Family dispute: I need an out-of-court settlement - Evewoman
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Family dispute: I need an out-of-court settlement

Dear Harold,

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We married in a church wedding nine years ago in Nairobi. At the time of marriage, I had a daughter with another man whom my husband dutifully caters for. We had a son three years ago before we mutually agreed that I resign from work and take care of the children. However, of late, he has turned abusive and comes back home drunk way past midnight. I am contemplating opting out. Can this matter be settled out of court? How the court can assist in maintenance?

Patricia, Mombasa.

Dear Patricia,

 Your family dispute can be settled out of court as Article 159 of the constitution provides for alternative forms of dispute resolution.

They include arbitration, mediation and reconciliation. The alternate dispute resolution is faster bearing in mind that courts are grappling with case backlogs. As for the courts, because you do not have a source of income, your husband may be ordered to pay maintenance for the children – including the daughter you had before wedlock. The law presumes that he acknowledged parental responsibility of your daughter and – like his son – should legally maintain them until they attain the age of 18. 

The court can order him to remit monthly payments after establishing both of your incomes. Basically, your salaries, amount spent on rent, school fees, water, electricity, health would be used to ascertain monthly maintenance.

Furthermore, you can apply for increase of maintenance should he get a pay rise at work. If he refuses to remit the monthly payments, you can seek orders in court to either attach his salary or sell his assets towards raising money for maintenance.

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