The purpose of maintenance is to provide support to the former spouse and/or the children of the marriage. Whether it is paid by regular installments, or a lump sum, payment will be a matter for  agreement between the parties. If there is no agreement, a Judge will consider the income and assets of the husband and wife and decide on the appropriate level of maintenance.

It is important to obtain the advice of a solicitor when considering settlement proposals from the other party as the solicitor will be able to advise what is best for the long term especially where children are involved.

When considering settlement proposals a Court will consider:

  • The financial position of both parties
  • The earning capacity of the party providing the maintenance and whether that  income is regular
  • The conduct of the parties during their marriage
  • How long the couple were married
  • The best interests of the children
  • The proposals of the separation
  • Ages of the couple
  • The court may take into consideration other factors it considers important

Where to apply for maintenance

The process for making an application in the District Court is usually as follows:

  • Apply for a Free Legal Aid Certificate (if you are eligible) at
  • Engage a solicitor, thereby saving on time and, more importantly, avoiding errors in form filling.
  • Seek an order from the District Court, where the court office will send the maintenance order to the other party who will be compelled to comply

How long do maintenance orders or agreements last?

If it is maintenance for a former spouse, then the party may pay a lump sum or have to pay until the spouse remarries or passes away.

Where children are involved, maintenance is until they are 18, or until they are 23 if they are still at school or third level education – basically until they finish their education.