FAMILY LAW (MAINTENANCE OF SPOUSES AND CHILDREN) ACT 1976


Number 11 of 1976


FAMILY LAW (MAINTENANCE OF SPOUSES AND CHILDREN) ACT 1976

REVISED

Updated to 18 January 2016


This Revised Act is an administrative consolidation of the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act 1976. It is prepared by the Law Reform Commission in accordance with its function under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 (3/1975) to keep the law under review and to undertake revision and consolidation of statute law.

All Acts up to and including International Protection Act 2015 (66/2015), enacted 30 December 2015, and all statutory instruments up to and including Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 12 of 2016), made 12 January 2016, were considered in the preparation of this Revised Act.

Disclaimer: While every care has been taken in the preparation of this Revised Act, the Law Reform Commission can assume no responsibility for and give no guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up to date nature of the information provided and does not accept any liability whatsoever arising from any errors or omissions. Please notify any errors, omissions and comments by email to

revisedacts@lawreform.ie.


Number 11 of 1976


FAMILY LAW (MAINTENANCE OF SPOUSES AND CHILDREN) ACT 1976

REVISED

Updated to 18 January 2016


Introduction

This Revised Act presents the text of the Act as it has been amended since enactment, and preserves the format in which it was passed.

Related legislation

This Act is not collectively cited with any other Act.

Annotations

This Revised Act is annotated and includes textual and non-textual amendments, statutory instruments made pursuant to the Act and previous affecting provisions.

An explanation of how to read annotations is available at

www.lawreform.ie/annotations.

Material not updated in this revision

Where other legislation is amended by this Act, those amendments may have been superseded by other amendments in other legislation, or the amended legislation may have been repealed or revoked. This information is not represented in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the amended legislation if one is available.

Where legislation or a fragment of legislation is referred to in annotations, changes to this legislation or fragment may not be reflected in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the legislation referred to if one is available.

A list of legislative changes to any Act, and to statutory instruments from 1999, may be found linked from the page of the Act or statutory instrument at

www.irishstatutebook.ie.

Acts which affect or previously affected this revision

Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (9/2015)

Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (40/2013)

Education and Training Boards Act 2013 (11/2013)

Jurisdiction of Courts and Enforcement of Judgments (Amendment) Act 2012 (7/2012)

Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 (23/2011)

Adoption Act 2010 (21/2010)

Fines Act 2010 (8/2010)

Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008 (14/2008)

Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (26/2005)

Health Act 2004 (42/2004)

Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 (31/2004)

Courts and Court Officers Act 2002 (15/2002)

Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002 (8/2002)

Children Act 1997 (40/1997)

Social Welfare Act 1997 (10/1997)

Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 (33/1996)

Domestic Violence Act 1996 (1/1996)

Family Law Act 1995 (26/1995)

Maintenance Act 1994 (28/1994)

Social Welfare Act 1993 (27/1993)

Criminal Justice Act 1993 (6/1993)

Social Welfare Act 1992 (5/1992)

Courts Act 1991 (20/1991)

Social Welfare Act 1990 (5/1990)

Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989 (6/1989)

Social Welfare Act 1989 (4/1989)

Jurisdiction of Courts and Enforcement of Judgments (European Communities) Act 1988 (3/1988)

Status of Children Act 1987 (26/1987)

Age of Majority Act 1985 (2/1985)

Family Law (Protection of Spouses and Children) Act 1981 (21/1981)

Courts Act 1981 (11/1981)

Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 1981 (1/1981)

Family Home Protection Act 1976 (27/1976

Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 (7/1964)

All Acts up to and including International Protection Act 2015 (66/2015), enacted 30 December 2015, were considered in the preparation of this revision.

Statutory instruments which affect or previously affected this revision

European Communities (Maintenance) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 612 of 2011)

European Communities (Maintenance) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 274 of 2011)

European Communities (Mediation) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 209 of 2011)

European Communities (Civil and Commercial Judgment) Regulations 2002 (S.I. No. 52 of 2002)

All statutory instruments up to and including Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 12 of 2016), made 12 January 2016, were considered in the preparation of this revision.


Number 11 of 1976


FAMILY LAW (MAINTENANCE OF SPOUSES AND CHILDREN) ACT 1976

REVISED

Updated to 18 January 2016


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

Preliminary and General

Section

1.

Short title.

2.

Commencement.

3.

Interpretation.

4.

Commencement of periodical payments.

PART II

Maintenance of Spouses and Dependent Children

5.

Maintenance order.

5A.

Maintenance order (provision for certain dependent children).

5B.

Maintenance order (liability of cohabitant to other cohabitant in respect of child of other cohabitant).

5C.

Maintenance order (liability of cohabitant to any person in respect of child of other cohabitant).

