Procedure to claim for maintenance during marriage
Make out a complaint at a Magistrate's Court. In the complaint the wife is required to state how much the husband is earning, how many dependent children there are, how much maintenance they need and circumstances under which the husband has failed to maintain them. No fee is required for filing this complaint.
The Court will then order a notice to be sent to the husband and a day will be fixed for a Court hearing.
At the hearing, after taking all the evidence and when the Court is satisfied that the husband has failed to provide maintenance. It will make a maintenance order against the husband. The maintenance is payable from the date of neglect or refusal or from such date as is stated in the order
If either party is not satisfied with the order, he/she has a right to appeal.
Subsequently if there is a change in circumstances, e.g. if the husband earns more, or if the wife finds that the maintenance order is inadequate, the wife can return to the Court and ask for a variation order. Similarly, if the husband's circumstances change for example, if he loses his job, he can also ask for the order to be varied.
If the husband fails to make one or more payments, the wife can make a complaint to the Court and the Court will issue notice to show cause to the husband. If he fails to show cause h can be imprisoned for up to one (1) month for each month' maintenance he defaults.
To ensure that the husband does not default the wife can appeal to the Court for an attachment of earnings' order which means that the husband's employer will be responsible for deducting the maintenance payment from the husband's salary so that it can be sent to the wife directly through the Court. It is advisable that this application be made at the same time the application for maintenance is filed.
If the husband is not a wage earner but has other sources of income then the Court can make an order that the maintenance sum be paid direct to the Court to be forwarded to the wife.
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