The Maintenance Act Cap 234 Volume 7 Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Revised Edition 2009 provides for financial provision for dependants, provision for custody of children and for the purposes connected therein.
In this Act unless the context otherwise requires- child includes a child born in and out of wedlock and any child who has been treated as a child of the family of the person against whom an Order is sought by reason of having maintained by or living with such person.
Who may apply for maintenance?
- The parent with whom the child resides
- The lawful appointed guardian of the child
- Any person charged with the relief of destitute persons
- Any person having actual custody of the child.
- Or if the child is over the age of sixteen and attending school the child himself may apply.
What are the requirements for filing an application?
- You will need some form of valid identification e.g. Passport or National I.D.
- Birth Certificate of the child in respect of whom the application is being made and application I.D.
- Name of the Respondent i.e. the person against whom the application is being made.
- Particulars of the Respondent i.e. current address place of work aliases etc.
- $1.20 stamps which can be purchased at the front desk.
Processing of applications
A date for hearing is given to the Applicant. Summonses are prepared and served on the Respondent by the Court’s Bailiffs. The Respondent is expected to appear for a hearing on the date as specified on summons.
What happens after an order is made?
The Respondent is expected to pay the maintenance as per Court Order at the cashier's desk at the Family Court . If such payments are not made the Applicant in the case can file an application for the amount that is in arrears. The Applicant should file within a sixteen weeks period (four months).
What happens in a case where financial circumstances change?
Either the Applicant or the Respondent can apply for a variation of the order to increase or decrease the amount. Parties may agree to have the Order discharged from the Court. In that case The Applicant will make application to the Court to have the Order discharged.
Where does the respondent pay the maintenance monies?
Monies for maintenance are paid at the Family Court or parties may agree that monies be paid to their bank account, therefore the order will specify.
Are monies paid out to recipients at the Family Court?
Yes.If monies are not collected the same day, claims are processed through the computerized system where payments will be made. The Applicant can also require that the payment be made to a Financial Institution of his/her choice. In default, arrears cases are filed and determined.
Non-payment of maintenance warrants
When a defendant refuses to pay maintenance money an arrears case is brought against him. The matter is heard and determined by the President of the Family Court. Upon refusal of payment a Committal Warrant is prepared. It is served on the Defendant by the Court Bailiff who arrests the Defendant and takes him/her to prison. He/she can be released when the payments are made. If no payment is made he/she will serve time – an order by the Court.