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Child maintenance

  • 20-08-2021 8:43pm
    Registered Users Posts: 15

    Hi all.

    My adult sister several years ago became severely disabled due to a Brain injury. She is in residential care. At the time of my sisters Injury my sister had a partner and teenager daughter. To cut a very long story short my niece is and has been since my sister Injury been living with her father. My sister receives a disability payment from social welfare which we as her family manage. Tho my niece is financially taken care of out of her mother payment up until now no child maintenance has been paid to my nieces father. I am a single parent of a 20 year old and I have received child maintenance from my daughters father until my daughter went Into employment so I appreciate the circumstances regarding child support . I have expressed to other family members how I feel my nieces father deserved child support for the years my sister was not present in their household and I've been met with mix reactions mainly from my parents.

    I am just wondering what are others options on this subject?

    We have tried hard to use my sisters money productively and my niece wants for nothing, without spoiling her rotten which we can't do because it won't set her up in life she has been well taken care of and if in the future she want anything it can be catered for by her mother but I feel this is different then the everyday maintenance of taking care of a child and should be viewed differently and child maintenance should still be considered..

    Post edited by Niamh on


  • Registered Users Posts: 35 BettyBlue22

    I'm not sure I really understand your question. You mention your sister's disability benefit and also that your niece has been financially supported through these funds, though assumedly not with regular payments that could be called child maintenance.

    Is your sister's residential unit place privately funded?

    Is your niece's father looking for retrospective support for her maintenance costs?

    I think you may have condensed the story a little bit too much here.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,753 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    It's up to the father to look for maintenance if he feels he needs it. Life took a very unfortunate turn for your sister which as a result changed her earning power and the amount of disposable income she has.

    Luckily your niece still has 1 parent capable of maintaining her and from what you say your niece wants for nothing.

    Basically, this is not your concern. Family circumstances change for lots of people for lots of reasons. Your niece hasn't been neglected and forgotten about. Your ex is obviously still in a position to continue supporting his child. Your sister isn't in the same situation, nor is the child's father looking for it, from what I can gather.

    Your situation is different to your sister's. Entirely different. Cannot be compared.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,543 ✭✭✭✭osarusan

    The father seems to be handling things well by himself. If he doesn't ask for it I'd say just leave it alone.

    Maybe suggest to your family that you could set something aside so that when the daughter wants a mortgage or whatever, that you'll be able to contribute.

    Post edited by osarusan on

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,254 ✭✭✭Tork

    There's a lot more to this than meets the eye, isn't there? I find it weird that your family has such an input into the financial affairs of another one. Maybe it's coloured by the tragedy of what happened to your sister but still, it all sounds a bit too overbearing for my liking. Why is your sister's partner not the one taking care of all things relating to her? Is he OK with you wanting to intrude like this? There's something you're not telling us here, isn't there?

    Post edited by Tork on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13

    There’s a few things that I’m not clear on:

    does your sister’s brain injury mean that she’s not able to control her own finances?

    is she still together with her partner?

    why are your parents/family seemingly in control of your sister’s finances, as opposed to her partner (if she’s unable to do so herself)?

    did your sister receive a lump sum payout, and is this how money has been paid towards her daughter’s upkeep?

    is her daughter an adult now?

    why are you trying to advocate for her partner, has he or his daughter requested that you do this?

    if her daughter ‘wants for nothing’, why do you want to divert funds that are, I presume, used to aid your sister in assisted living?

    surely your situation is incredibly different from your sister’s - why are you trying to equate the two?

    did her daughter or partner pressure you to push you parents to release funds meant for your sister as some form of backdated child support?

    I’d be incredibly cautious about diverting funds for someone with high needs towards a daughter who ‘wants for nothing’, unless her partner is about to be evicted and her daughter is not an adult. I strongly think you should reconsider this one. Are you prepared to be a full time carer for your sister if her condition worsens, or her funds run out?

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I hope at the very least Child Benefit was transferred to your niece's father?

    Did you sister's payment include an increase for a child dependant?

  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    If your sister is in residential care then she can't manage her own affairs presumably. Any lump sum or settlement from an accident is intended for the use of the person injured. So while a big pay out might have been awarded, the fees of residential care, specialist medical care, or long term care put a massive dent in those. If your sister requires more complex medical support in years to come as she gets older, (which is very common with incapacitated people) those funds need to be there to give her the care she needs.

    It looks like your niece is provided for by her family, as you say she wants for nothing. So there might be an argument for your incapacitated sister to pay CM if the dad was struggling, but he's not. And he's not indicated that he wants or needs anything from your sisters finances, has he? Unless there's a back story or I've misread your OP, it's really up to him to seek it. He may not need it, or feel that your sister needs the money more. Your OP is a bit confusing in that you say your niece was taken care of with her mother's payment but her mother never paid towards her keep - clearing that contradiction up might help clarify the advice you get.

    So in that case, the only thing I'd probably suggest is looking into the possibility of provision being made for the niece in a will, either through a direct inheritance or a trust fund or whatever for any surplus funds after your sister passes away.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭1874

    What I dont understand is why the father (presumably not married as the OP says partner) was not in control of the finances of the adult sister in care? when he was the primary care giver of the child? maybe it was because they werent married? and the family wanted to manage continued care. The intent may have been well meaning, but it highlights something that seems like it is out of place, but maybe there was no better way to manage things if they weren't married.

  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    If unmarried it means that he wouldn't be her legal next of kin and therefore has zero say legally in her care or her finances.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭1874

    People/couples seem to get treated as spouses if cohabiting for other purposes, although I can see if they are not the legal next of kin in this case why. Cant see why they wouldnt have gotten maintenance though? maybe the OP just wasn't told? or Maybe it was better for all if the father applied and sought what they could get officially and left anything else for the partners care.

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