NEWS

Children Are Liable

If applicant has two or three children, expenses are a shared responsibility between the children
22 Jul 2022 13:58
Children Are Liable
Legal Aid Director, Shahin Ali.

Elderly parents, who are unable to support themselves because of old age, physical or mental disability, can apply to be financially supported by their children through parental maintenance.

Acting Director Legal Aid Shahin Ali said this maintenance support for elderly parents was stipulated under section 159 of the Family Law Act.

Mr Ali said adult children have a legal responsibility to take care of their elderly parents, to a reasonable extent.

This especially, in cases where parents are unable to support themselves because of old age or physical or mental disability.

He added that the maintenance programme for parents had  existed since the Family Law Act 2003.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Under the Act, Mr Ali said a person was liable to maintain his or her parent to the extent that the person was reasonably able to do so if and only if the parent has been unable to support herself or himself adequately with proof.

This could be because of age or physical or mental incapacity for inappropriate gainful employment.

“In order to apply you need the same requirement as any other maintenance application,” he said.

“Applicant’s ID, birth certificate and the respondent’s birth certificate are required by the Family Court Registry.”

He added that applicants should seek assistance from the Court Counseling Service or other approved counseling services in the community.

 

PAYOUT AMOUNT

Mr Ali said the maintenance payout amount would depend on the applicant’s expenses.

“When the applicant has two or three children, then the expenses are a joint responsibility between the children,” he said.

“If one of the children is already supporting the applicant then that expense can be deducted. However, it is a joint responsibility of all children to maintain the applicant.”

“The maintenance ordered will depend on the applicant’s weekly expense. If the children are paid fortnightly then they can ask for payments to be made fortnightly or monthly. It’s on a case by case basis.”

 

In terms of consent, Mr Ali said once the court makes an order for attachment earnings order, it would go directly to their finance or accounts section. He said once this was done, the consent of respondents were not required.

He added that any person who wishes to apply for Parental Maintenance could visit any Legal Aid Commission branch and or seek advice over the phone, online platforms for further advice and assistance.

Savenaca Radrodro, 65, of Nadawa in Nasinu said it was the first time he had heard of this maintenance.

Mr Radrodro said though it could help many elderly parents, it was important for children to understand they have a moral duty to look after their parents without having to be bound by law.

 

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

 



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