How To Apply

Step 6
Attend court hearing

The maintenance summons is a command to the respondent to attend court on the date stated in the summons. This will be for a court hearing which will be held in private. You must also attend court on the date stated in the summons.

When the case is heard, both you and the respondent will be required to present your case to the judge.

Both you and the respondent should bring information about your financial circumstances to the court hearing. For example, the judge may want information about your:

  • Income such as income from employment, social welfare benefits, or other sources.
  • Assets such as information and valuations of land, property, vehicles, or other assets.
  • Expenditure such as household bills, loan repayments, the costs of raising children, or other expenses you have.
  • Supports for other people such as maintenance payments for other dependent children.

Both you and the respondent will get an opportunity to give evidence to the court and ask the other party any questions about their evidence. The judge may also ask additional questions. After hearing all of the evidence, the judge will then make a decision on the application. This is called a court order. In maintenance cases it is called a maintenance order.

If you fail to attend court, the case may be struck out by the judge. This means that the case will not go ahead and you will have to start the entire process again.

If the respondent fails to appear, you may ask the judge to issue a warrant to have the respondent arrested and brought to court. If the judge makes this order, the court office will send a warrant to the Gardaí. When the Gardaí bring the respondent before the court, the judge will set a new date to deal with the case. The court office will notify you of this new date.

More information on preparing for Family Law court >

In some cases where children are involved, a judge might want information about their welfare, safety, health and care. If a child is of sufficient age and maturity, they might also want to take their views on board. To get this information, the judge might decide that they need a report from an expert.

More information about reports about children >