Families and Children Act - Cap173

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Families and Children Act - Cap173

  1. 1. BELIZEFAMILIES AND CHILDREN ACTCHAPTER 173REVISED EDITION 2000SHOWING THE LAW AS AT 31ST DECEMBER, 2000This is a revised edition of the law, prepared by the Law Revision Commissionerunder the authority of the Law Revision Act, Chapter 3 of the Laws of Belize,Revised Edition 1980 - 1990.This edition contains a consolidation of the following laws- PageARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS 3FAMILIES AND CHILDREN ACT 16Amendments in force as at 31st December, 2000.
  2. 2. BELIZEFAMILIES AND CHILDREN ACTCHAPTER 173REVISED EDITION 2000SHOWING THE LAW AS AT 31ST DECEMBER, 2000This is a revised edition of the law, prepared by the Law Revision Commissionerunder the authority of the Law Revision Act, Chapter 3 of the Laws of Belize,Revised Edition 1980 - 1990.This edition contains a consolidation of the following laws- PageARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS 3FAMILIES AND CHILDREN ACT 16Amendments in force as at 31st December, 2000.
  3. 3. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]3CHAPTER 173FAMILIES AND CHILDRENARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONSPART IPreliminary1. Shorttitleandcommencement.2. Interpretationandconstructionofreferences.PART IIRights of a Child3. Guidingprinciples.4. Child’srighttostaywithparents.5. Dutytomaintainachild.6. Parentalresponsibility.7. Harmfulemployment.8. Childrenwithdisabilities.9. Socialenquiryreports.
  4. 4. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.4[ ]PART IIILegal Capacity and Disabilities of ChildrenCapacity10. Interpretation of words used in this Part.11. Testamentarycapacityofmarriedchild.12. Childexecutorsandadministrators.13. Capacity to take legal proceedings in certain cases.Guardianship and Custody of Children14. Rightsofsurvivingparentastoguardianship.15. Power of father and mother to appoint testamentary guardians.16. Guardianship and custody of a child born to a single woman.17. Powers of child parents.18. Applicationtocourtforleaveifjointguardiansdisagree.19. Powers of guardians.20. Court may make order as to custody.21. Power of court to remove or substitute guardian.22. Guardianshipincaseofdivorceorjudicialseparation..
  5. 5. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]523. Effect of separation deed between parents.24. Enforcementofordersforpaymentofmoney.25. Rulesofcourt.26. Power of court as to production of child.27. Power of court to order repayment of cost of bringing up child.28. Court in making order to have regard to conduct of parent.29. Power of court as to child’s religious education.30. Principleonwhichquestionsrelatingtocustody,upbringing,etc.,ofchildren are to be decided.31. Saving.PART IVStatus of Children32. Interpretation of phrases used in this Part.33. Allchildrenofequalstatus.34. Transitionalprovisionsrelatingtowills,andotherinstrumentsandtointestacies.35. Presumptions as to parenthood.36. Protection of executors, administrators and trustees.
  6. 6. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.6[ ]37. Recognitionofrelationshipforthepurposeofsuccessiontoproperty.38. Evidenceandproofofpaternity.39. InstrumentofacknowledgmentmaybefiledwithRegistrar.40. Power of Supreme Court to make declaration of paternity.41. Court may direct that blood tests or DNA be taken.42. Consents, etc., required for taking of blood samples.43. Failuretocomplywithdirections.44. Penalty for personating another, etc., for purpose of providing bloodsample.45. Regulations relating to blood tests and other tests.PART VSupport of Children by Government46. DutyofGovernmenttosafeguardchildren.47. Dutytoreportinfringementsofchild’srights.
  7. 7. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]7PART VIFamily MaintenanceMaintenance Rights and Duties of Members of the Family as BetweenThemselves48. Dutyofmantomaintainchildren.49. Dutyofwomantomaintainchildren.50. Dutyofchildtomaintainparents.51. Burdenofproofastoabilityofchildtomaintainhimself.Proceedings to Enforce Right to Maintenance52. ModeofcompellingperformanceofdutiesimposedbythisAct.53. Applicationforchildmaintenanceorder.54. Proceedingsonhearingofcomplaint.55. Limitationoftimeforoperationoforderofmaintenance.56. Cancellation of order in certain cases.57. Abscondingtoavoidliabilityformaintenance.58. Liabilityofhusbandtopayforspouse’smaintenanceinmentalhospital,etc.
  8. 8. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.8[ ]Maintenance of Persons in Public Institutions59. Orders in respect of persons in mental hospitals, etc.60. Proceedings for orders under section 59.61. Enforcementoforder.62. Appeal to the Supreme Court.Collection of Money Payable Under Maintenance Orders63. Collectingofficertobeappointedforeachdistrictbymagistrate.64. Power to order payments to be made through collecting officer.65. Attachmentofpensionorincome.66. Notice of change of address..67. Limitationperiodnottoapplytoproceedingstoenforcepaymentunderorder.68. Rulesandforms.69. Recovery of payments in arrear.70. Durationoforder.71. Continuanceofpaymentincertaincases.72. Variationorrevocationofmaintenanceorders.
  9. 9. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]973. Power to remit arrears.74. Money to be paid to applicant or custodian.75. Appointmentofcustodian.76. Misapplyingmaintenancemoney.Maintenance during Divorce, Separation or Nullity77. Maintenanceduringdivorce,separationornullity.78. Variationofcustody.PART VIIParentage of ChildrenInterpretation79. Interpretation of words used in this Part.Application for Declaration of Paternity80. Applicationforsummons.Procedure for Making Application81. Procedure when application made before birth.82. Magistrate may make an order on father.83. Admissionofpaternity.
  10. 10. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.10[ ]84. Payment for child born to a single woman; to whom be made.85. Fathermayapplyforaccesstoorcustodyofhischildborntoasinglewoman.86. Proceedingsonapplicationfordeclarationofparentage.87. Proof parentage.88. Prima facie and conclusive evidence of parentage.89. Effectofdeclarationofparentage.90. Custodyofchildren.91. Appeals.Parent’s Liability for Maintenance and Neglect92. Revocationofdeclarationofparentage.93. Penalties for parent being able but refusing to support a child.94. Continuedneglect.95. Punishmentforfalsechargeofbeingfatherofchildbornoutofwedlock.96. Summary Jurisdiction (Procedure) Act to be applied.Procedure on Appeal97. Appealagainstaffiliationorder.
  11. 11. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]11PART VIIICare and Protection of ChildrenSupervision Orders98. Supervision and care orders.99. Socialinquiryreports.100. Grounds for making a supervision or care order.101. Applicationforasupervisionorder.102. Dutiesofasupervisorwhilea supervisionorderisinforce.103. Durationofasupervisionorder.104. Social services practitioner to enforce order.105. Requirements as to change of address and visitsCare Orders106. Care order.107. Purpose of a care order.108. Duration of a care order.109. Duty to enforce a care order.110. Parentalresponsibilityvestedinpersoninchargeofhomeorinfosterparent.
  12. 12. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.12[ ]111. Special duties of the social services practitioner in relation to careorders.112. Interimsupervisionorderandinterimcareorder.113. Exclusionorder.114. Enforcementofexclusionorder.115. Search and production order.116. Removalofachildunderemergencyprotection.117. Offencetoremoveachildfromaplaceofsafetywithoutauthority.118. Persons who may apply for discharge or variation of supervision orcare order.119. Dutyofsocialservicespractitionertoinvestigate.120. Requirementstodiscloseinformation.121. Medicalexaminationofchild.PART IXFoster-Care Placements122. Conditionsforfoster-careplacements.
  13. 13. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]13PART XApproved Children Homes123. Ministertoapprovechildrenhomes.124. Purpose of approved children homes.125. Parentalresponsibilityofwardenofapprovedchildrenhome.126. Contact with parents and relatives.127. Removalofachildfromapprovedchildrenhome.128. Recovery order.129. Application for a recovery order.130. Escape from approved children home.131. Court’s power to order parent or guardian to contribute.132. RulesforcarryingthisPartintoeffect.PART XIAdoption133. Interpretation of words and phrases used in this Part.134. Power to make adoption orders.135. Restrictiononmakingadoptionorder.
  14. 14. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.14[ ]136. Consent to adoption.137. Intercountryadoptions.138. Matters with respect to which court to be satisfied.139. Terms and conditions of order.140. Effect of adoption order.141. Interimorders.142. Power to make subsequent order.143. Restrictiononreceivingpaymentsorrewards.144. Provisions as to existing de facto adoptions.145. AdoptedChildrenRegister.146. Rulesofcourt.147. Regulationsregardingbirthsanddeaths.
  15. 15. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]15PART XIIEstablishment, Functions and Termsof Reference ofThe National Committeefor Families and Children148. EstablishmentoftheNationalCommitteeforFamiliesandChildren.149. Functions and terms of reference of the Committee.150. OversightpowersoftheMinistry.PART XIIIMiscellaneous151. Attendanceofchildathearing.152. Evidencegivenby,orwithrespectto,children.153. Privacyforchildreninvolvedincertainproceedings.154. Regulations.155. Repeals.FIRSTSCHEDULESECOND SCHEDULETHIRDSCHEDULE
  16. 16. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.16[ ]CHAPTER 173FAMILIES AND CHILDREN[8th July, 1998]PART IPreliminary1.-(1) This Act may be cited as the Families and Children Act.(2) This Act shall come into force on a date to be appointed by theMinister by Order published in the Gazette.2.-(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-“approved children home” means a Government or non-government homeapproved by the Minister to provide substitute family care for a child;“authorizedperson”meansanofficialorotherpersonauthorizedbytheMinistertoperformdutiesortodischargeresponsibilitiesunderthisAct;“care order” means a care order made under Part IX of this Act and includesan interim care order;“competent authority” means an official or body or other person authorizedexpresslyorimpliedlybythisActoranyotherenactmenttoperformtheactinquestion;“child” means, unless provided otherwise in any law, a person below the ageofeighteenyears;“Department”meanstheDepartmentofHumanDevelopment;17of1998.23of1999.42of1999.Short title.Interpretation andconstruction ofreferences.Commencement[1. 8. 1998]S. I. 78 of 1998.
