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Enforcement of Child Maintenance Orders

The Ministry facilitates enforcement of maintenance orders by transmitting court orders issued in Jamaica for child maintenance to the authorities in the country where the delinquent parent resides for the enforcement to take place. Once this is done, periodic following up is done at the request of the person who applied for the order if there is a delay in enforcement. The Jamaican courts also make it possible for a parent living overseas to file for child support from a parent living in Jamaica, provided that the country is a “reciprocating State”. ( SeeĀ Ministry of Justice Maintenance Orders (Facilities For Enforcement) Act)

  • The Ministry can not apply for the maintenance order on behalf of the person seeking to obtain then child maintenance (support), only this person can approach the Family Court to apply for the order.
  • The list of reciprocating states as set out in the Maintenance Order (Facilities for Enforcement) Regulations are
    • The United States of America: Maryland, New Jersey, Florida
    • Canada: Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island
    • Caribbean Islands: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands
    • Other countries: United Kingdom, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Bailiwick of Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Niue, and Western Samoa
  • A person may still file for child support even where the delinquent parent resides in a non-reciprocating state. The Court may make orders to facilitate alternative means of service, for the delinquent parent to appear in court on a specified date and other orders as appropriate, having regard to the location of the parties. However, where a court in Jamaica has made a maintenance order against a person and that person is resident in a non-reciprocating state, the person who filed the order will be required to initiate proceedings in that State by sending a certified copy of the court order for registration and enforcement. It is strongly recommended that the counsel of an attorney be sought in this instance.
  • In the case where the child is not a citizen of Jamaica but lives in Jamaica with the parent who was granted custody, the law in Jamaica concerning maintenance of children does not make a distinction between minors who are citizens and non-citizens. Therefore a person may file a claim for such orders concerning any child in Jamaica.