Court rules women should also provide for child maintenance

In a decision that could open the door for men to also pursue women for child maintenance, Justice Florence Muchemi ruled that a child ought to be maintained by both parents.

The judge ruled that responsibility should be apportioned to each party according to their ability and the needs of the child.

"The minor is a child of the parties in this case and ought to be maintained by both parents. The sharing of responsibility ought to be apportioned according to the needs of the child and the income of each party," Justice Muchemi ruled.

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In the case, the woman named as DKM wanted her former husband RMN ordered to take care of their child.

The two had separated, with the man retaining two children while she remained with one.

DKM first moved to the magistrates court asking for Sh32,000 monthly from her former husband, but her case was thrown out on account that RMN had enough responsibility of taking care of two children; one at the university and the other in primary school.

The magistrate also found that she had means to take care of herself.

Aggrieved, she appealed before High Court, arguing that the man earned Sh200,000 a month while she only got about Sh10,000 from a sales job. “The respondent is a man of means, whereas I'm a woman of straw with a meagre income,” she argued.

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RMN was willing to contribute Sh7,000, but maintained that the list of financial expenses produced in court was exaggerated.

DKM had listed a house girl's salary of Sh5,000, food (Sh10,000), utility bills (Sh4,000), rent (Sh10,000) and Sh4,000 for entertainment.

“Parental responsibility is shared between the parents and it is appropriate that the appellant, who is in gainful employment, be ordered to do her part of the bargain,” he argued.

After hearing the counter arguments, Justice Muchemi ruled that the child should enjoy food, shelter and clothing from her mother’s pocket, as her other children are being provided for by their father.

“The appellant is working and should be in a position to maintain herself by way of paying rent and utility bills. She should also provide her own food and clothing. These provisions should also support the minor in way of shelter, food and clothing,” she ruled.

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On medical and entertainment expenses, the judge ruled that it shall be split into two, the man to provide Sh15,000 and the woman to give Sh5,000.

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