  17. 17. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]17“exclusion order” means an exclusion order made under section 113 of thisAct;“foster-care placement” means the placement of a child by order of the courtwithapersonwhoisnothisparentandwhoiswillingtoundertakethecareandmaintenanceofthechild;“foster-parent”meansapersonnotbeingthebiologicalmotherorfatherofthechild who assumes responsibility of the child by way of a care order;“guardian”meansapersonhavingparentalresponsibilityforachild;“Government”meanstheGovernmentofBelize;“maintenanceorder”includesanyorderforthemaintenanceofachildwhetherborn within or outside of wedlock and any order for the maintenance of aspouse or parent;“Minister”meanstheMinisterforthetimebeingresponsibleforsocialservices;“Ministry”meanstheministryresponsibleforsocialservices;“parent”meansthebiologicalmotherorfatheroradoptivemotherorfatherofachildandincludesanypersonliablebylawtomaintainachildorentitledtohiscustody;“parentalresponsibility”meansallduties,responsibilitiesandauthoritywhichby law a parent of a child has under this Act in relation to the child;“supervision order” means a supervision order made under Part VIII of thisActandincludesaninterimsupervisionorder.(2) InthisAct,unlessthecontextotherwiserequires,areferencetoa magistrates court shall be read and construed, as the case may be, to be a
  18. 18. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.18[ ]reference to:-(a) aSummaryJurisdictionCourtexercisingcriminaljurisdictionin accordance with the Inferior Courts Act, where suchreferenceisinrelationtocriminalmatters;and(b) a District Court exercising civil jurisdiction in accordancewith the Inferior Courts Act, where such reference is inrelationtocivilmatters, and maintenance and other relatedorderswhichsuchcourtisbythisActauthorisedtodetermine.PART IIRights of the Child3. Theprinciplesinregardtochildren’srightssetoutintheFirstScheduletothisActshallbetheguidingprinciplesinthemakingofanydecisionaffectingachild.4.-(1) Achildisentitledtolivewithhisparentsorguardian.(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) above, where a competentauthority determines in accordance with the applicable laws and proceduresthat it is in the best interests of the child to separate the child from his parentsorguardian,thebestsubstitutealternativestayingplaceshallbeprovidedforthechild.5.-(1) It shall be the duty of a parent, guardian or any person, with custodyofachildtomaintainthatchild,andinparticularthatdutygivesachildtherightto-(a) education and counselling;(b) immunization;CAP.94.Child’s right tostay with parents.Guiding principles.First Schedule.CAP.94.Duty to maintain achild.
  19. 19. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]19(c) balanced diet;(d) clothing;(e) shelter; and(f) medical attention.(2) Itshallbethedutyofanypersonhavingcustodyofachildtousehis best efforts to protect the child from discrimination, violence, abuse andneglect.6.-(1) Everyparentshallhaveparentalresponsibilityforhischild.(2) Wheretheparentsofachildaredeceased,parentalresponsibilitymay,onapplicationtothecourt,andontherecommendationofasocialservicespractitioner,bepassedontorelativesofeitherparentortoanypersondesignatedby the court.(3) Parentalauthorityincludestherights,powersanddutieswhichaguardian of the child’s estate (appointed to act generally) would have had inrelation to the child and his property.(4) Therightsreferredtoinsubsection(3)aboveinclude,inparticular,the right of the guardian to receive or recover as trustee, for the benefit of thechild,propertyofwhateverdescriptionandwhereversituatewhichthechildisentitled to receive or recover.(5) Thefactthatapersonhas,ordoesnothave,parentalresponsibilityforachildshallnotaffect-(a) any obligation which he may have in relation to the child(such as a statutory duty to maintain the child); orParentalresponsibility.
  20. 20. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.20[ ](b) any rights which, in the event of the child’s death, he (orany other person) may have in relation to the child’sproperty.7. Subject to the provisions of the Labour Act and the District Courts(Procedure) Act, no child shall be employed or engaged in any activity thatmay be detrimental to his health, education, or mental, physical or moraldevelopment.8.-(1) Theparentsofchildrenwithdisabilitiesshalltakeappropriatestepstosee that those children are-(a) assessed as early as possible as to the extent and natureof their disabilities; and(b) offered appropriate treatment.(2) The State shall take appropriate steps to ensure that childrenwithdisabilitiesareaffordedequalopportunitiestoeducation.(3) A person who -(a) does not have parental responsibility for a particular child;but(b) has care of the child;may, subject to the provisions of this Act, do what is reasonable in all thecircumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting thechild’swelfare.9.-(1) AcourtconsideringanyquestionwithrespecttoachildunderthisActmay ask the Department to arrange for a social services practitioner or suchother person as the court considers appropriate, to report to the court on suchHarmfulemployment.CAP.297.CAP.97.Children withdisabilities.Social inquiryreports.
  21. 21. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]21mattersrelatingtothewelfareofthatchildasarerequiredtobedealtwithinthereport.(2) Thereportmaybemadeinwriting,ororally,asthecourtrequires.(3) Ifthereportreferredtointhissectionisinwriting,acopyofsuchreport shall be made available to the child or his legal representative.(4) ItshallbethedutyoftheDepartmentor,asthecasemaybe,anyother person asked to furnish a report under subsection (1) above, to complywith any requests for a report under this section.PART IIILegal Capacity and Disabilities of ChildrenCapacity10. In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires -“court” means the Supreme Court, or the Family Court or a magistrates court,depending in each case on the court with some parent jurisdiction to hear thematters referred to the rein;“maintenance”includeseducation;“person”includesanylocalauthority,schoolorinstitution.11. Notwithstandinganythingtothecontrarycontainedinanylawrelatingtothewillsofchildren,amarriedchildmaymakeawillrelatingtohisproperty,real and personal, and of every kind whatever.12.-(1) Achildmaybeappointedanexecutororatrusteebutshallbeincapableofexercisingtheofficeuntilhehasattainedtheageofeighteenyears.Interpretation ofwords used inthis Part.Testamentarycapacity ofmarried child.Child executorsandadministrators.
  22. 22. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.22[ ](2) Letters of administration under any law relating to theadministrationoftheestatesofdeceasedpersonsshallnotbegrantedtoanyonebefore he has attained the age of eighteen years.13. Notwithstandingtheprovisionsofanywrittenlawtothecontrary,andnotwithstandingthatachildisatcommonlawincapableofsuingorauthorizingany person to sue in his own name in any court of law, he may prosecute anyactioninanycourtforanysumofmoneywhichmaybeduetohimforsalary,wagesorpiecework,orforworkasanemployee,inthesamemannerasifhewereoffullage.Guardianship and Custody of Children14. Onthedeathofoneparentofachild,thesurvivingparent,ifany,shall,subject to this Act, be guardian of the child:Provided that if the parents were separated, and the deceased parenthad custody of the child, the surviving parent may be guardian of the childeither alone or jointly with any guardian appointed by the deceased parent,and(a) where no guardian has been appointed by the deceasedparent; or(b) in the event of the death or refusal to act of the guardianor guardians appointed by the deceased parent,thecourtmay,ifitthinksfit,appointaguardiantoactjointlywiththesurvivingparent.15.-(1) The father of a child may by deed or will appoint any person to beguardianofthechildafterhisdeath,providedthatthefatherofachildbornoutof wedlock may only appoint a guardian if he has been granted custody ofsuch child pursuant to section 85.Capacity to takelegal proceedingsin certain cases.Rights ofsurviving parentas toguardianship.Power of fatherand mother toappointtestamentaryguardians.
  23. 23. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]23(2) Themotherofachildmaybydeedorwillappointanypersontobe guardian of the child after her death where she was appointed guardian ofthechildduringherlifetime.(3) Any guardian appointed in accordance with subsection (1) or(2)aboveshallactjointlywiththesurvivingparent,ifany,unlessthesurvivingparent objects to his so acting.(4) Ifthesurvivingparentsoobjects,oriftheguardiansoappointedconsidersthatthesurvivingparentisunfittohavethecustodyofthechild,theguardian may apply to the court, and the court may either -(a) refusetomakeanyorder(inwhichcasethesurvivingparentshall remain sole guardian); or(b) make an order that the guardian so appointed shall -(i) act jointly with the surviving parent; or(ii) be the sole guardian of the child.(5) Where the court makes an order under subsection (4) (b) (ii)above, that a person shall be the sole guardian of a child, the court may -(a) make such order regarding -(i) the custody of the child; and(ii) therightofaccesstothechildofthesurvivingparent,as the court thinks fit, having regard to the welfare of the child; and(b) makeafurtherorderrequiringthesurvivingparenttopaytothe guardian a weekly or other periodical sum towards the
  24. 24. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.24[ ]maintenanceofthechildasthecourtthinksreasonablehavingregardtothemeansofthesurvivingparent.(6) Thepowersconferredbysubsection(4)abovemaybeexercisedat any time and include powers to vary or discharge any order previouslymade under the said subsection.(7) Where guardians are appointed jointly by both parents, theguardianssoappointedshallafterthedeathofthesurvivingparentactjointly.(8) If under section 14 above a guardian has been appointed bythe court to act jointly with a surviving parent, he shall continue to act asguardianafterthedeathofthesurvivingparent,butifthesurvivingparenthasappointed a separate guardian, the guardian appointed by the court shall actjointlywiththeguardianappointedbythesurvivingparent.16.-(1) Subjecttosection33andsection84,themotherofanychildbornoutofwedlockshallbetheguardianofthatchildandthecourtshallbecapableofexercising with respect to the child born to a single woman all the powersconferred upon it by this Act with respect to a child born within wedlock.(2) Subject to subsection (3) below, the mother of any child bornout of wedlock shall have and be entitled to the custody of the said child,untilitattainstheageofeighteenyears.(3) The mother of any child born out of wedlock may be deprivedof her guardianship or custody under this Act by order of the court where-(a) such mother has deserted or abandoned the child in sucha manner likely to endanger the health or well-being ofthe child;(b) such mother is by reason of intemperate or immoralhabits, (such as prostitution or drunkenness,) or for anyGuardianship andcustody of a childborn to a singlewoman.
