Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys (pictured) has announced the launch of the consultation process that will feed into a review of the current arrangements governing child maintenance.
As part of the six-week consultation, stakeholders and members of the public are being invited to submit their views on the current treatment of child-maintenance payments and the obligations of liable relatives within the social protection system.
Report due this year
The Child Maintenance Review Group was set up last year to examine a number of issues regarding child maintenance within the social protection system. These include:
- The current treatment within the Department of Social Protection of child maintenance payments,
- The current provisions relating to the liable relatives regarding child maintenance,
- The issue of whether a dedicated agency for child maintenance should be established.
The group, chaired by former Circuit Court Judge Catherine Murphy, is due to submit its report to the minister later this year.
The deadline for submissions in Friday 26 March.
Under existing legislation, parents and certain categories of guardian or people acting in the place of parents, who may be liable under the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, are obliged to maintain their children.
In cases where the family unit has broken down, these obligations continue to apply.
Child-maintenance arrangements can be agreed directly between the parties themselves, or with the assistance of their solicitors, private mediators or supports, such as the Family Mediation Service, the Legal Aid Board, or ultimately through the courts.