6.

Discharge, variation and termination of maintenance order.

7.

Interim order.

8.

Orders in respect of certain marital agreements.

8A.

Orders in respect of certain other agreements.

8B.

Preservation of pension entitlements in separation agreements.

9.

Transmission of payments through District Court clerk.

PART III

Attachment of Earnings

9A.

Failure to make payments to be contempt of court.

9B.

Certificate of outstanding payments.

10.

Attachment of earnings order.

11.

Compliance with attachment of earnings order.

12.

Application of sums received by District Court clerk.

13.

Statement as to earnings.

14.

Notification of changes of employment and earnings.

15.

Power to determine whether particular payments are earnings.

16.

Persons in service of State, local authority etc.

17.

Discharge, variation and lapse of attachment of earnings order.

18.

Cesser of attachment of earnings order.

19.

Provisions in relation to alternative remedies.

20.

Enforcement.

PART IV

Miscellaneous

21.

Property in household allowance.

21A.

Birth and funeral expenses of dependent child.

22.

Barring of spouse from family home.

23.

Jurisdiction of Courts.

24.

Payments to be without deduction of income tax.

25.

Conduct of Court proceedings.

26.

Costs.

27.

Voidance of certain provisions of agreements.

28.

Amendment of Illegitimate Children (Affiliation Orders) Act, 1930, and Courts Act, 1971.

29.

Amendment of Enforcement of Court Orders Act, 1940.

30.

Repeals.

Acts Referred to

Illegitimate Children (Affiliation Orders) Act, 1930

1930, No. 17

Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964

1964, No. 7

Maintenance Orders Act, 1974

1974, No. 16

Enforcement of Court Orders Act, 1940

1940, No. 23

Local Government Act, 1941

1941, No. 23

Harbours Act, 1946

1946, No. 9

Vocational Education Act, 1930

1930, No. 29

Agriculture Act, 1931

1931, No. 8

Statute of Limitations, 1957

1957, No. 6

Courts of Justice Act, 1924

1924, No. 10

Courts Act, 1971

1971, No. 36

Adoption Act, 1952

1952, No. 25

Married Women (Maintenance in case of Desertion) Act, 1886

1886, c. 52

Defence Act, 1954

1954, No. 18


Number 11 of 1976


FAMILY LAW (MAINTENANCE OF SPOUSES AND CHILDREN) ACT 1976

REVISED

Updated to 18 January 2016


AN ACT TO MAKE PROVISION FOR PERIODICAL PAYMENTS BY A SPOUSE FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE OTHER SPOUSE AND ANY DEPENDENT CHILDREN OF THE FAMILY OF THE SPOUSES IN CERTAIN CASES OF FAILURE BY THE SPOUSE TO PROVIDE REASONABLE MAINTENANCE, TO ENABLE PAYMENTS TO BE MADE BY AN EMPLOYER, BY DEDUCTIONS FROM AN EMPLOYEE’S EARNINGS, TO A PERSON ENTITLED UNDER CERTAIN COURT ORDERS TO PERIODIC PAYMENTS FOR MAINTENANCE FROM THE EMPLOYEE, TO PROVIDE FOR OTHER MATTERS CONNECTED WITH THE MATTERS AFORESAID AND TO AMEND IN OTHER RESPECTS THE LAW RELATING TO PARENTS AND CHILDREN. [6 th April, 1976]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

Annotations:

Modifications (not altering text):

C1

Application of Act modified (25.11.1995) by Maintenance Act 1994 (28/1994), s. 4(2)(a), S.I. No. 288 of 1995; as substituted (10.03.2012) by Jurisdiction of Courts and Enforcement of Judgments (Amendment) Act 2012 (7/2012), s. 2(1)(b), commenced on enactment.

Central Authority.

4.— ...

(2) [(a) For the purposes of section 8 of the Enforcement of Court Orders Act 1940 (as amended by section 63 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011), the Acts of 1976, 1995, 1996 and 1998, the Brussels I Regulation, and the 2007 Lugano Convention, the Central Authority shall have authority to act on behalf of a maintenance creditor or of a claimant (as defined in section 13(1)), and references therein to a maintenance creditor or to such a claimant shall be construed as including references to that Authority. ]

...

C2

Power of court to discharge order made under Act and continuance of orders under certain circumstances provided (27.02.1997) by Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 (33/1996), s. 26, commenced as per s. 1(2).

Orders under Acts of 1976, 1989 and 1995.

26.—(1) Where, while an order (“the first-mentioned order”), being—

(a) a maintenance order, an order varying a maintenance order, or an interim order under the Act of 1976,

...

is in force, an application is made to the court by a spouse to whom the first-mentioned order relates for an order granting a decree of divorce or an order under this Part, the court may by order discharge the first-mentioned order as on and from such date as may be specified in the order.

