how much is child support? is there a fixed ammount or does it vary?
what about paternity tests? who pays for them? me or her?
if she stops me seeing the child indefinatly, is maintance suspended? or do i have to pay her money and not be allowed to see the child?
just wondering? any thoughts lads? thanks.
Maintenance orders and agreements in Ireland
* How to apply
* Where to apply
There is a legal responsibility in Ireland on both spouses to maintain each other and any children in accordance with their means. Maintenance can be paid periodically (i.e., weekly or monthly) or in a lump sum. In Ireland, paying maintenance does not in itself give a parent access or guardianship rights.
In situations where parents are unmarried or separated, they can make informal agreements regarding maintenance. This can work well where parents are reasonable and fair - but it is difficult to assess informally how much maintenance should be paid. You might consider sitting down and writing out the actual expenses (weekly, monthly, etc.) of the child. If you find it difficult to come to an arrangement which satisfies both parties, you may find that mediation can help. Alternatively, each parent can engage their own legal advice who will act as negotiator of 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 (see below). A solicitor cannot act for both parents in this situation, given there may be conflicts of interest.
Informal agreements such as this can include a property transfer or a lump sum payment but it cannot rule out the possibility of applying for a maintence order through the courts in the future.
If the parties cannot agree upon maintenance, either party can apply to court for a maintenance order. An application for maintenance can be brought either in the District or Circuit Court.
A person seeking a maintenance order can represent himself or herself. However, a person seeking a maintenance order should always check to see if they are eligible for legal aid or contact a private solicitor to assess the cost of the application. The cost of the application can be awarded against the party refusing to pay maintenance if a judge considers it appropriate.
Maintenance can be awarded to a spouse for their own benefit or for the benefit of a child who is under the age of 18, or 23 if the child is in full-time education. However, if the child has a mental or physical disability to such a degree that it will not be possible for them to maintain themselves fully, then there is no age limit for seeking maintence for their support. Each party must disclose their finances to the court and the judge will consider all of the family's circumstances when making a maintenance order.
In cases where a spouse fails to comply with a court order and pay the amount awarded, an Attachment of Earnings Order can be sought if the person is in employment, on social welfare or on a private pension. This order results in the maintenance amount being deducted at source by the spouse's employer or the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
The District Court in making a maintenance order can direct that the payment under the order shall be made to the District Court Clerk if the court considers that it would be proper to do so. The Circuit Court may as part of its order direct that a maintenance order is payable through the District Court. The District Court has a fully computerised payments system for the receipt and transmission of payments received. All payments received are immediately dispatched to the receiving spouse on the day received. A fully computerised print out of all payments is available to either party on request.
Maintenance orders can be enforced in all European Union countries and in countries that are a party to the UN Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance Payments.
Maintenance following Separation and Divorce
Under Irish law, there is no clean break from the obligation to support one's spouse and children. A clause in a Separation Agreement stating that a spouse will not seek maintenance in the future or seek increased maintenance is unenforceable. The spouse can apply for a maintenance order and a court will consider this application, particularly if the circumstances of the parties have changed or the spouse who executed the agreement did not have legal advice at the time.
A divorced spouse can also apply to a court for a maintenance order or a variation of a maintenance order after the Divorce Decree has been granted. The only bar to an application is the remarriage of the spouse applying for the order.
If you wish to appeal the decision of the court about a maintenance order, you can do so within 14 days or apply to the court for an extension of time to appeal. You should seek legal advice regarding your appeal.
If both parties agree, the amount of maintenance to be paid can be agreed between the parties. If the parties cannot agree on the amont of maintenance to be paid, it will be necessary to apply to the District or Circuit Court, depending on the amount of maintenance that is sought.
At present, the District Court can award any amount up to 500 euro per week for a spouse, and 150 euro per week for each child. If sums greater than these amounts are being sought, you will need to apply to the Circuit Court.
Varying the amount of maintenance
It is advisable to updated weekly maintenance payments annually. Where maintenance orders have been made through the courts, either parent can at a later date apply to the court to have the amount varied. (Varied means having the amount increased or decreased). In order to do this, you will require a 'Variation Order'.
