Child Support or maintenance are court-ordered payments. The support is often made by a parent who does not have custody of the child. It goes toward the cost of raising the child. Child support cases are not new to Kenya, a number of cases involving prominent politicians have made for big news.
Any parent, guardian or custodian of a child may apply to court to determine any matter relating to the maintenance of the child. Further, one may make an order to prompt a specified person to make payment for the maintenance of a child.
The law makes the following presumptions regarding maintenance of a child if:-
- The parents of a child were married to each other at the time of the birth of the child and are both living.
- Two or more guardians/custodians of the child have been appointed, the duty to maintain the child shall be their joint responsibility. Whether acting in conjunction with the parents of the child or not.
- There is a residence order made in favour of more than one person, it shall be the duty of those persons to jointly maintain the child.
- The parents of a child were not married to each other at the time of birth of the child and have not subsequently married, but the father of the child has acquired parental responsibility for the child. It shall be the joint responsibility of the mother and father of the child to maintain that child.
An 18-year-old may, with the leave of the court, apply for a maintenance order under the following circumstances if :-
- That person is responsible for paying for their education and training beyond the person’s 18th birthday.
- The person is disabled and requires specialised care which will extend beyond the person’s eighteenth birthday.
- Or the individual is suffering from an illness or ailment and will require medical care which will extend beyond the person’s eighteenth birthday.
- Any other special circumstances exist which would warrant the making of the order.
The court has power to make a maintenance order, whether or not the child’s parent has filed for divorce or separation.
The court may require stepparents to provide financially. However, the courts shall consider the following circumstances:-
- The income or earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the parties.
- The financial needs, obligations, or responsibilities which each party has or is likely to have.
- The financial needs of the child and the child’s current circumstances.
- The income or earning capacity, if any, property and other financial resources of the child.
- Any physical or mental disabilities, illness or medical condition of the child.
- The child’s education or training.
- The circumstances of any of the child’s siblings.
- The customs, practices and religion of the parties and the child.
- Whether the stepparent has assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the child. If so, the extent to which and the basis of that responsibility.
- Whether the stepparent assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the child knowing the child was not his child.
- The liability of any other person to maintain the child.
- The liability of that person to maintain other children.