How To File For Child Support in Kenya: Child support, also known as child maintenance, is court-ordered payments that go towards the upkeep of a child. Child support is usually paid by the non-custodial parent. Here is a look at some of the principles behind getting child support in Kenya.
According to the Kenyan constitution, Article 53, a child has the right to receive parental care and protection. This includes equal responsibility for the father and mother to provide for their child regardless of whether they are married or not. Some of the organizations that can help you file for child support include the National Legal Aid Programme (NALEAP), The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), and CLEAR, an initiative of the Kenya Christian Lawyers Fellowship.
Any parent, custodian, or guardian of a child can file for child support. The following are some of the considerations that the court will make before granting an order for child support:
- The financial needs, responsibilities, or obligations of each party
- The earning capacity or income, property, or financial resources of each party
- The child’s circumstances and their financial needs
- The child’s training or education
- Any mental or physical disabilities, medical conditions, or illnesses of the child
- The religion, custom, and practices of the parties
- The liability of other persons to support the child e.g. the liability of the stepparent or guardian
The process of filing for child support starts with hiring a lawyer. A lawyer will draft a letter to the party who is meant to pay child support. This approach is used to avoid the long court process. Both parents will then sit down, in the presence of their lawyers, to draft a parental responsibility agreement. This agreement is binding on both parties. After all the issues on child maintenance have been settled, the lawyer will register the agreement in court and it will act as a court order.
Alternatively, if the party who is required to pay child support resists a parental responsibility agreement, you could move to court and file a case for child support. The court will consider what is in the best interest of the child and look at all the above-mentioned factors before granting an order for child maintenance.
Important: Child support cost or maintenance fee in Kenya is determined by considering the income and expenditure of the parent required to pay. The Children Act provides more details about maintenance of children.