In the first quarter of 2020, nearly 50% of cases seen at the Kingston and St. Andrew Family Court were related to child support.
Child support is the ongoing periodic payment made by a parent for the benefit of a child and usually follows the end of a marriage or other relationship. Child Support is enforced by the Maintenance Act of 2005, section four (4). The Act states that every parent is obligated to provide for their unmarried child, once they are a minor or in need of special assistance due to a physical or mental disability.
Child Maintenance can be legally binding until the age of twenty-three (23). Grandparents or legal guardians may also be ordered to pay child support if a parent has died or if the parent has been rendered incapable of caring for the child.
How to file for Child Support
- A person may apply to the Parish Court in the parish they reside or at the Kingston and St. Andrew Family Court.
- Visit the links below for the Parish and Family Court listing:
- Once the application is complete, a summons will be issued to the parent against whom the claim is being made. Both parents must then appear in Court; a lawyer is optional.
How is Child Support Granted?
There is no minimum or maximum amount payable for child maintenance. The Court will assess the needs of the child in order to determine the amount of financial support required; factors include:
- Physical and mental health
- Nourishment needs
- Educational needs
- Extracurricular activities
- General health needs
The Court will assess the financial means of both parents or legal guardian(s); factors include:
- Job description
- Salary amount
- Loans or liabilities
A maintenance order for child support is crystalised in a Court Order. If the parent or guardian is found in breach of the Court Order, he or she can be held in contempt of court, which may amount to jail time.
Common Misconceptions of Child Support
- Only fathers pay child support – The law is not gender specific on the payment of child support. The Court places the burden equally on each parent or legal guardian to care for the child.
- Unemployment equals exemption from child support claims – The Court can still order an unemployed parent or guardian to make monthly child support payments. This is to assist the individual who has custody of the child with maintenance.
- Mothers will always be favoured in custody hearings – The Court will assess the home environment and the availability of the parties involved to determine who is best suited to have care and control of the child. In cases where mothers have custody of the child, the father still qualifies for visitation rights.
For further Information, contact:
Court Administration Division
8th Floor, 25 Dominica Drive,
Telephone: +1 876-613-8800/754-8337/908-0138
Toll Free Line: +1 888-429-5269