Arrears of maintenance
If a parent falls behind with payments where there is a maintenance order in place, then it is possible to apply to the court for an Attachment of Earnings Summons. It is possible to get this Attachment at the time when you apply for the maintenance order if you fear there may be a default. (In other words, you fear that the other parent may fail to comply with the maintenance order). If the parent is self-employed, an Enforcement Summons can be applied for.
If the father lives abroad, you should contact the Central Authority for Maintenance Recovery (see 'Where to apply'). You must have an address for the father in order that a summons can be served. This process may be lengthy but generally involves no legal costs.
If the father lives in the UK, you can apply for maintenance to your local District court here in Ireland. Staff in your local court will guide you through this process.
How to apply
A person seeking a maintenance order can go to their local District Court and get the Court Clerk to issue a Maintenance Summons against the other spouse. Legal advice and representation is always advisable. To enquire whether you are eligible for Legal Aid, contact your nearest law centre. The law centre staff will assess your means and advise on financial eligibility. Legal Aid is not free and everyone must pay a contribution towards costs. The minimum is 5.08 euro, the maximum charge is 29.20 euro if you go to court. Download an application form for Legal Services and a Financial Assessment form and bring this with you to your nearest law centre.
FLAC (or Free Legal Advice Centre) is a non-governmental organisation which promotes and operates a range of services to meet the legal needs of those living in poverty. FLAC operate a network of legal advice clinics throughout Dublin and in the Cork area. If you live outside Dublin or Cork you can also obtain free advice and information by contacting FLAC at the telephone number or e-mail address below.
FLAC clinics are confidential, free of charge and open to all. You do not have to make an appointment and there are no application forms to complete.
Where to apply
The Legal Aid Board,
Tel: (066) 947 1000
Free Legal Advice Centres,
49 South William Street, Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 679 4239
Central Authority for Maintenance Recovery,
43/49 Mespil Road,
Tel: (01) 667 0344
Treoir (Federation of Services for Unmarried Parents and Children),
14 Gandon House,
Lower Mayor Street,
Tel: (01) 6700 120
Guardianship status of fathers in Ireland
All mothers in Ireland, irrespective of whether they are married or unmarried, have automatic guardianship status in relation to their children, unless they give the child up for adoption. A father who is married to the mother of his child also has automatic guardianship rights in relation to that child. This applies even if the couple married after the birth of the child. The rights of parents to guardianship are set down in Section 6 the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964. Guardianship rights entitle a parent to make important decisions regarding that child's upbringing, for example, deciding on the child's religion, education, medical treatment and where he/she lives.
However, a father who is not married to the mother of his child does not have automatic guardianship rights in relation to that child. If the mother agrees for him to be legally appointed guardian, they must sign a joint statutory declaration. The statutory declaration (SI 5 of 1998) must be signed in the presence of a Peace Commissioner or a Commissioner for Oaths. If there is more than one child, a separate statutory declaration should be made for each.
If the mother does not agree for him to have guardianship, he may apply for this status to the District Court.
However, he may be removed as guardian at a future date whereas a father married to the mother of the child is normally guardian for life.
I Think someone posted a link about parternity tests on PI a few months back ... do a search .
But I would say you have to pay for it and It costs a few quid too !
Good luck with it all mate, Its a tough situation your in. I was almost init my self about 3 years ago, scared the daylights outta me. If the baby is yours congratulations !!! theres nothing better...and if its not, well then at least you will have that woman outta your life !!
Congrats Man !
In short, bugger all. If you persue your rights, you can get guardianship which gives you certain basic rights, but in practice even these are pretty much meaningless. Plenty of fathers have been sent to jail for non-payment of maintenance, while to date not a single mother has for denying access or even in the case of paternity fraud.
