Child law submission

22/09/2022

The Law Society has made a detailed submission on enforcement of court orders relating to child maintenance, access and custody.

Leinster House Ireland - Child Law Submission

Response to Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice

The submission, made at the invitation of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, sets out the Society's position on five questions posed by the Committee:

  1. "What is the impact of unpaid maintenance?",
  2. "What are the complexities involved in court orders?",
  3. "How effective are these orders?",
  4. "What steps could be taken to remedy these issues?", and
  5. "What are your views on a child maintenance agency to deal with these issues separate from the court system?"

Summary of recommendations

The submission also sets out key recommendations for reform, including:

  • increasing the use of the award of costs provision to alleviate the financial burden on lone parents when seeking payment of maintenance owed and to act as a penalty for the respondent party,

  • maximising the reliefs available under the Children and Family Relationship Act 2015 where there have been consistent breaches of access orders,

  • introducing guidelines to assist in determining appropriate maintenance contributions,

  • establishing set penalties for breaching court orders relating to child maintenance, access and custody, and

  • establishing a State Child Maintenance Agency to assist in issues relating to child maintenance.

For more information, read the Submission on enforcement of court orders relating to child maintenance, access and custody.