Are you tired of dealing with a deadbeat father who doesn’t seem interested in participating in their child’s life? This is the predicament of many women in Kenya. The number of single mothers has risen to a worrying figure which only paints a sad picture of the men in the country. While we acknowledge and salute the men who bring up their children, a high percentage of men still fall in the category of a deadbeat father.
Luckily, the Constitution clearly stipulates the rights of a child which include parental care from both the mother and the father. They both have a responsibility to provide for the child’s food, shelter, clothing, education and medical needs. Furthermore, The Children’s Act states that both parents have a responsibility for a child whether they are wed or not. Since the law is clear on the matter, you don’t have to stress over a deadbeat father. Here are some legal steps you can take.
You can seek help from a qualified mediator to help resolve issues with your baby daddy. This is usually a better alternative then court proceedings as it’s more personal and both parties can negotiate. It’s also advisable to keep family matters away from public record especially when it involves children. Additionally, since its one a one on one basis, the process is hastened thus getting a solution in due time. Qualified mediators are certified under the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and are part of the legal fraternity. They’re trained in negotiation and mediation ensuring both parties get justice.
Though alternative dispute resolution is gaining traction, this is still the most preferred solution. Many single mothers tend to take action against a deadbeat father by seeking the court’s intervention. This can take several months since the court deals with a hefty amount of cases. However, matters dealing with children are given preference and dealt with expeditiously. Court cases can also set groundbreaking decisions that help other mothers in the future such as the recent inheritance issue decided by Justice Jessie Njagi.
If you can’t afford mediation or court intervention, you can approach gender-based organizations which deal with legal aid for women like FIDA and National Commission For Gender Equality. These organizations offer free legal counselling and representation on all matters dealing with women and children. They mostly cater to women from poor backgrounds who can’t afford to pay for legal services. Therefore, women from all walks of life can take action for child support.
Parental Responsibility Agreement
If the deadbeat father shows willingness, you can have a lawyer draft a Parental Responsibility Agreement. This mostly happens when the father is a part of the child’s life but is not consistent. The agreement states which parent is responsible for what. This is one of the best solutions as it’s fast, drama-free and both parents can speak on their behalf. Once both parties have agreed, the lawyer then drafts the Agreement and registers it in court. This acts as a court order and is legally binding. If violated, you can sue the other party. This is a popular practice under the common law and is also taking off in Kenya.
Check out The Life Of A Single Mother