Limits exist at district and circuit court levels, of which the former has a limit of €150 p.w. per child. If the mother wants more she would need to take it to a higher court, but accordingly there are costs involved and unless the father is earning over €100,000 per year, it's probably a waste of time/money to do so. Your savings and debts are also taken into account - so if you've saved a deposit to buy a house, I suggest you buy it now.
So you're probably looking at a maximum of €150 p.w., but given that judges are notoriously fickle in their judgments this could mean a guy on €30,000 p.a. could be ordered to pay €45 p.w. by one and €90 by another.
How it is calculated is, in theory, based upon the income and expenditure of both parents and the needs of the child as both parents are expected to contribute financially. So if you're employed and she's on LPA, they'll look to you for the bulk of it, and if both of you are employed they'll look more at a 50-50 split.
What is important is that you keep records of everything, payments, related expenditures, etc. Also formally write to her offering reasonable maintenance and seeking mediation to sort out the problems between you so you are seen to have done everything to avoid litigation in good faith. If she refuses and brings you to court, this will reflect badly on her.
Generally whoever wants to prove or disprove paternity, however costs may be awarded against the other party if it does not go their way.
Seeing the child (access) and maintenance are completely separate issues. If she blocks you from seeing the child, you cannot withhold maintenance, likewise if you withhold maintenance she cannot block you from seeing the child.
Does anybody out there know if i am legally obliged to pay maintenance for my 19 year old daughter who works 2 part time jobs during the summer months, drives a bigger car than i do, and intends going to college in September, but not sure if she will get into college? I do have a court order in place to pay until she leaves full time education, or is in "full time" employment.
Yes, you are obliged to do so. If she does not get into college, then you may go to court to have the court order terminated or suspended.
I would doubt that - otherwise a 'child' could simply stay unemployed for the rest of your life and continue collecting maintenance.
If not in full time education and over 18, the onus is on the 'child' to get a job and support themselves. It's called being an adult.
Just looking for some help. I recently had a young daughter and pay maintance of €300 a month. The social has now written to me to up this payment to €400.i don't think think is unfair,however as my child lives in cork and i live in dublin teh travel expenses to vitis her are €50+ for each trip. Is this taken into account when teh social calcuates how much maintance should be paid. at present it is only me making teh trip teh mother has only made teh trip to Dublin 5 times since she was born last year.
When i met the mother she was working in dublin and when the child came decided to move to Cork without given me an option or choice in teh matter.
Need help here coz with travel and the hike in payments it's going to very difficult to maintain the travel tyo see my daughter and afford to live and travel to work asweel..
Any help would be great.
Ask your solicitor to check your income and expenditure and see if you can afford €400, you have to live too, and I believe your costs etc are part of maintenance, So if you are paying €300 and your travel costs to see your kid are €100, then you are paying €400.....(i think)
As child maintenance is the costs relating to the child (paid for by both parents, btw), then the cost for your child to have access to her father would be part of this.
As to the DSW writing to you, I believe that this is simply a case of 'shaking the tree' to see what they can get as maintenance from you will get deducted from payments the mother will get. There's been a number of cases of this occurring and, from what I gather, it's all bluff.
The only person who can bring you to court for maintenance is the mother, they cannot force you to do anything. They could threaten to withhold payments to her if she doesn't bring you to court, but I suspect that would be seriously dodgy ground, legally, to stand on for them.
I would respond to their letter, via registered letter, requesting further information under what powers they are legally entitled to make this demand of you. If they reply, bring that to a solicitor, but my guess is that they're just bluffing and you'll never hear from them again.
Thanks for you help on that, I was thinking of going straight to a solictor but I'll write back to them first and see what they say with my expenses relating to seeing my child.
Your expenses relating to seeing your child are none of their business. I'd first write (registered post) and clarify under what powers they can actually demand that you pay more. If they reply, then you can go to a solicitor.
The reality is that you could increase maintenance, but ultimately, it'll get deducted from payments to the mother (principally from rent allowance) and your child will not see a penny of the increase. From the stories I've heard, the whole thing is a scam to try and get social welfare spending for lone parents down.
It's quite a sickenly cynical strategy, when you think about it.