MAINTENANCE ACT

PART I
Preliminary (sections 1-3)

   1   Short title

   2   Interpretation

   3   Application for maintenance order

 

PART II
Obligation of Spouses during Marriage or Cohabitation (sections 4-5)

   4   Obligation of spouses to maintain each other

   5   Maintenance order re spouse

 

PART III
Obligation of Parties on Termination of Cohabitation (sections 6-7)

   6   Maintenance after termination of cohabitation

   7   Effect of entering into new marriage or cohabitation

 

PART IV
Obligation of Parents and Grandparents (sections 8-9)

   8   Obligation of parent to support child

   9   Maintenance order re child

 

PART V
Obligation of person who is not a minor (section 10)

   10   Obligation of person to support parent

 

PART VI
Maintenance Orders (sections 11-23)

   11   Order of maintenance

   12   Application for order of maintenance

   13   Manner of proceeding in Resident Magistrate’s Court

   14   Power of the Court re application

   15   Powers of Court regarding maintenance orders

   16   Duration of order

   17   Pension or income liable to attachment

   18   Variation, suspension or cancellation of orders

   19   Payments under Act

   20   Distress may issue if payment in arrears

   21   Committal for non-payment

   22   Court may order payment during respondent’s incarceration for any offence

   23   Appeal

 

PART VII
Maintenance Agreements (sections 24-25)

   24   Agreements in respect of maintenance

   25   Agreement to defeat creditors

 

PART VIII
General (sections 26-28)

   26   Minister’s power to make rules

   27   Repeal of the Maintenance Act and Affiliation Act

   28   Amendments to other Acts

      SCHEDULE

 

THE MAINTENANCE ACT

[Date of Commencement: 7th December, 2005]

Act 30 of 2005.

PART I
Preliminary (sections 1-3)

1   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Maintenance Act.

2   Interpretation

   In this Act-

   "cohabit" means to live together in a conjugal relationship outside marriage;

   "Collecting Officer" means the Accountant appointed in each parish pursuant to section 41A(1)(b) of the Judicature (Resident Magistrates) Act;

   "Court" means a Resident Magistrate, Judge or court referred to in section 3;

   "dependant" means a person to whom another person has an obligation to provide support under this Act;

   "maintenance order" means an order made under this Act for the maintenance of a dependant;

   "minor" means a person under the age of eighteen years;

   "respondent" means a person who, pursuant to this Act, has an obligation to maintain another person;

   "single woman" or "single man", used with reference to the definition of "spouse", includes a widow or widower, respectively, or a divorcee;

   "spouse" includes-

   (a)   a single woman who, for a period of not less than five years, has cohabited with a single man as if she were in law his wife; and

   (b)   a single man who, for a period of not less than five years, has cohabited with a single woman as if he were in law her husband.

3   Application for maintenance order

   (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person may apply to the Resident Magistrate’s Court in the parish in which the person resides, or, as the case may be, to the Family Court for a maintenance order in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

   (2) In any case where an application is made for the division of property under the Property (Rights of Spouses) Act, the Court hearing the proceedings under the Property (Rights of Spouses) Act may make a maintenance order in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

PART II
Obligation of Spouses during Marriage or Cohabitation (sections 4-5)

4   Obligation of spouses to maintain each other

   Each spouse has an obligation, so far as he or she is capable, to maintain the other spouse to the extent that such maintenance is necessary to meet the reasonable needs of the other spouse, where the other spouse cannot practicably meet the whole or any part of those needs having regard to-

   (a)   the circumstances specified in section 14(4); and

   (b)   any other circumstances which, in the opinion of the Court, the justice of the case requires to be taken into account.

5   Maintenance order re spouse

   (1) A maintenance order for the support of a spouse shall-

   (a)   contain such provisions as will ensure that the economic burden of child support is shared equitably;

   (b)   make such provision as the Court considers fair with a view to assisting the spouse to become able to contribute to that spouse’s own support.

   (2) In determining the amount and duration of support to be given to a spouse under a maintenance order, the Court shall have regard to the following matters in addition to the matters specified in section 14(4)-

   (a)   the length of time of the marriage or cohabitation;

   (b)   the spouse’s contribution to the relationship and the economic consequences of the relationship for the spouse;

   (c)   the effect of the responsibilities assumed during the marriage or cohabitation on the spouse’s earning capacity;

   (d)   the spouse’s needs, having regard to the accustomed standard of living during the marriage or cohabitation;

   (e)   whether the spouse has undertaken the care of a child of eighteen years of age or over who is unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to care for himself;

   (f)   any housekeeping, child care or other domestic service performed by the spouse for the family, as if the spouse were devoting the time spent in performing that service in remunerative employment and were contributing the earnings to the family’s support;

   (g)   the effect of the spouse’s child care responsibilities on the spouse’s earnings and career development;

   (h)   the terms of any order made or proposed to be made under the Property (Rights of Spouses) Act in relation to the property of the parties;

   (i)   the eligibility of either spouse for a pension, allowance or benefit under any rule, enactment, superannuation fund or scheme, and the rate of that pension, allowance or benefit.

PART III
Obligation of Parties on Termination of Cohabitation (sections 6-7)

6   Maintenance after termination of cohabitation

   (1) In the case of cohabiting parties and subject to the provisions of this section, after the termination of cohabitation each spouse has an obligation, so far as he or she is capable, to maintain the other spouse to the extent that such maintenance is necessary to meet the reasonable needs of the other spouse, where the other spouse cannot practicably meet the whole or any part of those needs having regard to-

   (a)   the circumstances specified in section 14(4); and

   (b)   any other circumstances which, in the opinion of the Court, the justice of the case requires to be taken into account.

   (2) An application for maintenance upon the termination of cohabitation may be made within twelve months after such termination, and the Court may make a maintenance order in accordance with Part VI of the application.

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