District Court Rules

FAMILY

ORDER 54

MAINTENANCE OF SPOUSES AND CHILDREN

Definitions

1. In this Order—

“the Act” means the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act, 1976 (No 11 of 1976);

“the Act of 1987” means the Status of Children Act, 1987 (No 26 of 1987); “the Act of 1995” means the Family Law Act, 1995 (No 26 of 1995);

“the Act of 1996” means the Family Law (Divorce) Act, 1996 (No 33 of 1996);

“Act of 2015” means the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (No 9 of 2015);

“competent authority” has the meaning assigned to it in Order 98.

Venue

2. (1) Subject to the provisions of Order 41B, proceedings under the Act may be brought, heard or determined at any sitting of the Court for the court area where either party to the proceedings ordinarily resides or carries on any profession, business or occupation.

(2) Where however the Clerk, having consulted the Judge for the time being assigned to the district within which such area is situate, certifies on a summons or a notice of application that the proceedings are urgent, the summons or notice may be issued for, and the proceedings may be heard and determined at, any sitting of the Court in that district.

Hearing to be otherwise than in public

3. Proceedings under the Act shall be heard otherwise than in public and only officers of the Court, the parties and their legal representatives, witnesses (subject to the provisions of Order 8, rule 2) and such other persons as the Judge in his or her discretion shall allow, shall be permitted to be present at the hearing.

Applications for maintenance orders

4. (1) An application for a maintenance order under section 5(1)(a) or 5(1)(b) of the Act shall be preceded by the issue and service upon the respondent of a summons in the Form 54.1 or 54.2 Schedule C, as appropriate.

(2) An application for a maintenance order under section 5A(1) or 5A(2) of the Act (inserted by section 18 of the Act of 1987) shall be preceded by the issue and service upon the respondent of a summons in the Form 54.3 or 54.4 Schedule C, as appropriate.

(3) The order of the Court granting such application shall be in the Form 54.5, 54.6, 54.7 or 54.8 Schedule C, as appropriate.

(4) An application for a maintenance order under section 5B(2) of the Act (inserted by section 73 of the Act of 2015) shall be preceded by the issue and service upon the respondent of a summons in the Form 54.30, Schedule C. The order of the Court granting such application shall be in the Form 54.31, Schedule C.

(5) An application for a maintenance order under section 5C(2) of the Act (inserted by section 73 of the Act of 2015) shall be preceded by the issue and service upon the respondent of a summons in the Form 54.32, Schedule C. The order of the Court granting such application shall be in the Form 54.33, Schedule C.

Application to discharge maintenance

5. An application by a maintenance debtor for the discharge of a maintenance order under section 6(1)(a) of the Act or for the discharge of part of such order under section 6(3) of the Act shall be preceded by the issue and service upon the maintenance creditor of a summons in the Form 54.9, Schedule C. The order of the Court granting the application shall be in the Form 54.10, Schedule C.

Application to discharge or vary order

6. An application by either party to the proceedings under section 6(1)(b) of the Act to discharge or vary a maintenance order made by the District Court shall be preceded by the issue and service upon the other party of a summons in the Form 54.11, Schedule C. The order of the Court granting the application shall be in the Form 54.12, Schedule C.

Interim order

7. An interim order made by the Court under section 7 of the Act shall be in the Form 54.13, Schedule C.

Application for lump sum order for birth/funeral expenses

8. An application by a spouse or parent under section 21A(1) of the Act (inserted by section 21 of the Act of 1987) for a lump sum order in respect of the expenses incidental to the birth or funeral of a dependent child shall be preceded by the issue and service upon the other spouse or parent, as the case may be, of a summons in the Form 54.14, Schedule C. The order of the Court granting the application shall be in the Form 54.15, Schedule C.

Clerk to send copy of order

9. (1) Where the Court makes a maintenance order, an order varying, discharging or discharging part of such order, an interim order or a lump sum order in respect of the birth or funeral expenses of a dependent child, the Clerk shall give to, or send by registered prepaid post to the maintenance debtor or to the respondent party (as the case may be) a copy of the order so made.

(2) A copy of an order mentioned in sub-rule (1) given or sent to a maintenance debtor shall have endorsed on it, or be accompanied by a notice containing the following statement:

“This order is made by the District Court. If you the maintenance debtor fail to make a payment due under this order, you may be liable to imprisonment for contempt of court.

In certain limited circumstances (including a material change of circumstances since the order was made or last varied), the District Court can vary the terms of this order. If you believe that such circumstances arise and are concerned that you may not be able to comply with the terms of this order and would like to apply for a variation, you should consult a solicitor or contact the District Court Clerk at...”.

Application for direction that payments be made to Clerk

10. An application under section 9(1)(b) of the Act for a direction that payments under a maintenance order, a variation order or an interim order be made to the Clerk shall be made ex parte. Notice of such application in the Form 54.16, Schedule C, signed by the maintenance creditor or by his or her solicitor, shall be lodged with the Clerk at least 48 hours prior to the date of the intended application. The order of the Court granting the application shall be in the Form 54.17, Schedule C.

