Maintenance FAQ

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  • 1. Maintenance
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  • 1. My ex-partner/husband is extremely violent and abusive - will I still be required by the the Social Welfare Department to seek a maintenance order?
     

    There is a legal responsibility to maintain dependents. Dependents can include a partner/spouse and/or children. The Department of Social Welfare may request that you seek a maintenance order, but if you have significant health and safety concerns, these concerns should be communicated to the Department of Social Welfare. Each case will be accessed individually, and accommodations can be agreed. It is important that this information is communicated to the Department of Social Welfare. For more information see our Domestic Violence page.

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  • 2. Do I need a solicitor to apply for maintenance?
     

    An application for maintenance does not require the engagement of a solicitor. However, in advance of attending a matter in Court, it is advisable to seek legal advice. Everyone is entitled to represent themselves in court and someone without legal representation is referred to as a lay litigant. A lay litigant can present his/her case before the judge and/or respond to any application or summons issued against them.

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  • 3. Will my ex-partner have guardianship rights if he/she pays maintenance?
     

    Guardianship is a separate issue to maintenance and will require a separate application to the court. For further information see our guardianship page. Entitlement to child maintenance is not linked to guardianship.

     

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  • 4. Will I need to speak in court?
     

    Maintenance is assessed on the basis of the respondent’s ability to pay and not solely on the needs of the applicant. Both parties are required to submit to the court, a detailed list of all income and expenditure, this is called a 'Statement of Means'. The Judge will examine the financial circumstances and may need to ask both parties questions in relation to their 'Statement of Means'. Both parties can employ a solicitor to assist them with the process although this is not required by the courts.

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  • 5. Will I need to attend court?
     

    The Applicant (the person making the application) and the Respondent (the person against whom the application is made) need to attend court on the day of the hearing to make the application before the judge.

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  • 6. How long does the maintenance process take?
     

    An application to the District Court for maintenance can be concluded relatively quickly once all necessary documents have been returned to the court office. For further information on relevant documentation see our Maintenance Page. On receipt of the documentation the court office will issue a court date. The case will be heard in the family court which usually takes place every four to six weeks although this can vary between jurisdictions. Information on the frequency of the family law court dates in your area can be obtained from the local District Court.

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