In Irish law, when a couple marry, they take on a legal responsibility to care for one another emotionally and financially, as well as for any children involved in the marriage. This responsibility does not end with separation or divorce, and maintenance is the way in which financial provision continues in these situations.
Maintenance is usually agreed between couples as part of a separation agreement, judicial separation or divorce, and can be reviewed by the courts at any time at the request of either party, most commonly if their circumstances have changed.
Concerns around maintenance are often very stressful, and, unfortunately, few people are better off financially after a separation or divorce. However, working with an experienced solicitor can help to ensure that each person involved is provided for as well as possible, and can address issues personal to your own situation.
Maintenance payments will depend upon the income, financial commitments, earning capacity and financial responsibilities of the adults and children involved, and can be reviewed if any of these change. It is always advisable for the adults involved to reach an agreement between themselves, either through mediation or via their legal representatives, but if agreement cannot be reached, the courts will consider all aspects of the case and make a decision.
Maintenance may be paid in a lump sum, as part of a divorce settlement, and this may occur most commonly in cases where there are no children involved. However, it is usual for maintenance payments to be made weekly or monthly, from one party to the other, usually to the person who lives with the children and has daily care of them.
A maintenance order is legally binding and any breach of this will be referred back to the District Court.
Whether you are seeking a fair maintenance arrangement or you have been asked to agree to a maintenance order that you do not feel satisfied with, it is vital to seek advice from a family law solicitor who is experienced in these matters. Here at Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors, we have the experience and the expertise to represent your best interests, whatever your personal situation. You can make a confidential enquiry online, or contact us to make an appointment for a no obligation consultation.