Government lawmakers Alvera Maduro-Caines and Dr Kedrick Pickering have welcomed the fact that a man may not be required to pay child maintenance unless it is proven that he fathers the child in question.
The establishment of paternity is among clauses in the brand new Child Maintenance and Access Bill, which was passed last night after amendments were made away from the media’s glare.
“In everything we do, fairness and balance should always be present. And so I am additionally glad to see a section providing for proof of paternity being a must before maintenance is issued to anyone,” Maduro-Caines told the House of Assembly yesterday (March 16) while the Bill was being debated.
The Bill, which must get the governor’s approval before it becomes law, STATES: “Where the issue of paternity of a child arises during the hearing of any application made under this Act, the issue of paternity shall be determined before a maintenance order is made.”
After reading that clause aloud, Dr Kedrick Pickering requested that it be ‘tweaked’ to prevent causing embarrassment for men who are wrongfully accused of paternity.
Paternity, Dr Pickering recommended, should be established before the matter reaches the court.
“My question that I want to raise: Shouldn’t paternity be determined before it actually get into the judicial system? Because you are exposing individuals, and you could be exposing individuals from a private capacity who are innocent. But then they are exposed to a judicial system when their lives are on display… The test comes back negative that the DNA doesn’t match… And you put me through the system of probably incurring expenses – and my reputation also [is being damaged],” added Dr Pickering.
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