  25. 25. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]25other reason, unfit to have custody of the child;(c) such mother does not exercise proper care and control ofthe child;(d) the order depriving her of guardianship, if made, will be inthe best interests of the child, and a social servicespractitioner employed by the court has so confirmed;(e) the court is satisfied that there exists some othercircumstances not provided under paragraphs (a) to (d)above which renders the mother unfit to exercise the rightsand assume the duties of guardian; or(f) the father applies for custody and proves to the satisfactionof the court that it is in the child’s best interests for him tohave custody.17. SubjecttothisAct,achild’sparentmayappointaguardianorguardiansto his own child or children as if he were of full age.18.-(1) Where two or more persons act as joint guardians of a child and theyare unable to agree on any question affecting the welfare of the child, any ofthem may apply to the court for its directions, and the court may make suchorder regarding the matters of difference as it may think proper.(2) The power of the court under subsection (1) shall, where one ofthejointguardiansisthesurvivingparentofthechild,includepower-(a) to make such order regarding -(i) the custody of the child; and(ii) the right of access to the child of the survivingPowers ofchild’s parents.Application tocourt for leave ifjoint guardiansdisagree.
  26. 26. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.26[ ]parent, as the court thinks fit, having regard tothe welfare of the child;(b) to make an order requiring the surviving parent to pay aweekly or other periodical sum towards the maintenanceof the child as the court thinks reasonable having regardto the means of the surviving parent;(c) to vary or discharge any order previously made underthis section.19. Withoutprejudicetoanyotherpowersspecificallyvestedonguardiansby virtue of this Act, every guardian under this Act has all such powers overthe estate and the person of a child as any guardian would have had prior tothecomingintoeffectofthisAct.20.-(1) The Court may, upon the application of any of the parents of a child,make such order as it may think fit regarding -(a) the custody of the child; and(b) the right of access to the child of either parent; and(c) any other matter affecting the child,having regard to the age and the best interests of the child and taking intoconsideration the conduct and wishes of the parents and the child.(2) Where the court makes an order under subsection (1) abovegivingthecustodyofthechildtooneparent,itmayfurtherorderthattheotherparentpaystotheparenthavingcustodyofthechildaweeklyorotherperiodicalsumtowardsthemaintenanceofthechildasthecourtthinksreasonablehavingregard to the means of the parents.Powers ofguardians.Court may makeorder as tocustody.
  27. 27. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]27(3) Where any order as to custody of the child or payment to aparentofaperiodicalsumforthemaintenanceofthechildhadbeenpreviouslymade by a court of competent jurisdiction, the court may, if it thinks fit, in theexercise of its power to make an order for the custody or maintenance of thechildunderthissection,dischargethepreviousorderandsubstituteanyorderitmaythinkfit.(4) An order may be made under subsection (1) or (2)notwithstandingthattheparentsofthechildarethenresidingtogether.(5) Anorderundersubsection(1)or(2)maybevariedordischargedby a subsequent order made on the application of either parent or, in the caseofanorderundersubsection(1),afterthedeathofeitherparentontheapplicationofanyguardianunderthisAct.(6) A parent granted custody of, or access rights to, the child undersubsection(1)above,mayapplytothecourttovoluntarilygiveupsuchcustodyor access to the child.21. The court may, in its discretion, on being satisfied that it is in the bestinterests of the child, remove from office any testamentary guardian, or anyguardianappointedoractingbyvirtueofthisAct,andmayalsoifitconsidersitto be for the welfare of the child, appoint another guardian in place of theguardiansoremoved.22. In any case where a decree for judicial separation, or a decree nisi orabsolute for divorce, is pronounced, the court pronouncing the decree may,inexceptional circumstances, and ifit is in the best interests of the child,therebydeclare the parent by reason of whose misconduct the decree is made to be apersonunfittohavethecustodyofthechild,ifany,ofthemarriageand,insuchcase, the parent so declared to be unfit shall not, upon the death of the otherparent, be automatically entitled as of right to the custody or guardianship ofsuch child; provided that the court may, if satisfied, determine whether therehas been a change of circumstances necessitating the grant of custody orGuardianship incase of divorceor judicialseparation.Power of courtto remove orsubstituteguardian.
  28. 28. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.28[ ]guardianshiptosuchparent.23. No agreement contained in any separation deed made between theparentsofachildshallbeheldinvalidbyreasononlyof itsprovidingthatthefatherofsuchchildshallgiveupthecustodyorcontrolthereoftothemother,however,thecourtshallnotenforceanysuchagreement,ifitisoftheopinionthat it will not be for the benefit of the child to give effect thereto.24.-(1) AnypersonforthetimebeingunderanobligationtomakepaymentsinpursuanceofanyorderforthepaymentofmoneyunderthisAct,shallgivenoticeofanychangeofaddresswithinfourteendaystosuchperson,ifany,asmay be specified to receive the money in the order, and any person failingwithout reasonable excuse to give such a notice commits an offence and isliableonsummaryconvictiontoafinenotexceedingtwothousanddollars.(2) Subject to any other law to the contrary, where a maintenanceorderhasbeenmadethecourtshall,inadditiontoanyotherpowersforenforcingcompliancewiththeorder,havepower,inanycasewherethereisanypensionorincomepayabletothepersonagainstwhomtheorderismadeandcapableof being attached, after giving the person by whom the pension or income ispayable an opportunity of being heard, to order that such part as the courtmaythinkfitofanysuchpensionorincomebeattachedandpaidtothepersonnamed by the court.(3) An order under subsection (2) above shall be an authority tothepersonbywhomthepensionorincomeispayabletomakethepaymentsoordered, and the receipt of the person to whom the payment is ordered to bemadeshallbeagooddischargetothepersonbywhomthepensionorincomeispayable.25. Rulesofcourtregulatingthepracticeandprocedureinanyproceedingunder this Act, and the forms in such proceedings, may from time to time bemade.Effect ofseparation deedbetween parents.Enforcement oforders forpayment ofmoney.Rules of court.
  29. 29. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]2926. Where the parent of a child applies to the court for a writ or order forthe production of the child, and the court is of the opinion that the parent hasabandonedordesertedthechild,orthathehasotherwisesoconductedhimselfthat the court should refuse to enforce his right to the custody of the child, thecourt may, in its discretion, decline to issue the writ or make the order.27. Ifatthetimeoftheapplicationforawritororderfortheproductionofthe child, the child is being brought up by another person, the court may, in itsdiscretion, if it orders the child to be given up to the parent, further order thatthe parent pays to such person the whole of the costs properly incurred inbringing up the child, or such portion thereof as shall seem to the court to bejust and reasonable, having regard to the circumstances of the case.28. Where the parent has -(a) abandoned or deserted his child; or(b) allowed his child to be brought up by another person atthat person’s expense for such a length of time and undersuch circumstances as to satisfy the court that the parentwas unmindful of his parental duties,the court shall not make an order for the delivery of the child to the parent,unlesstheparenthassatisfiedthecourtthat,havingregardtothewelfareofthechild, he is a fit and proper person to have the custody of the child.29.-(1) Upon any application by the parent for the production or custody of achild,ifthecourtisoftheopinionthattheparentoughtnottohavethecustodyofthechild,andthatthechildisbeingbroughtupinadifferentreligiontothatinwhichtheparenthasalegalrighttorequirethatthechildshouldbebroughtup,thecourtmay,havingregardtotheageandmaturityofthechild,andifitconsidersit in the best interests of the child, order that the child be brought up in thereligion in which the parent has a legal right to require that the child should bebroughtup.Power of courtto orderrepayment ofcost of bringingup child.Power of courtas to child’sreligiouseducation.Court in makingorder to haveregard toconduct ofparent.Power of courtas to productionof child.
  30. 30. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.30[ ](2) Nothing contained in this section or in sections 26 to 28 shallinterferewithoraffectthepowerofthecourttoconsultthewishesofthechildinconsideringwhatorderoughttobemadeunderthissection,ordiminishtheright which any child now possesses to the exercise of its own free choice.30. Where in any proceeding before any court -(a) the custody or upbringing of a child; or(b) the administration of any property belonging to or heldon trust for a child, or the application of the incomethereof,isinquestion,thecourtshallindecidingthatquestion,regardthewelfareofthechild as the first and paramount consideration, and shall not take intoconsideration whether the claim of the father, in respect of such custody,upbringing, administration or application is superior to that of the mother, orvice-versa.31. NothinginthisActshallrestrictoraffectthejurisdictionofthecourttoappointorremoveguardians.PART IVStatus of Children32. In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires:-“blood samples” means blood taken for the purposes of blood test;“bloodtests”meansbloodtestcarriedoutandincludesanytestmadewiththeobjectofascertainingtheinheritablecharacteristicsofblood;“DNA”meansdeoxyribonucleicacid;Principle on whichquestions relatingto custody,upbringing, etc.,of children are tobe decided.Saving.Interpretation ofphrases used inthis Part.
