Child Custody Application

Applying For Child Custody in Jamaica West Indies

The Children (Guardianship and Custody) Act of Jamaica states that the court may, upon the application of the mother or father of a child, make such order as it may think fit regarding the custody of such child and the right of access thereto of either of the parents, having regard to the welfare of the child is the top priority, and to the conduct of the child parents, and to the wishes as well of the father as of the mother, and may vary, alter, or discharge such order on the application of either of the child parents.

Both parents have equal rights when it comes to custody of the child. Therefore, a father who thinks he would be better able to be the parent with physical custody of the child (have the child live with him), as well as care and control (solely make legal decisions), can apply to the court of Jamaica for an order for the same. Payment for child support/maintenance from the mother can also be applied for by the father. Both parents are treated equally as the court does not automatically assume that a child’s place is best with its mother.

The “liberty to apply” clause comes with all child custody orders, which means that the order can be amended at any time on application by either of the child parents.
Custody of the child is not based only on financial assessment. Other factors are put into consideration and the court must decide whether an order for sole or joint custody would be appropriate, given all the circumstances presented. 

The Family Court of Jamaica

The family court of Jamaica has the power to deal with family matters arising out of:

  1. The child care and protection act
  2. The children (adoption of) act
  3. The children (guardianship and custody) act
  4. The domestic violence act
  5. The family property (rights of spouses) act
  6. The maintenance act
  7. The status of children act
  8. The court deals with adoption, child care and protection, custody, maintenance and other issues relating to children.

Factors Affecting Children's Post divorce Adjustment

Research suggests that children of divorce may experience a variety of problems ranging from diminished social relationships to psychological disturbances, the severity, type and persistence of these problems may be mediated (or moderated) by a number of mitigating factors. Some of the factors researchers have identified include:

Child characteristics, such as gender and age at the time of divorce;

Family characteristics, such as socio-economic status of the custodial household, race, and childrearing skills.

Situational characteristics, such as parental absence, length of time since marital dissolution, conflict, support systems, divorce proceedings, custody arrangements, remarriage, and environmental changes.

8 things that may really make a difference for a child during the divorce process 

  1. Place the needs and feelings of your child above adult considerations an feelings.
  2. Try your very best to shield the children from overt conflicts between the parents – this can be a frightening or traumatic experience and make them anxious.
  3. Work hard to ensure that the children have easy contacts and good relationships with both parents.
  4. Decide when and how to talk to the children, with both parents together as the ideal.
  5. Listen to their concerns, accept their emotions without being judgmental, and express your sorrow and understanding for their feelings. 6 Provide strong and constant reassurance that “It’s not their fault”, “it’s ok to cry”. Explain to them that it’s not their fault.
  6. Never ask your child to take sides, be a go-between, or act as confidantes’ t’s not air to them.
  7. Look at it through from their perspective – they don’t want their parents to get a divorce, they don’t want their parents to be unhappy, they will wonder if it’s their fault. Children going through divorce might be scared that the other parent might leave them too. Even though you may or may not miss your spouse they child will miss the absent parent, they will also want to talk about them with you too.
  8. When the children can rely on stability, been given honest information about the separation, participating in family discussions, encouraged to ask questions, and turning to a trusted adult for comfort, they can then adjust to the loss.