In This Section:

Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010

03 September, 2010

The bill proposes a new process whereby failure to make maintenance payments, in default of an existing maintenance order, can result in summonsing a maintenance debtor before a judge to explain their failure to pay and such debtors could be held in contempt of court

A Judge will be able to impose the sanction of imprisonment on maintenance debtors who refuse to adhere to existing maintenance orders. In addition, this will afford an opportunity to a maintenance debtor to explain to the Judge any hardship that he or she may be experiencing and may result in a variation of such an order

Speaking on its publication, Minister Ahern said:

“One issue being addressed by the Bill is an amendment to the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act 1976. This amendment will de-couple family law maintenance debt from civil debt in general. The proposed amendment to the law is based on the premise that a court has already deliberated in setting an appropriate level of maintenance and that if the debtor breaches that order without a significant change in his or her circumstances, that breach will constitute contempt of court and can be punished by imprisonment.”