  31. 31. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]31“DNAanalysis”meansananalysisofthebodilysubstanceandthecomparisonof the results of that analysis with the results of the analysis of the DNA in thebodilysubstanceandincludesanyincidentalteststothatanalysis;“marriage” includes a void or voidable marriage and “married” has acorrespondingmeaning;“Registrar” means the person holding the office of Registrar General undersection 3 of the General Registry Act, and includes any person for the timebeingdischargingthedutiesofthatoffice.33.-(1) For the purposes of the law of Belize, the relationship between everychildandhisfatherandmothershallbedeterminedirrespectiveofwhetherhisfather and mother are or have been married to each other, and all otherrelationships shall be determined accordingly; and subject to subsection (2)below,allthelegalconsequencesofthatrelationshipshallfollowasifthefatherandmotherareorhadbeenmarriedtoeachotheratthetimeofthebirthofthatchild.(2) Where the father and mother of a person were not married toeach other at the time of that person’s birth, then, subject to section 37, thelegal consequences of the relationship of father and child and of any otherrelationshiptracedinanydegreethroughthatrelationshipshallfollowonlyif-(a) the father and mother of the person marry each other atsome time subsequent to the birth of that person; or(b) paternity has been admitted or is otherwise established,except that where the legal consequences of therelationship are of benefit to the father, paternity has beenso admitted or established during the lifetime of the child.(3) Where a person derives citizenship of Belize from his mother,that citizenship shall not be affected by reason only of subsection (2) (b).CAP.327.All children ofequal status.
  32. 32. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.32[ ](4) Subject to subsection (6) below, the rule of constructionwherebyinanyinstrumentwordsofrelationshipshallincludeonlyalegitimaterelationship in the absence of an expression of a contrary intention is herebyabolished.(5) Thissectionshallapplytoallpersons.(6) Nothing in subsections (1), (2) (b) and (4) shall-(a) affect or limit the law relating to citizenship of any person;(b) affect in any way any rule of law relating to the domicileof any person;(c) limit or affect any of the provisions of this Act relative tothe adoption of children;(d) affecttheconstructionoftheword“heir”orofanyexpressionwhichisusedtocreateanentailedinterestinrealorpersonalproperty.34.-(1) All dispositions made before the commencement of this Act shall begoverned by the enactments and rules of law which would have applied tothem if this Act had not been passed.(2) Whereanydispositiontowhichsubsection(1)appliescreatesaspecialpowerofappointment,nothinginthisActshallextendtotheclassofpersonsinwhosefavourtheappointmentmaybemade,orcausetheexerciseofthepowertobeconstruedsoastoincludeanypersonwhoisnotamemberofthatclass.(3) The estates of all persons who have died intestate as to thewhole or any part thereof before the commencement of this Act shall bedistributedinaccordancewithenactmentsandrulesoflawwhichwouldhaveapplied to them if this Act had not been passed.Transitionalprovisionsrelating to wills,and otherinstruments andto intestacies.
  33. 33. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]33(4) In this section, “disposition” means a disposition, including anoral disposition, of real or personal property whether inter vivos or by will orcodicil;andnotwithstandinganyruleoflaw,adispositionmadebywillorcodicilandexecutedbeforethedateofcommencementofthisActshall,notwithstandingsection 50 of the Wills Act, not be treated for the purposes of this section asmadeonorafterthatdatebyreasononlythatthewillorcodicilisconfirmedbya codicil executed on or after that date.35.-(1) A child born to a woman during her marriage, or within ten monthsafter the marriage has been dissolved by death or otherwise, shall, in theabsence of evidence to the contrary, be presumed to have been born of thatmarriage, but this presumption may be rebutted by evidence to the contrary.(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply if, during the whole of the timewithinwhichthechildmusthavebeenconceived,themotherandherhusbandwere living apart under an oral or written agreement for separation, or under adecree or order of separation, or decree nisi of divorce, made by a court orothercompetentauthorityinBelizeorelsewhere.(3) Subsection (1) shall not apply where a child is born within tenmonthsofthedissolutionofthemarriageofitsmotherandaftershehasmarriedagain, and in such case there shall be no presumption as between the husbandof the mother and her former husband that either is the father of the child, andthe case shall be determined on the probabilities in each case.36.-(1) For the purpose of the administration or distribution of any propertyheld upon trust, or for any other purposes, every executor, administrator, andtrustee shall, whenever it is material in the circumstances, make honest andreasonableinquiriesastotheexistenceofanypersonwhocouldclaimaninterestin the estate or property by reason only of this Act, but shall not be obliged topursue such inquiries further than he honestly and reasonably believes to benecessary.(2) NoactionshalllieagainstanyexecutorofthewilloradministratorCAP.203.Presumptions asto parenthood.Protection ofexecutors,administratorsand trustees.
  34. 34. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.34[ ]or trustee of the estate of any person, or the trustee under any instrument, attheinstanceofanypersonwhocouldclaimaninterestintheestateorpropertyby reason of the executor or administrator or trustee having made anydistribution of the estate or of property held upon trust or otherwise acted inadministrationoftheestateorpropertyheldontrustdisregardingtheclaimsofthatpersonwhereatthetimeofmakingthedistributionorotherwisesoactingthe executor, administrator, or trustee had no notice of the relationship onwhich the claim is based, provided the executor or administrator or trusteehad made such inquiries as are required under subsection (1).(3) Nothing in this section shall prejudice the right of any personclaiminganinterestintheestateorpropertyaforesaid(whichinterestisallegedbytheclaimanttohaveexistedatthetimetheexecutor,administratorortrusteemadethedistributionorotherwiseactedasaforesaid)tofollowsuchestateorproperty or any property representing it into the hands of any person, otherthan a purchaser, who may have received it.37.-(1) Therelationshipoffatherandchild,andanyotherrelationshiptracedin any degree through that relationship and the legal consequences thereofshall, for any purpose related to succession to property or to the constructionof any will or other testamentary disposition or of any instrument creating atrust,berecognizedandshallfollowonlyif-(a) the father and the mother of the child were married toeach other at the time of its conception or at somesubsequent time; or(b) paternity has been admitted by or otherwise establishedduring the lifetime of the father; except that where thepurpose of such an admission is for the benefit of thefather, the paternity should have been so admitted orestablished during the lifetime of the child.(2) NothinginthissectionshalllimitoraffecttheprovisionsofthisRecognition ofrelationship forthe purpose ofsuccession toproperty.
  35. 35. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]35Actdealingwiththeadoptionofchildren.38.-(1) Where,pursuanttosection13oftheRegistrationofBirthsandDeathsAct, or to the corresponding provisions of any former enactment, the name ofthefatherofthechildtowhomtheentryrelateshasbeenenteredintheregisterof births (whether before or after the commencement of this Act), a certifiedcopyoftheentrydeliveredbytheRegistrarunderhishandinaccordancewithsection 43 of that Act or sealed in accordance with section 44 of the said Actshall be prima facie evidence that the person named is the father of the child:Providedthattheprovisionsofthissectionshallapplyonlywhereboththe mother and the person acknowledging himself to be the father of the childconsented to the entry.(2) Anyinstrumentsignedbythemotherofachildandbyanypersonacknowledgingthatheisthefatherofthechildshall,ifexecutedasadeedorbyeach of those persons in the presence of an attorney-at-law or other personauthorised in that behalf, be prima facie evidence that the person named is thefatherofthechild.(3) An order made by the court under section 85 shall be primafacie evidence of paternity in any subsequent proceedings, whether or notbetween the same parties.(4) Subjecttosection37(1),adeclarationofpaternityundersection40 shall be conclusive proof of paternity for all purposes.(5) An order made by the court under section 85 shall be primafacie evidence of paternity for all purposes.(6) The Minister may from time to time, by Order published in theGazette, declare that subsection (5) applies with respect to orders made byany court or public authority in any specified country outside Belize or by anyspecifiedcourtorpublicauthorityinanysuchcountry.Evidence andproof ofpaternity.CAP.157.
  36. 36. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.36[ ]39.-(1) Anyinstrumentofthekinddescribedinsection38(2),oraduplicateorattestedcopyofanysuchinstrument,mayintheprescribedmannerandonpaymentoftheprescribedfee(ifany)befiledintheofficeoftheRegistrar,butthevalidityoreffectofsuchaninstrumentshallnotbeaffectedbythefailuretofileitintheofficeoftheRegistrar.(2) TheRegistrarGeneralshallcauseindicesofallinstrumentsandduplicatesandcopiesofinstrumentsfiledwithhimundersubsection(1)tobemadeandkeptinhisoffice,andshall,upontherequestofanypersonwho,intheopinionoftheRegistrarGeneral,hasaproperinterestinthematter,causea search of any index to be made, and shall permit any such person to inspectany such duplicates or copies.(3) Where the Family Court or a magistrates court makes anaffiliation order, the Clerk of Court shall cause a copy of the declaration andalso a copy of any such order of the court to be filed in his office under thissectionasifsuchdeclarationororderwereaninstrumentofthekinddescribedin section 38 (2).40.-(1) Any person who -(a) being a woman, alleges that any named person is thefather of her child; or(b) alleges that the relationship of father and child existsbetween himself and any other person; or(c) beingapersonhavingaproperinterestintheresult,wishesto have it determined whether the relationship of fatherand child exists between two named persons,mayapplyinsuchmannerasmaybeprescribedbyrulesofcourttotheSupremeCourtforadeclarationofpaternity,andifitisprovedtothesatisfactionofthecourtthattherelationshipexiststheCourtmaymakeadeclarationofpaternityInstrument ofacknowledgementmay be filed withRegistrar.Power of SupremeCourt to makedeclaration ofpaternity.
