Seperation maintenance orders push men below subsistence line

The first major survey of Ireland's Circuit Courts, where 98pc of judicial separation and divorce cases are heard, also reveals that the "standard access" for married dads to their children after separation is "a couple of hours" every second week – with a few hours once or twice during the week.

The four-year study, approved by the Department of Justice and funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC), has exposed a series of injustices in Ireland's overburdened family law system, with judges – interviewed for the first time – requesting training to deal with young children, parental conflict and help for huge caseloads that are leading to "intense pressure" to settle cases.

Judicial Separation and Divorce in the Circuit Court, a study of almost 1,100 cases including 187 anonymous family law case reports, reveals that the courts do not use any set criteria or formulae to determine maintenance payments.

The study, which has been seen by the Irish Independent, showed:

Roisin O'Shea, the award-winning researcher who carried out the study, said that the courts were at risk of "setting men up to not be able to pay" their child maintenance because of the speed in which cases are heard and a failure by the justice system to examine ability to pay.

Read more at the Irish Independent.

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