Dáil debates

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Child Maintenance Payments

11:30 am

Photo of Claire KerraneClaire Kerrane (Roscommon-Galway, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I take it from that that the Minister will examine our proposals. I am happy to furnish her with a copy of them. They have been published twice in recent years.

There are two issues with child maintenance. First, where those payments are actually made, they are viewed as household means for many social welfare supports. That is wrong and the Minister needs to examine the matter. Child maintenance should be viewed as a payment towards the child's upbringing, not as household means for social welfare supports that are badly needed by lone parent families.

Second, the Minister mentioned the liable relative in her response. The liable relative is pursued by her Department when recouping costs under the one-parent family payment, but he or she is not pursued for child maintenance. The issue is firmly left with the Courts Service, which is no place for a lone parent. Nine times out of ten, lone parents will not even bother going down the court route because they do not want to be in the court system. There are no statutory guidelines on how maintenance should be paid. It is left up to the judge on the day. If the non-custodial parent does not pay the maintenance order, it is on the lone parent to pursue the matter. That is too much for a lone parent. We need to support lone parent families.


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