  37. 37. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]37whether or not the father or the child or both of them are living or dead.(2) Whereadeclarationofpaternityundersection(1)ismadeafterthedeathofthefatherorofthechild,thecourtmayatthesameoranysubsequenttime make a declaration determining, for the purposes of section 37 (1) (b),whetheranyoftherequirementsofthatsubsectionhavebeensatisfied.41.-(1) In any civil proceedings in which the paternity of any person is to bedeterminedbyacourt,thecourthearingtheproceedingsmay,onanapplicationby any party to the proceedings, give a direction for the use of blood tests orDNA analysis to ascertain whether such tests show that a party to theproceedingsisorisnottherebyexcludedfrombeingthefatherofthepersonofwhomitisallegedheisthefatherandforthetakingwithinthetimespecifiedinthedirection,ofbloodsamplesfromthatperson,themotherofthatpersonandthe party alleged to be the father of that person, or from any of them.(2) A court may at any time revoke or vary a direction previouslygivenbyitunderthissection.(3) Thepersonresponsibleforcarryingoutanybloodteststakeninaccordance with a court direction given under this section shall, in a reportmade in the prescribed form, state to the court from which the direction wasgiven-(a) the results of the tests; and(b) whether the party to whom the report relates is or is notexcluded from being the father of the person as to whosepaternity the declaration is sought; and(c) if that party is not so excluded, the value, if any, of theresults in determining whether that party is that person’sfather,Court may directthat blood testsor DNA betaken.
  38. 38. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.38[ ]andthecourtshallreceivethereportasevidenceofthemattersstatedtherein.(4) The court, or any party to the proceedings with leave of thecourt, may require the person responsible for carrying out the blood tests toprovide a written explanation or amplification of any statement made in thereport and such explanation or amplification of any statement made in thereport shall be deemed to be part of the report made to the court.(5) Apartytotheproceedingsshallnot,unlessthecourtotherwisedirects, be entitled to call as a witness the person responsible for carrying outthe blood tests or any person by whom anything necessary for the purpose ofenabling such tests to be carried out was done unless within fourteen days ofreceiving a copy of the report he serves notice on the other parties to theproceedings or on such of them as the court may direct of his intention to callthatperson;andwheresuchpersoniscalledasawitnessthepartywhocalledhimshallbeentitledtocross-examinehim.(6) Thecostoftakingandtestingbloodsamplesforthepurposeofgiving effect to a direction of the court given under subsection (1) above andofmakingareporttothecourtshallbepaidbythepartyonwhoseapplicationsuch direction was given, but the amount so paid shall be treated as costsincurred by that party in the proceedings.42.-(1) Subject to subsections (3) and (4) below, a blood sample which isrequired to be taken from any person for the purpose of giving effect to adirectionundersection41shallnotbetakenfromthatpersonexceptwithhisconsent.(2) The consent of a child to the taking from himself of a bloodsample shall be as effective as it would be if he were of full age; and where achildhasbyvirtueofthissubsectiongivenaneffectiveconsenttothetakingofblood sample it shall not be necessary to obtain any consent for it from anyother person.Consents, etc.,required fortaking of bloodsamples.
  39. 39. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]39(3) Subject to subsection (2), a blood sample may be taken from achild, not being such a person referred to in subsection (4), if the person whohas the care and control of him consents.(4) A blood sample may be taken from a person who is sufferingfrommentaldisorderandisincapableofunderstandingthenatureandpurposeofbloodtestsifthepersonwhohasthecareandcontrolofhimconsentsorthemedical practitioner in whose care he is has certified that the taking of bloodsample from him will not be prejudicial to his proper care and treatment.(5) Theforegoingprovisionsofthissectionarewithoutprejudicetothe provisions of section 43.43.-(1) Where a court gives a direction under section 41 and any person failstotakeanysteprequiredofhimforthetakingofbloodforthepurposeofgivingeffecttothedirection,thecourtmaydrawsuchinference,ifany,fromthatfactas appear proper in the circumstances.(2) Where in any proceedings in which the paternity of any personfailstobedeterminedbythecourthearingtheproceedingsandthepresumptionof law set out in section 35 arises, then if -(a) a direction is given under section 41 in those proceedings;and(b) any party who is claiming any relief in the proceedings andwho for the purpose of obtaining that relief is entitled torely on the presumption fails to take any steps required ofhim for the purpose of giving effect to the direction,thecourtmayadjournthehearingforsuchperiodsasitthinksfittoenablethatparty to take that step, and if at the end of that period he has failed withoutreasonable cause to take it the court may, without prejudice to subsection (1),dismisshisclaimforreliefnotwithstandingtheabsenceofevidencetorebuttheFailure tocomply withdirections.
  40. 40. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.40[ ]presumption.(3) Where any person named in a direction under section 41 failsto consent to the taking of blood sample from himself or from any personnamedinthedirectionofwhomhehasthecareandcontrol,heshallbedeemedforthepurposesofthissectiontohavefailedtotakeasteprequiredofhimforthepurposeofgivingeffecttothedirection.44. Where,forthepurposeofprovidingabloodsampleforatestrequiredto give effect to a direction under section 41, a person personates another, orproffers a child knowing that it is not the child named in the direction, thatperson commits an offence and is liable -(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a periodnot exceeding two years; or(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a period notexceeding twelve months.45.-(1) TheMinistermay,byregulations,makeprovisionsastothemannerofgiving directions under section 41, and without prejudice to the generality oftheforegoing,suchregulationsmay-(a) require the production at the time when a blood sampleis taken of such evidence as to the identity of the personfrom whom it is taken as may be prescribed by theregulations;(b) require any person from whom a blood sample is taken,or in such cases as may be prescribed by the regulations,such other person as may be so prescribed, to state inwriting whether he or the person from whom the sampleis taken, as the case may be, has during such period asmay be specified in the regulations suffered from any suchPenalty forpersonatinganother, etc., forpurpose ofproviding bloodsample.Regulationsrelating to bloodtests and othertests.
  41. 41. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]41illness as may be so specified or received a transfusion ofblood;(c) provide that blood tests shall not be carried out except bysuch person, and at such places, as may be appointed bythe Minister;(d) prescribe the blood tests to be carried out and the mannerin which they are to be carried out;(e) regulate the charges that may be made for the taking andtesting of blood samples and for the making of a report toa court under section 41;(f) makeprovisionsforsecuringthatsofaraspracticablebloodsamples to be tested for the purpose of giving effect to adirection under section 41 are tested by the same person;(g) prescribe the form of the report to be made to a courtunder section 41.(2) TheMinistermayalsomakeregulations-(a) providing for DNA analysis and the circumstances whensuch analysis may be made;(b) providing that DNA analysis shall not be carried out exceptby such person and at such places (whether within oroutside Belize) as may be appointed by the Minister;(c) prescribing the manner in which the DNA analysis is to becarried out;(d) regulating the charges that may be made for the taking of
  42. 42. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.42[ ]DNA analysis and for the making of a report to a court;(e) providing that DNA analysis shall not be done withoutconsent;(f) making provision where there is a failure to comply witha direction to undertake a DNA analysis;(g) prescribing the form of the report to the court of a DNAanalysis.PART VSupport of Children by Government46.-(1) It is a general duty of the Government -(a) to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; and(b) to mediate in any situation where the rights of a child areinfringed upon and especially with regard to the protectionof a child, the child’s health and education, and the child’ssuccession rights to the property of his parents.(2) The Department shall keep a register of disabled children andshall provide assistance and accommodation for any disabled child in needwho appears to require such assistance and accommodation as a result ofhaving been lost or abandoned or seeking refuge.47. Anymemberofthecommunitywhohasevidencethatachild’srightsarebeinginfringed,orthataparent,guardianoranypersonhavingcustodyofachildisable,butrefusesorneglects,toprovidethechildwithadequatefood,shelter, clothing, medical care or education, has a moral obligation to reportthe matter to the Department or the Family Court or a magistrates court.Duty ofGovernment tosafeguardchildren.Duty to reportinfringements ofchild’s rights.
  43. 43. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]43PART VIFamily MaintenanceMaintenance Rights and Duties of Members of the Family asBetween Themselves48.-(1) Everymanisherebyrequiredtomaintainhisownchildrenandalso-(a) every child, whether born in wedlock or not, which hiswife may have living with her at the time of her marriagewith him; and(b) the children of any child of his;solongassuchchildrenrespectivelyareunabletomaintainthemselves.(2) In regard to subsection (1) (b), an obligation to maintain willonly arise where the father or mother of the child is ill or where neither parentcan be located, or where they are unable to maintain themselves as aforesaid.49.-(1) Everywidowandunmarriedwomanisherebyrequiredtomaintainherownchildren,andeverywomanhavingchildrentowhomanymanisprimarilyboundundersection48tomaintain,isherebyrequiredtomaintainthosechildrenintheeventofhisfailingtoperformhisobligation.(2) Everywomanisherebyrequiredtomaintainthechildrenofanychild that she has had, in the event of the parents of those children and of anymanprimarilyboundundersection48tomaintainthemfailingtodoso,solongas they respectively are under the age of eighteen years, or are by reason ofbodilyormentalinfirmityunabletomaintainthemselves.50.-(1) Every person born in wedlock has a moral obligation to maintain hisfatherormother,andgrandfathersandgrandmothersincasethefatherormotherDuty of man tomaintainchildren.Duty of womanto maintainchildren.Duty of child tomaintain parents.
