Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 are consequential on amendment No. 12. Amendment No. 13 is related. Amendment No. 12 is consequential on amendment No. 7. Nos. 1, 2, 7, 12 and 13 can be discussed together by agreement. Recommittal is necessary in respect of amendment No. 12 since it involves new matter of substance which does not effectively arise out of Committee proceedings. As it is proposed that amendment No. 1 and related amendments be taken with amendment No. 12, recommittal should take place on amendment No. 1.
Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Bill, 1975: Report Stage.
I move amendment No. 1:
In page 4, lines 1 and 2, to delete "for maintenance and education of a child under section 3 of" and to substitute "providing for a periodical payment under".
We are discussing with No. 1 Nos. 2, 7, 12 and 13.
Nos. 1, 2, 7, 12 and 13 together by agreement.
They are all cognate. The substantive amendments in that group are amendments Nos. 7 and 12. I will refer at the outset to amendments Nos. 7 and 12 so that the House will see what is involved.
The purpose of amendment No. 7 is to extend to illegitimate children the age extensions provided for legitimate children. Henceforth in proceedings for maintenance of illegitimate children under the Affiliation Act of 1930 they will be placed in the same position as legitimate children. In other words, the normal maximum age of dependency will be 16 years but an extension may be granted up to 21 years in cases where the child is receiving full-time education or instruction and in cases of disability without any maximum age limit. It was pointed out in the Special Committee that illegitimate children were being discriminated against in this regard. This amendment is to put affiliation orders on the same footing as maintenance orders. This is the central amendment of this present group.
However, we cannot just stop there because if we do not make further amendments to the 1930 Act serious differences will be perpetuated between the procedures for maintenance of legitimate and illegitimate children and accordingly some substantial changes have been proposed in relation to the 1930 Act and these have involved some quite complex drafting because, of course, the 1930 Act did not contemplate any changes on these lines.
Now if I may turn to amendment No. 12, it is fair to say that the length of the amendment demonstrates the kind of difficulty involved in amending the 1930 Act. Ideally, the 1930 Act would be drafted completely de novo but that would have delayed the present Bill and in any event is a matter which would fall more properly to be considered in the case of a comprehensive review of the law in relation to illegitimate children. I move to report progress.