Government Must Implement Recommended Changes on Child Maintenance Urgently 

Government Must Implement Recommended Changes on Child Maintenance Urgently 

Government Must Implement Recommended Changes on Child Maintenance Urgently 


Wednesday 12th of July 2023 

Treoir welcomes the report on enforcement of court orders relating to Child Maintenance, Access and Custody by the Joint Committee on Justice and recommends that the government implements the recommendations as soon as possible.  

“Treoir were heartened to see that the committee listened to stakeholders in regard to how child maintenance is enforced in Ireland” Damien Peelo, CEO of Treoir said.  

“Treoir has long called for child maintenance to become a simpler, standardized process and that it should be in line with a Minimum Essential Standard of Living for children to reduce child poverty. Furthermore, child maintenance payments should be treated like Child Benefit and not be counted as means when accessing any public services.” 

The committee also emphasised that it is critical for a separate statutory child maintenance agency to be established that would be responsible for the assessment and enforcement of child maintenance orders. 

“This Committee’s recommendations address major issues facing parents and child maintenance right now. It removed the responsibility from the custodial parent, which is usually the mother, to chase the non-custodial parent for the money their children are owed. A lone parent, who are more likely to be living in poverty, will no longer be penalized for not seeking or enforcing maintenance orders anymore in relation to social welfare payments.” 

“At a time when lone parent families are more likely to be experiencing poverty and deprivation, the government should not be punishing the parent responsible for the day-to-day care of the child by denying their families services. It should be the state’s responsibility to enforce child maintenance payments, not the custodial parent’s. Regardless, it will be easier for the state to enforce these orders when the PPS number is linked to an attachment of earnings order and a penalty for non-payment is established.” 

“Secondly, having a separate agency to enforce child maintenance will reduce the number of parents who are trying to share parenting that will have to go to court. We already know that Family Court can increase conflict and make a co-parenting relationship more adversarial. This is especially true when maintenance orders often must be amended due to the changes circumstances of one parent and maintenance court orders are poorly enforced which can cause frustration. This conflict can have a serious impact on the well-being of the children involved, as well as cause a huge amount of stress for both parents. If a separate agency was established and orders were linked to PPS numbers, there would be less confusion and more fairness in the system. Taking child maintenance out of the Court system would reduce parents being forced to go to court and which would promote shared parenting.” 

“Finally, currently we have a serious issue in Ireland in relation to child poverty in lone-parent households. We are also still seeing in some Family Courts, parents waiting months for a court date because of the lack of judges. We welcome the committee’s call for there to be increased investment in more judges and alternative dispute resolution. Treoir has seen the benefit of these mechanisms through its own Let’s Work it Out shared parenting and conflict resolution programme, where parents reported improved well-being in their children. programme. In the meantime, a separate child maintenance agency would speed up the process of parents receiving the money they are already owed and take some of the pressure off the Courts.” 


For press interviews, please contact Sinéad Murray, Communications, Membership, Information Officer / 085 850 4710.  

Treoir is a membership organisation made up of 26 different organisations around Ireland. See the complete list here: