How do parties in muslim marriages apply for child maintenance?

Child maintenance is dealt with as part of the ancillary matters at the Family Court (for Civil Divorces) together with all the other issues such as division of matrimonial property and maintenance for wife. However, at the Syariah Court, no orders are made for child maintenance. As such one will have to proceed to the Family Court to obtain such orders. This can be taken out before, during or after you commence proceedings at the Syariah Court.

As lawyers, we are able to assist you in making this application which is generally heard by way of a trial. We will argue and cross examine your spouse for you. It is important to put together all your documents, your pay and expenses amongst others in a clear manner so that we can present to the court the best and most reasonable sum that you or the other party ought to pay.
First lets dispel some myths. There is no such law which states that fathers are to bear 100% of the child maintenance. Further, there is also no such law that states that maintenance for children is supposed to be borne equally between parents. The Court looks at the variety of factors in determining the sum and will thereafter apportion it. Lastly, just because one fails to provide maintenance does not mean one can be prevented from seeing the child.

As per s69 (4) of the Women’s Charter, some of the factors are as follows:

(4) The court, when ordering maintenance for a wife, an incapacitated husband or a child under this section, shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case including the following matters:
(a) the financial needs of the wife, incapacitated husband or child;
(b) the income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources of the wife, incapacitated husband or child;
(c) any physical or mental disability of the wife, incapacitated husband or child;
(d) the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
(e) the contributions made by each of the parties to the marriage to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family;
(f) the standard of living enjoyed —
(i) by the wife before her husband neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for her;
(ii) by the incapacitated husband before his wife neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for him; or
(iii) by the child before a parent neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for the child;
(g) in the case of a child, the manner in which he was being, and in which the parties to the marriage expected him to be, educated or trained; and
(h) the conduct of each of the parties to the marriage, if the conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it.

Do contact us to discuss more. This article is a general guide and is not to be taken as legal advice.