  44. 44. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.44[ ]or grandfather or grandmother is, by reason of old age or bodily or mentalinfirmity,unabletomaintainhimselforherself.(2) Every person not born in wedlock has a moral obligation tomaintain his mother, and also the man, if any, with whom his mother openlycohabitedwithatthetimeofhisbirth,ifthatmanrecognizedandtreatedhimas his child during his childhood, in cases where the father or mother or thatother person as aforesaid or all or any of those persons are, by reason of oldage, or bodily or mental infirmity, unable to maintain himself, herself orthemselves.51. For the purposes of this Act, every child under eighteen years of ageshallbedeemedunabletomaintainhimselfbyreasonoftenderage,unlessthecontraryisshown.Proceedings to Enforce Right to Maintenance52.-(1) Any person entitled to be maintained by another person under thisAct, or any person having the care and custody of a child so entitled, may, ifthe person, or some one of the persons, if more than one, liable to maintainhim or that child, fails to do so, make a complaint before a magistrate.(2) The magistrate shall inquire into the matter and, if it appearsthat the complainant or the child is entitled to be maintained by the person orpersons against whom the complaint is made, and that that person or thosepersons have neglected to comply with the requirements of this Act, he shallsummon him or them to appear before the court at a time and place to bementionedinthesummonstoanswerthematterofthecomplaint.(3) If any person entitled under this Act to be maintained by someother person or persons becomes chargeable to any Government departmentor agency, any person authorised by the head of that department or agencymay make complaint before a magistrate on behalf of the person who hasbecomechargeabletotheGovernmentdepartmentoragency,andthereuponBurden of proofas to ability ofchild to maintainhimself.Mode ofcompellingperformance ofduties imposedby this Act.
  45. 45. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]45themagistrateshallproceedinthesamewayasifthepersonhadhimselfmadethecomplaint.53.-(1) Any person who has custody of a child and who is -(a) the mother of the child;(b) the father of the child; or(c) the guardian of the child,may make an application for a maintenance order against the father or motherof the child, as the case may be.54. At the time and place mentioned in the summons, the magistrate shallproceed to inquire into the matter and, if satisfied that the complainant or theperson on whose behalf the complaint is made is entitled under this Act to bemaintainedbythepartyagainstwhomthecomplaintismade,andthatthepartyagainstwhomacomplainthasbeenmadehasneglectedhisdutyinthatrespect,shall proceed to inquire into his means and if satisfied that he is capable ofmaintainingorcontributingtothemaintenanceofthecomplainant,orthepersononwhosebehalfthecomplaintismade,heshallproceedtomakeamaintenanceorder against him, directing him to pay, either to the complainant or to someperson approved by the magistrate and to be named in the order, a periodicalsumwhich,havingregardtothemeansofthepartyorpartiesagainstwhomthecomplaint is made and all the circumstances of the case, the magistrate thinksjust:Provided that if the complaint has been made under subsection (3) ofsection 52 by a person authorised by the head of a Government department oragency,themagistrate,intheorder,ifheseesfit,mayorderthepartyorpartiesagainst whom the complaint is made to pay some person to be named in theorder, a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars a week for every week duringwhichtheGovernmentdepartmentoragencyhasgivenrelief,suchsum,however,Proceedings onhearing ofcomplaint.Application forchildmaintenanceorder.
  46. 46. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.46[ ]not to exceed the amount of that relief.55. Subject to section 64, any order of maintenance made under this Actshall, in the case of a child, be deemed to be in force until the child attains theage of eighteen years and, in the case of any other person, for the periodnamedintheorder:Provided that -(a) the order may be renewed at any time by any magistratehaving jurisdiction to make an order;(b) where the person to be maintained is unable to maintainhimself by reason of old age or by reason of an illness orinfirmity likely to be permanent, as determined by aregistered medical practitioner, the magistrate may makethe order of maintenance for the rest of the natural life ofthat person.56. Any person against whom any order has been made under this Actmayatanytimeapplytoanymagistrate,havingjurisdictiontomaketheorder,tocancelit,and,ifhesatisfiesthemagistrateondueinquirythathehasceasedto be capable of maintaining or contributing to the maintenance, because ofillness or physical or mental disability, or any change in his circumstances,(financial or otherwise), or that the person whom he was ordered to maintainisnolongerunabletomaintainhimself,themagistratemaycanceltheorder.57.-(1) Anypersonwho,beingrequiredbythisActtomaintainanother,departsfrom his usual place of abode with a view to evade any liability for suchmaintenance, or of any payments which he has been ordered to make for themaintenanceofanother,commitsanoffenceandonsummaryconviction,onthecomplaintofthepersonauthorisedbytheheadofaGovernmentdepartment,or of any person entitled under this Act to make a complaint, or of any policeofficer,isliabletoafinenotexceedingthreethousanddollars,ortoimprisonmentCancellation oforder in certaincases.Limitation of timefor operation oforder ofmaintenance.Absconding toavoid liability formaintenance.
  47. 47. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]47for any term not exceeding six months, or to both such fine and term ofimprisonment.(2) Anysalary,wagesormoneyduetothatpersonshallbeliabletosatisfythearrearsofanypaymentsorderedtobemadeundertheprovisionsofthis Act, and may be attached under the order of the magistrate before whomthe person has been tried and convicted, and be required to be paid to theperson entitled under the maintenance order to receive them.58. Wheneveranyspouseisapatientinamentalhospital,orhospital,orisan inmate in a house for the aged, or is in a rehabilitation center provided ormaintainedbytheGovernmentoutofpublicmoneys,theotherspouseisrequiredto contribute towards the maintenance of such spouse therein, and sections 59to 61 below shall apply in that case and, for the purposes of those sections,every spouse shall be deemed a person entitled to be maintained by the otherspousewithinthemeaningofthisAct:Providedthatthesumwhichthecontributingspouseshallberequiredto pay shall be based on his personal circumstances and ability to pay.Maintenance of Persons in Public Institutions59. IfanypersonwhoisentitledunderthisActtobemaintainedbyanotheror others is a patient in a mental hospital, or hospital, or is a resident of a homefor the aged or child care center, or is in a rehabilitation center, being providedormaintainedbytheGovernmentoutofpublicmoneys,thepersonauthorisedby the head of the Government department or agency may make a complaintbeforeamagistrate,whoshallthereuponinquireintothemattersand,ifitappearstohimthatanysuchpersonisentitledtobemaintainedbyanypersonorpersonsunderthisAct,heshallsummonthepersonorpersonsliableunderthisActforthemaintenanceoftheotherpersontoappearbeforehimatatimeandplacetobe mentioned in the summons, and to show cause why he or they should notcontribute towards the maintenance of that person.Liability ofhusband to payfor spouse’smaintenance inmental hospital,etc.Orders in respectof persons inmental hospitals,etc.
  48. 48. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.48[ ]60. Atthetimeandplacementionedinthesummonsreferredtoinsection59above,themagistrateshallproceedtoinquireintothematterand,ifsatisfiedthatthepersoninrespectofwhomthecomplaintismadeisentitledunderthisAct to be maintained by the party or parties against whom the complaint ismade,shallproceedtoinquireintohisortheirmeansand,ifsatisfiedthatheorthey or any of them, is or are of sufficient ability to maintain or contributetowards the maintenance of the person in respect of whom the complaint ismade,heshallproceedtomakeanorderagainsthimorthem,orderinghimorthemtopaytothepersonauthorisedbytheheadoftheGovernmentdepartmentoragencysuchperiodicalsumwhich,havingregardtohisortheirmeans,andall circumstances of the case, the magistrate thinks just, and any further sum,not exceeding the sum of one hundred dollars a week for every week duringwhichthepersoninrespectofwhomthecomplaintwasmadehasbeeninthehospital,mentalhospital,homefortheaged,childcarecenterorrehabilitationcenter as aforesaid:Provided that -(a) the order shall stand discharged upon the death of theperson in respect of whom it was made, or upon hisdischarge from the hospital, mental hospital, house forthe aged, child care centre, or rehabilitation centre, asthe case may be;(b) if the person against whom an order is made under thissection has previously had an order made against himunder section 54 in respect of the same person, the last-mentioned order shall not be enforced so long as the ordermade under this section is enforceable; and(c) no order shall be made under section 54 so long as anyorder under this section remains in force in respect of thesame person.Proceedings fororders undersection 59.
  49. 49. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]4961.-(1) AnyordermadeunderthisAct,ifthepaymentsandprocedurerequiredby it to be made, or any of them, is or are in arrears, may be enforced bydistress,inthemannerprescribedintheSummaryJurisdiction(Procedure)Act,and except as otherwise provided by this Act, all proceedings under this Actshall be as nearly as possible according to the procedure under that Act.(2) Where the court makes an order under this Act for the paymentofmoneyperiodicallybyonepersontoanother,itmay,ifitthinksfit,orderthatthepaymentshallbemadethroughthecollectingofficerappointedundersection63belowandthereuponalltheprovisionsofthisPartrelatingtothecollectionofmoneyunderaffiliationordersshall,mutatismutandis,applytothecollectionofallsumsofmaintenancemoneypayableperiodicallypursuanttothisAct.62. AnypersonagainstwhomanorderhasbeenmadeunderthisActmayappeal from that order to the Supreme Court under and in accordance with theprovisions of Part X of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act.Collection of Money Payable Under Maintenance Orders63.-(1) The magistrate of each district shall appoint, for the purposes of thisAct,theclerkofthecourttobethecollectingofficerinthatdistrictinrespectofany maintenance order made for a child born out of wedlock.(2) Whenever it may appear necessary, a magistrate may, with theapproval of the Minister, appoint an additional collecting officer or additionalcollectingofficers.64.-(1) When a magistrate makes a maintenance order for a child born out ofwedlock,heshall,unlessuponrepresentationexpresslymadeinthatbehalfbytheapplicantforthemaintenanceorderheissatisfiedthatitisundesirabletodoso, provide in that order that all payments under the maintenance order bemade to the collecting officer of the district in which such order is made andthereuponallpaymentsmadethereundershallbemadetothecollectingofficerand not otherwise.Appeal to theSupreme Court.CAP.91.Collection officerto be appointedfor each districtby magistrate.Power to orderpayments to bemade throughcollection officer.Enforcement oforder.CAP.99.
