Maintenance for the spouse
Maintenance is a form of support paid by one spouse to the other. In Ireland, spouses are legally responsible for maintaining each other according to their means. Generally, spousal maintenance is required in situations where one spouse relies on the other financially, and/or when one's income differs significantly from the other's. Courts will consider both parties' financial needs when making spousal maintenance orders.
Maintenance for children
In Ireland, parents of dependent children, married or unmarried, have a legal duty to maintain them. Maintenance can be paid regularly (weekly or monthly) or in lump sums. A parent in Ireland cannot be granted access or guardianship rights simply by paying maintenance.
Separated parents can make informal agreements regarding maintenance. There are instances in which this works well where both parties are reasonable and fair - but determining how much maintenance should be paid informally can be difficult. Mediation may provide parents with the help they need to come to a satisfactory arrangement. Each side can also engage their own legal counsel to negotiate an agreement. After both parties have signed this agreement, it can later be made a rule of court. These agreements are considered rules of court and have the same effect as maintenance orders. Even informal agreements can include a property transfer or a lump sum payment, but it does not rule out later applications for maintenance.
A maintenance order can be sought by either party if the parties cannot agree on maintenance. It is possible to file a maintenance application in either the District or Circuit Court.To make a maintenance application, both parties must disclose their finances to the court by Affidavit of Means and the judge will consider all of the family's circumstances, including the needs of the child/children.