Parents really struggle with understanding how to come to an agreement around how much child maintenance should be paid and what to do if it is not paid

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Parents really struggle with understanding how to come to an agreement around how much child maintenance should be paid and what to do if it is not paid

One Family- Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating today released the results of a national survey of parents in relation to child maintenance. The launch comes as the charity launches its new child maintenance position paper.


Karen Kiernan, CEO explains: “We know from our services and particularly calls to our national helpline, askonefamily; that parents really struggle with understanding how to come to an agreement around how much child maintenance should be paid and what to do if it is not paid.  Nearly half of the respondents who are the primary carers of the children do not receive any child maintenance at all, whilst most people have had to resort to court to come to agreement.”


Of the 1,068 respondents to the survey 58% resorted to court order to agree child maintenance, while 42% of the parents who are primary carers do not receive any child maintenance. However, 75% of those who do receive payments reported that they are paid regularly. When it comes to agreeing how much parents should be paid only 9% of respondents said it was determined by the needs of the child.


Kiernan added :“We are launching our new position paper on the thorny issue of child maintenance as for too long governments have ignored it, happy to leave it to parents and courts to battle things out. This is not working for anyone as children and parents can end up financially worse off or abused, our courts are jammed delivering maintenance orders that they cannot enforce, and we are again decades behind our neighbours across Europe.”

What we need is a statutory child maintenance agency as part of a comprehensive Court Welfare Service that can determine appropriate levels to be paid in a fair child-centred way; that has the ability to ensure that children and families actually receive the maintenance and removes this issue from our adversarial courts system.”