In the Jamaican courts, seeking sole custody of a child can be a tedious process. But you may feel more prepared if you are familiar with the process. Exclusive custody cases are dealt with similarly to filing for child maintenance.
Where do you file for custody in Jamaica?
You can file for your child’s sole custody in the Supreme court, family court, or magistrate court in your local parish.
Who can file for sole custody of a child in Jamaica?
Under the Children (Guardianship and Custody) Act; Either parents of the child can file for sole custody. A guardian, relative, or someone close to the child can file if they have evidence of the parents being unfit or feel it is their right to do so.
Documents needed to file for sole custody in Jamaica:
- Valid birth certificate for the child
- Valid birth certification of the parent filing
- Proof of relationship to the child
- Application for sole custody
- General information for the other parent that is not filing
- An affidavit stating why you think it is within the child’s best interest to stay with you.
- An application fee and a fee for the summons to be served on the relevant party
What you need to know:
- No one parent has a superior right to the child. Any parent may file or get custody of the child as long as it is in the child’s best interest.
- After this initial step of filing your case with the court, a summons is sent to the other parent who is not filing; for them to appear in court on a specified date.
- On the court date, they will allow both parents to present their case. The parent filing for full custody may have to write why they feel they should have the child’s complete procession.
- The judge may ask relevant questions, including the yearly income of both parents, the living situation the child would be in, and other related issues.
- If allegations have been made against either parent, for example, one parent’s abuse reports, the court investigates before deciding.
- If a parent can not show up to court, they may be represented by a family member with frequent communication.
Please remember, no two cases or family situations are the same. The court may ask for additional information on the matter if they so see fit.