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Fathers must provide for children, High Court in Nairobi rules

Man says he cannot raise the money estranged wife is demanding for their daughter’s upkeep

Men cannot escape the responsibility of providing for their children even if they claim to have no means to do so, the High Court has ruled.

The decision arose from a case where a man had moved to court seeking to block orders by a magistrate’s court that he should pay for maintenance of his daughter. He had argued he couldn’t afford it.

Justice Aggrey Muchelule said there was no escaping responsibility when it comes to a child’s welfare.

In the case, the man named as FGW was required to pay Sh70,000 per month as rent, at the same time provide insurance for the child whose outpatient cover would be Sh100 000 and in-patient Sh1 million.

He was also to provide food, clothing and pay bills and house help.

“The provision of the child’s education, medical care and shelter is a statutory and constitutional responsibility of the appellant ( FGW) from which he cannot escape. If the provision is suspended by order of stay, it will mean the child does not go to school, has no medical care and has no shelter,” Justice Muchelule ruled.

He added: “The court cannot expose the child to such eventuality given the circumstances of this case. Such exposure would not be in the best interests of the child.”

FGW told the judge what is being demanded from him was too much and that he could not raise it.

He complained the lower court failed to consider that parental responsibility should be shared by both parents.

FGW said his business had gone down and he was in debts. He said his bank accounts were  showing a negative balance.

He told the court he had done his best to pay Sh100,000 school fees for the minor. But his estranged wife, GWT, painted a different man. She said he was a man of means.

The woman told the court that he was an investor worth a Sh1 million monthly income and that he had several cars and a huge tract of land.

She attached documents showing an outstanding school fees balance of Sh255,950 and an auctioneer’s attachment over some Sh320,000 demand from him over the child.

There was also a notice by the magistrate’s court to show why he ought not to be arrested for not paying Sh552,000 for maintenance. The judge said marriage was not a pre-condition for child protection.

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