Payments to the Clerk

11. (1) Where the Court directs that payments under a maintenance order, a variation order or an interim order shall be made to the Clerk, such Clerk shall send a notice in the Form 54.18, Schedule C by prepaid ordinary post to the maintenance debtor indicating the place at which and the days and hours during which payments under the order should be made.

(2) The Clerk shall give a receipt to the maintenance debtor for each payment made by him or her and shall transmit such payment to the maintenance creditor or, if authorised in writing by the maintenance creditor so to do, the Clerk may transmit the payment to the competent authority.

Application to discharge direction

12. An application under section 9(3) of the Act by a maintenance debtor to have a direction under section 9(1) of the Act discharged shall be preceded by the issue and service upon the maintenance creditor of a summons in the Form 54.19, Schedule C. The order of the Court granting the application shall be in the Form 54.20, Schedule C.

Recovery of arrears by Clerk

13. (1) Where payments to the Clerk under a maintenance order, a variation order or an interim order are in arrears, and such Clerk receives a request in writing in the Form 54.21, Schedule C from the maintenance creditor to take such steps as he or she considers reasonable to recover such arrears, such Clerk may make application under section 10 of the Act for an attachment of earnings order or under section 8 of the Enforcement of Court Orders Act 1940 (in accordance with the provisions of Order 56 or 57, as the case may be).

(2) Where payments referred to in sub-rule (1) are in arrears and the Clerk has received no request to recover the arrears, such Clerk may in his or her discretion, having considered the extent of the arrears and any other relevant matter, notify the maintenance creditor of the means of enforcement available in respect of the order.

Service of summonses

14. (1) A summons required by this Order to be served may be served upon the person to whom it is directed in accordance with the provisions of Order 41 at least 14 days before the date of the sitting of the Court to which the summons is returnable.

(2) Save where service has been effected by the Clerk, the original of every such summons served, together with a statutory declaration as to service thereof, shall be lodged with the Clerk at least two days before the said date of hearing.

Rules to apply to orders for maintenance pending suit etc.

15. Where the Clerk receives a copy—

(a) of an order for maintenance pending suit, of a periodical payments order or of a secured periodical payments order made under the Act of 1995, or of any such order as aforesaid as affected by an order under section 18 of the Act of 1995,

(b) of an order for maintenance pending suit, of a periodical payments order or a secured periodical payments order made under the Act of 1996 or of any such order as aforesaid as affected by an order under section 22 of the Act of 1996,

from the Registrar of the Court which made that order, and payments under the order are directed to be made to the District Court Clerk (as provided for in section 20 of the Act of 1995 and in section 28 of the Act of 1996), such Clerk shall register particulars of the order and shall proceed in relation thereto as if it were a maintenance order made at a sitting of the District Court for the district court area to which that Clerk is assigned.

Orders to secure payments

16. Where the Court has made an order providing for periodical payments by way of support or maintenance by a maintenance debtor to a maintenance creditor, an application may be made to the Court on a date subsequent to the date on which such order is made pursuant to the provisions of section 41 of the Act of 1995 by any person having an interest in the proceedings to secure the said payments to the maintenance creditor. Such application shall be preceded by the issue and service of a notice in the Form 54.22, Schedule C. The order of the Court granting such application shall be in the Form 54.23, Schedule C.

Lump sum orders

17. Where, under the powers conferred by section 42 of the Act of 1995, an order is made in the District Court providing for the making of a lump sum payment or lump sum payments the order of the Court shall be in the Form 54.24, 54.25, 54.26, or 54.27, Schedule C as the case may be.

Stay on certain orders the subject of appeal

18. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Order 25, rule 9(4) and Order 101, and that an appellant has entered into a recognizance of appeal, an appeal from an order under—

(i) section 11(2)(b) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964, (No.7 of 1964),

(ii) section 5, 5A or 7 of the Act

shall, if the Court so determines (but not otherwise), stay the operation of the order.

(2) An application to the Court to stay the operation of an order such as is mentioned in sub-rule (1), may be made following the service and lodgment of a notice of appeal and lodgment of the recognizance for appeal and when made otherwise than upon the occasion of the making of those orders shall be preceded by the issue of a notice in the Form 54.28 which shall be served upon the respondent to the application two days before the hearing of the application. The order of the Court granting the stay shall be in the Form 54.29.

Report under section 47 of the Act

19. (1) An application to the Court by a party to make an order giving directions 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 may be included in writing in the summons, or made at the hearing.

(2) Where the Court grants an application for an order mentioned in sub-rule (1), or makes such an order of its own motion, the order requisitioning the report shall be in the Form 58.50, Schedule C.

[SI 17/16]

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