Father narrowly avoids jail over failure to pay €7.50 per week maintenance

Judge warns man that ‘any lack of payment’ would amount to contempt of court

More than 75 cases were listed at the court, including numerous applications for payment of maintenance and maintenance arrears.

More than 75 cases were listed at the court, including numerous applications for payment of maintenance and maintenance arrears.

 

A father of two children ordered to pay €7.50 a week maintenance for each of them narrowly avoided being sent to jail at Bray District Court yesterday after failing to make the payments.

A bench warrant had issued for the man in June, Judge David Brennan was told, after he was ordered to make the payments from February. The judge had also told him to pay the money directly into his ex-partner’s bank account.

Yesterday, he appeared in court and swore he had been giving €60 a month straight to his ex-partner and didn’t owe any arrears. He’d been seeing the children once a month, he said, and had attended a family event, giving one child a gift of €50.

The mother, who had travelled from elsewhere in the country to attend yesterday, denied receiving any money. She asked why she would come all the way to Bray if she was getting the maintenance owed. She said her ex-partner hadn’t given a present to one of the children and didn’t even provide them with pocket money. Her bank statements did not show any payments.

“I haven’t received anything at all,” she told the judge.

Judge Brennan told the father he did not believe his story. He suggested a four-week prison sentence.

“Pardon?” the father said.

On examination of the papers, the judge noted enforcement proceedings had not issued and told the man he had “managed to stay out of prison”. He ordered him to pay €25 a week, to include arrears of €10, and to pay it through the bank. He adjourned the case to October and warned the father “any lack of payment” would amount to contempt of court.

The case was among more than 75 listed at the court, including numerous applications for payment of maintenance and maintenance arrears.

St Vincent de Paul

She said she had no money and the charity had provided a letter for the judge. Her estranged partner said he had been the principal carer for their children for some time. He had facilitated access so their mother could get accommodation from the local authority. She had been homeless, he said. He was getting a combined payment of €475 a week, including family income supplement.

The judge ordered he pay her €20 a week and said he would review the case in October.

In another application for maintenance, the judge ordered a social welfare report for two children after an estranged father claimed their mother was drunk on vodka while in charge of them.

The mother had brought an application for maintenance and the father had sought the resumption of access. She had claimed he had been drinking and smoking cannabis before access. The father gave an undertaking not to drink or use cannabis and Judge Brennan ordered that access be resumed.