There is a legal responsibility for both Spouses to maintain each other and any dependent members of their family in accordance with their means.
Informal agreements can be reached regarding maintenance between the parties. If an arrangement cannot be agreed then either the matter can be worked through by virtue of the Mediation Services or in the alternative an Application will have to be made to Court.
If parties cannot agree upon maintenance either party can apply to the Courts for a Maintenance Order. This Application can be made through either the District Court or the Circuit Court or the High Court.
Maintenance can be ordered to be paid to a Spouse for their own benefit or for the benefit of a child who is under the age of eighteen or twenty three if the child is in full time education.
If a child has a mental or physical disability to such a degree that it would not be possible for that child to maintain him or herself, then there is no age limit for seeking maintenance for their support.
Each party is under an obligation to disclose in full their finances to the Court. The Judge has to consider all of the family’s circumstances, assets, income etc. when making a Maintenance Order.
Maintenance in a Non Marital Relationship
In a non marital relationship a party is not entitled to claim maintenance for themselves from the other party. However an Application can be made to Court to order a parent to provide maintenance for a dependant child.