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LEGAL AID: He should be responsible for his child

Wednesday February 12 2020
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The baby is 4 months and he doesn’t help in any way. I have no job. PHOTO | FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ERIC MUKOYA

Hello Sir,

I conceived and after informing the father of the child, he wanted the pregnancy terminated, which I refused.

Well, he later apologised and I believed he meant it.  

The baby is four months old and he doesn’t help in any way. I have no job. I feel he should be responsible.

Wow, you are courageous. Despite emotional drain and uncertainty caused by sleepless nights and worrisome days following a man who seem disinterested in the growth of their own child four months after birth, you still speak as though being jobless is not a challenge.

Your voice is a sign of hope for those single mothers who wake up on each day not knowing what to do but are optimistic that the law could actually offer relief. You are on the right track of thought, as the concept of dead-beat fathers has been suffocated by law to a large extent.

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Dead-beat fathers or mothers are those parents who do not fulfill their parental responsibilities, especially when they intentionally evade or fail to pay court-ordered child support or custody arrangements.

We have invited this concept for you to understand that your problem is anticipated in law and therefore a solution is available.

Having opened up our minds to the presence of dead-beat parents in the current society, where the concept of family remains fluid, lets’ now focus on the legal issues raised by your question.

First, you seek to understand his space when it comes to parental responsibility. At the very least and even without force of law, parental responsibility is a principle for parenting available to both parents, irrespective of their marital status, inclusive of living together or not.

Article 53 of the Kenyan constitution bestows equal parental responsibility to both parents. The responsibilities ascribed in the Constitution and further detailed in the Children Act of 2001 are automatic and self- activating.

No parent can claim to have superior responsibilities over the other and in equal measure the same cannot be exercised impulsively. It is a lifetime job.

Second, we need to provide you with details with regard to enforcement of parental responsibility.

Since in the four months of your single parenting the man has not disputed the paternity of the baby, the first point of redress would be a visit to the department of Children Services near you to seek formal government intervention.

If by any chance the outcome of this engagement with the children’s department does not speak to your expectations then you may want to move the court by filing a petition seeking child maintenance. 

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