If you are unmarried, and the father of your child is not paying maintenance, you can apply under the Affiliation Law for an order that he should pay you maintenance for the child. You should apply either within 12 months of the birth of the child or when the father stops paying you maintenance. If you are married, and your husband is not supporting you and/or your children, you can apply for an order under the Maintenance Law that he should pay maintenance for you and your children. You can also apply for maintenance for children living with you at the time of your marriage. If you are divorced, or a divorce application is pending, you must apply in the divorce proceedings in the Grand Court.
You should ring the Court Office (244-3826 or 9494296) and ask to speak to the Affiliation and Maintenance Officer. Tell the officer that you would like to discuss an affiliation or maintenance order. When you attend the interview you should bring with you your original marriage certificate (if appropriate) and birth certificate for any child for whom you are claiming maintenance. You should also bring details of the work and home addresses and the telephone numbers of your husband or father of the child.
You will be asked questions and will be required to swear an affidavit setting out the details of your claim. A summons will then be issued and served on the person you claim should be paying you maintenance. This summons will contain a hearing date when you and he should come to court. At the court hearing the Magistrate may wish to hear evidence from you to prove your claim. You should come to the hearing with any documentary evidence you have, including details of your income and expenses and, if known, the person you claim should be paying you maintenance.
If you are unmarried, the magistrate will have to decide if the man is the father of the child. Sometimes it may be necessary to order a blood test, and you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of the test. If the magistrate decides the man is the father of the child, an affiliation order to support the child may be made. That order is to cover the maintenance and education of the child. If you are married the magistrate may make an order for maintenance for you and any child. When making these orders the magistrate will take into account the ability of the individuals to pay maintenance.
When an order is made you may choose to receive payment in one of the following ways: For the money to be paid to you personally. However you should keep records of payments and give receipts. This will avoid disputes about the amount paid. For the money to be paid into a bank or other account. For the money to be paid to the Court Funds Office, located in the Judicial Financial Centre, ground floor Kirk House, Albert Panton Street, George Town. The Court Funds office will send a cheque to you by mail or pay the money into a bank account of your choice. You can also collect the cheque if you wish, but you should first telephone to ensure that a cheque is available.
An order for maintenance ceases when that child becomes 14 years of age, and an affiliation order ceases when the child becomes 15 years of age. However, you may apply to the court to extend the order. You should discuss this with the affiliation and maintenance officer. If the Order is made in divorce proceedings in the Grand Court, the Order expires when the child turns 16 or, if in full time education, 23 years of age.
Assistance for the bringing of an application for an affiliation order or for a maintenance order in the Summary Court is given without charge. Assistance may also be available to enforce compliance with a maintenance order made by the Grand Court.
It is possible to apply to the Grand Court for the enforcement within the Cayman Islands against a parent resident here, of orders made by certain foreign Courts. It will, however, be necessary to get the assistance of a lawyer to do so. Orders made by the Cayman Courts are also enforceable under the laws of several foreign countries against parents residing in those countries.
The Affiliation Law (1995 Revision)
The Maintenance Law (1995 Revision)
The Matrimonial Causes Law
The Maintenance Orders (Enforcement) Law
The Maintenance Orders Enforcement (Belize) Order 1997
The Maintenance Law (Extension) Order, 1998
Rules of Court No. 5; Summary Jurisdiction (Maintenance Law) Rules