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Husband enforcing maintenance against wife

I am probably unique in that I was granted maintenance against my ex-wife. The problem is that she won’t pay it. Is there a sure fire way to make her?

If this listener was granted maintenance against his ex-wife and her circumstances have changed – that she has become unemployed and is on Social Welfare – the Courts will not order her to pay on the simple basis that “you cannot get blood out of a stone”.

If on the other hand her circumstances have not changed and the maintenance is backed by a Court Order, the listener can apply to Court to have her committed for contempt of court and separately that her salary be “Garnisheed” – that is seized before it is paid to her and the employer ordered to send the money directly to this listener.

The District Court Family Law office has recently introduced a system for electronic funds transfer of maintenance. www.courts.ie

FOOTNOTE: The process of "Garnishee" of a debt (any debt and not just a family law maintenance obligation) usually requires a court order to be in place already. If the creditor (the person is owed the money) is not paid by the debtor (the one who owes) and it's discovered that the debtor him/herself is owed money from a third party then the creditor can seek an order from court ordering the third party to by-pass the debtor and pay the money directly to the creditor.

For example: If Johnny Subcontractor is owed €5,000.00 by BadPayer Builders Limited and Johnny sues and gets a judgment for his €5,000.00 and it remains unpaid- and Johnny then discovers that the company is about to receive payment from another party (let's say a big tax refund from the Revenue), Johnny will be entitled to get an order of Garnishee from the court directing the Revenue to pay Johnny the money he is owed in satisfaction of his judgment.

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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