  50. 50. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.50[ ](2) Payment of the amount so ordered may be made to thecollecting officer in person or by letter sent by registered post addressed tothe collecting officer and posted in time to be delivered to him on the dayappointedforpayment.(3) The collecting officer shall receive all payments made to himunder this Act and shall make payment to the mother of the child born out ofwedlock or to such other person as is named in the maintenance order of thesumdirectedtobepaidthereunderorsuchpartthereofashereceiveswithoutanydeductiontherefrom.(4) Where the maintenance order provides that payment be madetothecollectingofficertheapplicantfortheordershallthereuponstatetothecollectingofficerhernearestpostofficeaddress.(5) Subjecttosubsection(6)below,paymentshallbemadebythecollectingofficerdirectlytothemotherofthechildbornoutofwedlockortosuch other person as is named in the maintenance order at the office of thecollectingofficerweeklyifsuchmotherorpersonresidesinthetowninwhichsuchofficeissituate.(6) In any other cases, payment shall be made by the collectingofficerbysendingfortnightlytotheclerkofthecourtofthemagistratescourtinthedistrictinwhichthemotherresidesthesumscollectedonherbehalfandthe said clerk of the court shall pay the same to the mother on demand.65.-(1) Whenamaintenanceorderhasbeenmade,themagistrateofthedistrictinwhichtheorderhasbeenmademay,aftergivingthefatheranopportunityofbeingheardifsuchfatherhaswithoutreasonablecausemadeadefaultundertheorder,atanytimeinanycasewherethereisanysalary,pensionorincomepayabletothefatherandcapableofbeingattached,orderthatsuchanamounteachweekasisspecifiedinthemaintenanceorder,oranypartofsuchamount,as the case may be, be attached and paid to the collecting officer.Attachment ofpension orincome.
  51. 51. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]51(2) Such order shall be sufficient authority to the person by whomsuchsalary,pensionorincomeispayabletomakethepaymentsoordered,andthe receipt of the collecting officer shall be a good discharge to such person tothe extent of the amount so paid.66. Where by a maintenance order it is provided that payment be made tothecollectingofficer,thefatherorthemotherorguardianofthechildbornoutof wedlock if he or she changes his or her place of residence, or the personentitledtoreceivethemaintenancemoneyshallgivenoticethereoftothecollectingofficer and on failure to do so without reasonable cause commits an offenceandisliableonsummaryconvictiontoafinenotexceedingfivehundreddollars.67. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any Act limiting the timewithin which summary proceedings are to be taken, such limitation shall notapply to proceedings for enforcing the payment of sums due under an ordermadeinpursuanceofthisActaslongassuchorderremainsinforcepursuanttosection 55.68. The Minister may make rules and prescribe forms for carrying intoeffect sections 63, 64 and 69.69.-(1)Ifatanytimeaftertheexpirationoffourteencleardaysfromthemakingofamaintenanceorder,itappearstoamagistrateuponoathoraffirmationthatanysumtobepaidinpursuanceoftheorderhasnotbeenpaid,thatmagistratemaybyissueofawarrantcausethefathertobebroughtbeforeanymagistrate.(2) Ifthefatherneglectsorrefusestomakepaymentofthesumsduefromhimundertheorder,ortherehasbeenanycommitmentfordisobedienceto the order under subsection (3), together with costs attending such warrant,arrest and bringing up of the father, the magistrate may by warrant direct thesum appearing to be due, together with the costs, to be recovered by distressand sale of the goods and chattels of the father.(3) In making an order under subsection (1), the magistrate mayNotice of changeof address.Limitation periodnot to apply toproceedings toenforce paymentunder order.Recovery ofpayments inarrear.Rules and forms.
  52. 52. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.52[ ]order the father to be detained and kept in safe custody until return canconvenientlybemadetothewarrantofdistress,unlessthefathergivessufficientsecuritybywayofrecognisanceorotherwisetothesatisfactionofthemagistrate,for his appearance before the magistrate on the day which may be appointedforthereturnofthewarrantofdistress,suchdaynotbeingmorethanseventydaysfromthetimeoftakinganysuchsecurity.(4) Ifuponthereturnofsuchwarrant,orifbytheadmissionofthefather, it appears that no sufficient distress can be had, then the magistrateshall, by warrant under his hand, cause the father to be committed to prison,theretoremainforanytermnotexceedingthreemonthsunlesssuchsumandcosts and all reasonable charges attending the said distress together with thecosts and charges of the committal and conveyance to prison be sooner paidandsatisfied.(5) When a magistrate commits a father to prison under this Act,unlessthemagistrateotherwisedirects,noarrearsshallaccrueundertheorderduring the time the father is in prison; provided that arrears shall continue tooccur once the father has been released from prison.70. Subject to the provisions of sections 55 and 71, a maintenance ordershall not, except for the purpose of recovering money previously due underthe order, be of any validity after the child has attained the age of eighteenyears or has died.71.-(1)If,ontheapplicationoftheparentorguardianofachild,itappearstothecourtthatthechildisorwillbeengagedinacourseofeducationortrainingafterattainingtheageeighteenyears,orthatthechildissufferingfromamentalor physical disability, and that it is therefore expedient for payments to bemade under the order after the child attains that age, then subject tosubsection (2) below, the court may by order direct that payments be somade for such period not exceeding three years from the date of the order asmay be specified in the order.Duration of order.Continuance ofpayment in certaincases.
  53. 53. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]53(2) Theperiodspecifiedinanordermadeundersubsection(1)mayfrom time to time be extended by a subsequent order so made, but shall not inany case extend beyond the date when the child attains the age of twenty-oneyearsexceptinthecaseofadisabledchildorachildpursuingfulltimeeducation.72.-(1) Where an order for the payment of a weekly sum has been made, themagistrate of the district in which the person who is, or has been, entitled toreceivepaymentundertheorderresidesmay,atanytimeonapplicationeitherby the person who is or has been entitled to payment, or by the father, vary theexisting order by increasing or decreasing the amount payable thereunder, orrevoketheorderorreviveanyorderwhichhasbeenrevoked,asthemagistratehavingregardtoallthecircumstances,thinksproper.(2) An order for maintenance against a father or mother shall ceaseto have effect on custody of the child being granted to that father or mother orother person in his or her place by the court.(3) An order for maintenance may be made and enforced againstthe estate of a deceased person who has been declared the father or mother ofthe child under a declaration of parentage.(4) Where a declaration of parentage has been made, an order forrecovery of arrears of expenses incurred in the maintenance of a child may bemade even after the death of the child.73. Onthehearingofacomplaintfortheenforcement,revocation,revival,variationordischargeofamaintenanceorder,thecourtmayremitthewholeorany part of the sum due under the order if the person responsible to pay suchmaintenancewaspreventedfromdoingsoduetoillnessormentaldisability.74.-(1) Allmoneypayableunderamaintenanceordershallbedueandpayableto the applicant unless an order of custody has been made, in which case, themoney shall be due and payable to the person having custody of the child.Variation orrevocation ofmaintenanceorders.Power to remitarrears.Money to bepaid to applicantor custodian.
  54. 54. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.54[ ](2) The court may also order that the money shall be paid intocourt and then paid to the applicant or custodian in a manner and subject toany condition as the court may direct.75.-(1) Wheneveramaintenanceorderismadeagainstthefatherormother,acourt may, at the time of making the order or from time to time thereafter, onbeingsatisfiedthattheapplicant-(a) is not a fit and proper person to have custody of the child;or(b) is dead, or has become of unsound mind, or is in prison,appointapersonwhoiswillingtohavecustodyofthechildtobethecustodianofthechild.(2) Theappointmentofacustodianmaybemadeontheapplicationofasocialservicespractitionerorofthepersonhavingcustodyofthechildorof the person against whom the maintenance order is made.(3) The appointment of a custodian may be revoked and anotherperson appointed to have custody of the child.(4) A custodian shall have power to apply for the recovery of allpayments in arrears becoming due under a maintenance order as any otherapplicant would have been entitled to do.(5) Where any order of appointment or of revocation of theappointment of a custodian is made, the court may also order the child to bedelivered to the person appointed to have custody of the child.(6) If a child in respect of whom a maintenance order has beenmadeiswrongfullyremovedfromthepersoninwhosecustodyheis,thecourtmay,ontheapplicationofthecustodian,uponreviewofareportonthematter,Appointment ofcustodian.
  55. 55. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]55make an order that the custody of the child be recommitted to the applicant.(7) Any person who contravenes an order made under subsection(6)commitsanoffenceandshallbeliableonsummaryconvictiontoafinenotexceedingfivethousanddollarsortwoyearsimprisonment,ortobothsuchfineandtermofimprisonment.76. Apersonwhohascustodyofachildcommitsanoffenceifhemisappliesany money paid for the maintenance of the child, and in such circumstancescustody may be varied in the best interests of the child.Maintenance during Divorce, Separation or Nullity77.-(1) Inallcasesofdivorce,separationornullity,bothparentsshallcontinuetomaintainandeducatetheirchild,subjecttotheirpersonalcircumstancesandabilitytopay.(2) Where the child is in the custody of one parent, the other parentshall have reasonable access to the child.78. Where the court is satisfied on information from a social servicespractitionerthattheparentwhohascustodyofthechildiswilfullyneglectingormistreating the child, custody may be granted to the other parent.PART VIIParentage of ChildrenInterpretation79. In this Part, “single woman” includes a widow and a married womanwhoislivingapartfromherhusband.Misapplyingmaintenancemoney.Maintenanceduring divorce,separation ornullity.Variation ofcustody.Interpretation ofwords used inthis Part.