(2) Where, on the grant of a decree of divorce an order specified in subsection (1) is in force, it shall, unless it is discharged by an order under subsection (1), continue in force as if it were an order made under a corresponding provision of this Act and section 22 shall apply to it accordingly.

C3

Power of court to discharge order made under Act provided (1.08.1996) by Family Law Act 1995 (26/1995), s. 44, S.I. No. 46 of 1996.

Discharge of orders under Act of 1976

44.—Where, while a maintenance order, an order varying a maintenance order, or an interim order, under the Act of 1976 is in force, an application is made to the court by a spouse to whom the order aforesaid relates for an order granting a decree of judicial separation or an order under Part II or III, the court may by order discharge the order aforesaid under the Act of 1976 as on and from such date as may be specified in the order.

C4

Power of court to procure reports in family law proceedings prescribed (1.08.1996) by Family Law Act 1995 (26/1995), s. 47, S.I. No. 46 of 1996; as amended (27.02.1997) by Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 (33/1996), s. 52(p)(a), commenced as per s. 1(2); and amended (1.01.2005) by Health Act 2004 (42/2004), s. 75 and sch. 6 part 13, S.I. No. 887 of 2004.

Social reports in family law proceedings.

47.—(1) In proceedings to which this section applies, the court may, of its own motion or on application to it in that behalf by a party to the proceedings, by order give such directions as it thinks proper for the purpose of procuring a report in writing on any question affecting the welfare of a party to the proceedings or any other person to whom they relate from—

(a) such probation and welfare officer (within the meaning of the Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act, 1991) as the Minister for Justice may nominate,

[(b) such person nominated by the Health Service Executive specified in the order as the Health Service Executive may nominate, being a person who in its opinion is suitably qualified for the purpose, or ]

(c) any other person specified in the order.

...

(6) [This section ] applies to proceedings—

(b) under the Act of 1976,

...

C5

Venue in relation to certain jurisdictions of Circuit Court and District Court prescribed (12.05.1982) by Courts Act 1981 (11/1981), s. 16, commenced as per s. 33(3).

Venue in relation to certain jurisdictions of Circuit Court and District Court.

16.—(1) The jurisdiction under the Illegitimate Children (Affiliation Orders) Act, 1930, the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964, the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act, 1976, and section 5 of this Act conferred on the Circuit Court shall be exercised by the judge of the circuit where any party to the proceedings ordinarily resides or carries on any profession, business or occupation.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 79 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, and, as respects proceedings under the Illegitimate Children (Affiliation Orders) Act, 1930, section 2 of the latter Act, proceedings under the latter Act, the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964, and the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act, 1976, may be brought, heard and determined before and by a justice of the District Court for the time being assigned to the District Court district where any party to the proceedings ordinarily resides or carries on any profession, business or occupation.

Editorial Notes:

E1

Services provided under Act included in definition of “health and personal social services” (23.12.2004) by Health Act 2004 (42/2004), s. 2 and sch. 1, S.I. No. 886 of 2004.

E2

Circuit Court is to be known as the Circuit Family Court when exercising its jurisdiction to hear and determine proceedings under Act as provided (19.10.1989) by Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989 (6/1989), ss. 30 and 31, commenced as per s. 46(2).

E3

Obligation imposed on Circuit Family Court to hear and determine proceedings under Act in different places or at different times or on different days from those on which the ordinary sittings of the Circuit Court are held (19.10.1989) by Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989 (6/1989), ss. 30 and 32, commenced as per s. 46(2).

E4

Conduct of proceedings under Act in Circuit and High Courts required to be informal (19.10.1989) by Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989 (6/1989), ss. 30 and 33, commenced as per s. 46(2).

E5

Conduct of proceedings under Act in District Court required to be informal (19.10.1989) by Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989 (6/1989), s. 45, commenced as per s. 46(2).

E6

Previous affecting provisions: application of Act modified (25.11.1995) by Maintenance Act 1994 (28/1994), s. 4(2)(a), S.I. No. 288 of 1995; as amended (1.08.1996) by Family Law Act 1995 (26/1995), s. 45(b), S.I. No. 46 of 1996; and substituted (27.02.1997) by Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 (33/1996), s. 53(b), commenced as per s. 1(2); and substituted (1.12.1999) by Jurisdiction of Courts and Enforcement of Judgments Act 1998 (52/1998), s. 22(2), S.I. No. 353 of 1999; and substituted (1.03.2002) by European Communities (Civil and Commercial Judgment) Regulations 2002 (S.I. No. 52 of 2002), reg. 13(1)(b); and substituted as per C-note above.