The burden of child support for divorced couples has always been placed on the father. But the narrative changed when a High Court in Milimani, Nairobi made a landmark ruling a case directing both parents to share the burden. The plaintiff, challenged a Magistrate Court’s decision which hade overburdened him with financial responsibility for his three-year-old son from a previous relationship. The man told the court that he has been paying over Ksh 100000 for his child’s school fees and monthly allowances.
Citing section 24 of the Children Act, Justice Abida Ali Aroni ruled in favour of the man, reducing the financial burden that he had been enduring for a long while.
“Where a child’s father and mother were married to each other at the time of his birth, they shall have parental responsibility for the child and neither the father nor the mother of the child shall have a superior right or claim against the other in the exercise of such parental responsibility,” she said.
According to the Act, parental responsibility means all the duties, rights, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and the child’s property in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child including adequate diet, shelter, clothing, medical care, education and guidance. With both parents employed, the judge ruled out that they both share the responsibility.
“Both parties are in salaried employment and earn a substantial income so that none of them should be hard-pressed to take up a higher responsibility than the other. Both should realise that it is not the same since their divorce and they should as of necessity build consensus on which school they will both be comfortable to pay,” she added.
This ruling sets the ground for future cases of this manner.