  56. 56. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.56[ ]Application for Declaration of Paternity80.-(1) Any single woman who is with child, or who has been delivered of achildmay-(a) either before the birth of that child; or(b) at any time within three years after the birth of that child;or(c) at any subsequent time upon proof that the man allegedto be the father of the child has within the five years nextafter the birth of the child paid money for its maintenance;or(d) at any time within the twelve months next after the returnto Belize of the man alleged to be the father of the child,upon proof that he ceased to reside in Belize within thefive years next after the birth of that child,make application to the magistrate of the district in which she resides forsummons for a declaration of parentage to be served on the man alleged byher to be the father of the child.(2) A single woman who has been delivered of a child may, uponproof that -(a) before the birth she was party to a marriage which wouldhave been valid but for the provisions of any law makingit void on account of her, or the other party to themarriage, being under the age at which she, or the otherparty, might legally contract a marriage; and(b) the said other party cohabited with her within ten monthsApplication forsummons.
  57. 57. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]57before the birth,make at any time an application under this section against that party,notwithstandingthathemaynotwithinthreeyearsnextafterthebirthhavepaidmoneyforthechild’smaintenance.(3) An application under subsection (1) may be made by a womanwhowasasinglewomanatthedateofthebirthofthechildwhetherornotshewasasinglewomanatthetimeoftheapplication,andthereferencetoasinglewomaninsubsection(2)shallbeconstruedaccordingly.Procedure for Making Application81. Iftheapplicationismadebeforethebirthofthechild,thewomanshallmake a deposition on oath stating who is the father of such child, and themagistrate shall thereupon issue his summons to the person alleged to be thefather of that child to appear before the magistrates court at such time, notbeinglessthanfourdaysfromtheissueofthesummons,asthesummonsshalldirect.82.-(1) If the application is made after the birth of a child born to a singlewoman, on the appearance of the person so summoned, or on proof that thesummons was duly served on such person or left at his place of abode orworkplaceatleastfourdaysbeforethedayuponwhichhehasbeensummonedto appear, the magistrate shall hear the evidence of the woman, and such otherevidenceasshemayproduce,andshallalsohearanyevidencebyoronbehalfof the person alleged to be the father.(2) If the evidence of the mother is corroborated in some materialparticularbyotherevidencetothesatisfactionofthemagistrate,hemayadjudgethe man to be the father of the child born out of wedlock, and may also, if hesees fit, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, order the father topay to the mother of the child born out of wedlock, or to any person who maybeappointedtohavethecustodyofsuchchild,aweeklysumforthemaintenanceProcedure whenapplication madebefore birth.Magistrate maymake an order onfather.
  58. 58. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.58[ ]and education of the said child, and of the expenses incidental to the birth ofsuch,andofthefuneralexpensesofthechild,ifithasdiedbeforethemakingofsuchorder,andofsuchcostsasmayhavebeenincurredintheobtainingofsuch order.(3) If the application is made before the birth of the child, suchweeklysummay,ifthemagistratethinksfit,becalculatedfromthebirthofthechild.(4) The court may also make an order for the funeral expenses ofthe child if the child has died before the making of the order.(5) If the court thinks fit, it may, in place of a weekly payment,order that a lump sum determined by the court be paid into court and that thesumshallbeexpendedonthemaintenanceofthechild.83. Where a person makes a written admission that he is the father of achild born out of wedlock, the admission shall be admissible without furtherproof, in any proceedings under this Act, asprimafacie evidence of the factscontainedintheadmission.84.-(1) All money payable under any maintenance order shall be due andpayable to the mother of the child born to a single woman in respect of suchtime, and so long as she lives and is of sound mind, and is not in any prison.(2) Whilst such mother is of unsound mind, or is confined in anyprison,orafterherdeath,anymagistratemay,ifheinhisdiscretionseesitfit,by order, from time to time appoint some person who with his own consent,shallhavethecustodyofsuchchildborntoasinglewoman.(3) The magistrate may revoke the appointment of any personreferred to in subsection (2) above, and may appoint another person in hisstead.Admission ofpaternity.Payment for childborn to a singlewoman; to whomto be made.
  59. 59. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]59(4) Every person so appointed to have the custody of a child borntoasinglewomanshallbeempoweredtomakeapplicationfortherecoveringofallpaymentsbecomingdueundertheorderofthemagistrateasaforesaid,inthe same manner as the mother of the child born out of wedlock might havedone.85.-(1) The father of a child born to a single woman may apply to the courtsittinginthedistrictinwhichachildnormallyresidesforanordergrantinghimrightofaccessto,orlegalcustodyof,thechildwhilesuchchildisundertheageofeighteenyears.(2) Beforeconsideringsuchapplication,thecourtshallbesatisfiedthat the applicant has -(a) admitted paternity of the child in a manner satisfactory tothe court; or(b) been judged to be the father of the child in accordancewith the provisions contained in this or any other Act.(3) An application made under this section for legal custody shallallegeoneormoreofthefollowinggrounds-(a) that the mother of the child has deserted or abandoned thechildinsuchamannerastoendangerthehealthorwell-beingofthechild;(b) thatthemotherisbyreasonofintemperateorimmoralhabits(suchasprostitutionordrunkenness),orforanyotherreason,unfittohavecustodyofthechild;(c) that the mother does not exercise proper care and control ofthechild;Father may applyfor access to orcustody of hischild born to asingle woman.
  60. 60. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.60[ ](d) that the order, if made, will be in the best interests of thechild, and a social services practitioner employed by thecourt has so confirmed;(e) any other matter relevant to the application.(4) Themotherofthechildmayberequiredbythecourttoappearand make representations to the court touching on the application then beingconsidered.(5) Beforegrantingtheapplication,thecourtshallbesatisfiedthattheorder,ifmade,willbeforthewelfareofthechild,dueconsiderationbeingfor this purpose given to the wishes of the child, having regard to its age andunderstanding.86.-(1) TheFamilyCourtormagistratescourttowhichanapplicationismadefordeclarationofparentage,shallissueasummonstothepersonallegedtobethe father or mother of the child to appear before the court on a day named inthesummons.(2) On the appearance of the person summoned, or on proof thatthesummonswasdulyservedonhimorleftathisplaceofabodeorworkplace,sevendaysormorebeforethehearing,thecourtshallheartheevidenceoftheapplicant and shall hear any evidence tendered by or on behalf of the allegedfatherormother.(3) Iftheevidenceoftheapplicantiscorroboratedinsomematerialparticular by other evidence to the satisfaction of the court, the court mayjudgethepersonsummonedtobethemotherorfatherofthechild,asthecasemay be.(4) Inproceedingsforthedeclarationofparentage,thecourtmay,ontheapplicationof anypartytotheproceedingsoronitsownmotion,makean order, upon such terms as may be just, requiring any person to give anyProceedings onapplication fordeclaration ofparentage.
  61. 61. THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.Families and Children [CAP. 173[ ]61evidence which may be material to the question, including a blood sample forthe purpose of blood test or for DNA analysis.(5) Any person sought to be tested shall be made a party to theproceedings.(6) Thecourtmay,ontheapplicationofthemotherofthechild,varyor amend an order made under this section.87. The burden to prove parentage shall lie on the person alleging it.88.-(1) Where the name of the father or the mother of a child is entered in theRegister of Births in relation to a child, a certified copy of that entry shall beprima facie evidence that the person named as the father is the father of thechild or that the person named as the mother is the mother of the child.(2) AnorderofacourtformaintenancemadeagainstapersonunderthisActshallbeprimafacieevidenceofparentageinsubsequentproceedings,whether or not between the same parties.(3) A declaration of parentage by the court under this Act shall, forall purposes, be conclusive proof of parentage.(4) An order made by a competent court outside Belize in anyaffiliation or similar proceedings declaring or having the effect of declaring aperson to be the father of a child or the mother of a child shall be prima facieevident that the person mentioned in that order is the father of the child or themotherofthechild.(5) Areference,expressorimplied,inawillofanypersontoachildas his son or daughter, as the case may be, is prima facie evidence that thatperson is the father of that child or is the mother of the child.Proof ofparentage.Prima facie andconclusiveevidence ofparentage.
  62. 62. Families and ChildrenCAP. 173]THE SUBSTANTIVE LAWS OF BELIZE REVISED EDITION 2000Printed by the Government Printer,No. 1 Power Lane,Belmopan, by the authority ofthe Government of Belize.62[ ](6) A written statement, by a deceased person, indicating that thedeceased was the father of a particular child, or the mother of a particularchild, is prima facie evidence that the deceased person was the father of thechildorthemotherofthechild.89.-(1) Adeclarationofparentagebyacourtshallhavetheeffectofestablishingabloodrelationshipoffatherandchildorofmotherandchildandaccordingly,the child shall be in the same legal position as a child actually born in lawfulwedlock towards the father or the mother.(2) A declaration of parentage shall not, by itself, confer rights ofcustody of the child upon the father or mother.90.-(1) Thecourtmay,inthesameproceedingsforthedeclarationofparentage,grantcustodyofthechildtoanapplicantonsuchconditionsasitmaydeemfit.(2) The court may, at any time, revoke the grant of custody to oneperson and make the grant to another person, or an approved agency.(3) In reaching its decision under subsection (1) or (2) above, thecourtshallprimarilyconsiderthewelfareofthechild.(4) Apersonwhounlawfullyremovesachildfromthelawfulcustodyof another person, or an approved agency, commits an offence and shall bedealtwithinaccordancewiththeprovisionsofthisAct.91. A party to proceedings for a declaration of parentage may appeal tothe Supreme Court against the finding of a Family Court or a Magistrate’sCourtandtheSupremeCourtmayconfirmorrevokethedeclarationormakeanyotherlawfulorderthatitthinksfit.92. Adeclarationofparentagemayberevokedforfraudorothersufficientcause by the Family Court or a magistrates court on the application of theperson against whom the declaration was made.Effect ofdeclaration ofparentage.Custody ofchildren.Appeals.Revocation ofdeclaration ofparentage.

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