Our Readers' Opinions
February 12, 2016
Fathers, support your children

Editor: Being a father is very important. Having recognized the aforementioned fact, it is true to say that many men are not attentive to their children. Some have even abandoned their children.{{more}}

I have no doubt that most would agree that fathers must take care of their child/children financially. If they refuse to do so, then they must be dealt with. However, we must look at the way the law deals with men who fail to pay for their child’s or children’s maintenance after they are taken to the family courts.

While we agree that delinquent fathers must be made to pay, we must carefully look at the penalty. We would agree that each case has to be dealt with separately and in the best interest of the child. Imprisoning a father for failure to pay the child’s maintenance is something that needs to be looked at.

For when a man honestly takes care of his child or children, but then falls into financial difficulties and is unable to pay child’s support, he should not be imprisoned.

For when the child’s father is imprisoned because he can not pay his child’s support, it is then an injustice to the child. When the child’s father is imprisoned, the child still is not supported. So, while the father is eating and sleeping, the child is still hungry and suffers need. Then, in this case, the child does not benefit.

What we need is a system where the child benefits. Imprisonment in my mind does not solve the problem. For when the father comes back out and he does not pay, then he returns again to the prison. When this occurs, children are left to suffer. So, what good is that to the child or children?

What I do recommend is that there be a system where if the father is unemployed, a job is found for him in some way and at the same time the amount ordered by the courts be deducted from his pay. In this area the child benefits. If the father, however, is employed and is in a position to pay, but refuses, then a system is also developed where the stipulated amount is deducted from his wages or salary. This recommendation can be challenging, but it is possible.

Come to think of it, a father is jailed because he failed to pay his child’s maintenance. He is then denied a clean police record because he had served a prison term. He is also placed amongst other criminals who can influence him on crimes. In the meantime his family suffers the lack of presence of their father and the child is left without financial support.

Those men who are uncertain if the child belongs to them and so refuse to pay the child’s support should insist on a DNA. By all means, men should always try their best to support their children. I, therefore, urge the authorities to look carefully at this recommendation and ensure that the child benefits in the end.

Kennard King