Non-Biological Parent’s Duty – Child’s Maintenance


2016

TDT v TDS & anor appeal & anor matter [2016] 4 SLR 145

 

1. Introduction

We acted for the Husband in this divorce proceeding.

 

2. Background

The Husband appealed against:

(a) how the Judge valued the shares of a particular company which was found liable to be divided as a matrimonial asset; and

(b) refund of the interim maintenance paid to Q (the Wife’s daughter who was born out of wedlock from a previous relationship).

The latter raises a novel point of law in relation to the scope of a non-biological parent’s duty under section 70 of the Women’s Charter.

Section 70 of the Women’s Charter read

Duty to maintain child accepted as member of family

70.—(1)  Where a person has accepted a child who is not his child as a member of his family, it shall be his duty to maintain that child while he remains a child, so far as the father or the mother of the child fails to do so, and the court may make such orders as may be necessary to ensure the welfare of the child.

[26/80]

(2)  The duty imposed by subsection (1) shall cease if the child is taken away by his father or mother.

[26/80]

(3)  Any sums expended by a person maintaining that child shall be recoverable as a debt from the father or mother of the child.

[26/80]

(4)  An application for an order under subsection (1) may be made by —

(a) any person who is a guardian or has the actual custody of the child;

(b) where the child has attained the age of 21 years, the child himself;

(c) where the child is below the age of 21 years, any of his siblings who has attained the age of 21 years; or

(d) any person appointed by the Minister.

[30/96]

(5)  Subsections (4) to (9) of section 69 shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to the making of an order under this section.

[30/96]

 

3. Conclusion

We were successful in arguing for the Husband for a reduction in relation to the Wife’s share of the matrimonial assets and for the Husband’s obligation to maintain the child to end at the point of the grant of the interim divorce order. The Court further ordered that a refund was to be made to the Husband for the maintenance paid by the Husband to Q.

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