Parents able to apply for maintenance

Either parent of a child, and even grandparents and other guardians, will be able to apply for maintenance for their charges under an amended Maintenance Act.

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite gave that assurance in the House of Assembly today while moving the Second Reading of the Maintenance (Amendment) Bill 2014.

Adriel Brathwaite
Adriel Brathwaite

“There are many families where the child is raised by the grandmother or aunt or any relative and they can also benefit from maintenance,” he said.

The St Philip South MP took the opportunity to remind fathers of the roles they needed to play in their children’s lives.

“We accept that, as a society, there are many single-parent households and we must remind fathers of their responsibility which goes beyond paying money for the child. It is about being a father. When you drill down into the experience of many young men, that male guidance is missing. We want to encourage all fathers to be fathers even if the relationship with the mother has ended. There is something about the male bond that is innate,” he said.

Brathwaite recalled a concern repeatedly expressed by the Men’s Educational Support Association that fathers were asked to pay maintenance but were being deprived of access to their children.

“Over the years we have been called upon to address that issue, to ensure that there is equal access to children. Assuming that this Bill is passed today, the question of access to the children will be addressed naturally by the court,” he said.

“What we are providing is that where this [maintenance] order is being sought, the question of access to the child is addressed at the same time. This has been a complaint across Barbados for many years. Access to children has been addressed in this Bill.”

During his presentation, the Attorney General also lamented that there were mothers who did not know the correct names of their children’s fathers or even who the fathers were.

Addressing the paternity issue, he said: “With the advent of DNA testing, Government is making it easier by ensuring that the cost would be shared by both parties. I know first-hand of a case where a gentleman was paying maintenance of a son for 14 years, and because of a default in paying up the maintenance a test was done and it was shown that he was not the father. There are, unfortunately, many incidences where paternity is an issue.”

The Attorney General suggested that future amendments to the Maintenance Act should examine whether children who can afford it should look after their parents who are destitute.

Brathwaite also suggested that in an era of mass movement within the region, the Maintenance Act should be amended to cover children of non-nationals who returned to their homelands.

The Maintenance (Amendment) Bill 2014 was passed tonight.

9 Responses to Parents able to apply for maintenance

  1. Amanda Nurse
    Amanda Nurse November 8, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Very good, Adriel!

  2. Martin Jackman
    Martin Jackman November 8, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Why is it that whenever there is a discussion on maintenance of children fathers are always seen as the only ones guilty of not being supportive of their kids, don’t anyone see the many mothers out there who fail to take care of their children, who drop them off at grandma, auntie or daddy and never look back ……..

    • Nicholas Lucas
      Nicholas Lucas November 8, 2014 at 10:48 am

      I always ask the same thing it seems women can do no wrong.

    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner November 8, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Nicolas and Martin both of ya all correct but feminist would like to make us believe women are nuns and angels.

    • Martin Jackman
      Martin Jackman November 8, 2014 at 11:51 am

      One of the questions that crossed my mind when reading this article is how come either parent can apply for this maintenance but fathers cannot go to lower courts and apply for the maintenance. What message is being sent here ?

    • Martin Jackman
      Martin Jackman November 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Were will this money come from ? Will government be seeking to make all those who are delinquent pay, whether mother or father, and if so how ?

  3. John Drakes
    John Drakes November 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    so wa gonna happen to de mothers who dont support dem own? can de fathers then apply too using the same process as mothers?

  4. John Drakes
    John Drakes November 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    that mesa group every damn year talk he same rubbish about men applying for maintenance, and year after year nothing is done, is this de change that levels the field for both mothers and fathers that do their parts alone? or people still think only fathers run from support?

  5. Cardinal Hinds
    Cardinal Hinds November 8, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    …naturally he says, where is the clause for those gals who commit paternity fraud something that could of helped Adriel’s same male friend. More women voters than men, fellas.


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