Dear Mrs Macaulay,
I am a Jamaican woman residing here in Jamaica. I have a child for a Dutch man who lives in the Netherlands. It's been one year and six months since I've received any support from this man. I'm currently working two jobs just to be able to maintain my son. Is there any course of action that can be taken? I've tried contacting the Netherlands consulate here, which has proven futile. I've also contacted different agencies in Holland, none of which can help, or are quick to give any information as to how I can have this man assist with the upkeep of his son.
I am really struggling and hardly staying afloat. Any assistance from this man towards his child would be appreciated. I really don't know what course of action to take as everything that I've tried amounts to nothing.
This is most unfortunate for you and your son. I note all the efforts that you have made to try to get the father of your child to contribute. It seems that he had been assisting with his son's maintenance before, but stopped. You have not indicated the age of your child, how long the father was assisting and being an attentive father, and whether he had been in contact with his son by telephone and other means.
It is clear now, that he has, for almost two years, abandoned his son and all actual, legal and moral responsibility for the child. I suppose his name and particulars are in your son's birth certificate, at least that would be one positive. If not, I suggest that you go to the Family Court in your parish and find out how you can get such a lack rectified.
It also seems obvious that you did not take the precaution of you and the father entering into a binding agreement before he left Jamaica, for his maintenance payments as father for the near, middle and far future until your son obtains his undergraduate degree or skills training, whichever is the case, or until he is 23 years of age, whichever is attained sooner. The agreement would have been a clear commitment of him to be bound both in Jamaica and in the Netherlands by the terms of the agreement.
You also did not go to the Family Court to obtain legal orders and a declaration of paternity before he left Jamaica. If you had obtained these orders from the court and he had attended the hearings, he would have either admitted his paternity, or the court in evidence would have made such a declaration. This would have given you a stronger basis to try to obtain some assistance from the consulate of the Netherlands here, and the agencies there. Representatives of countries will try to assist if they have proof that their citizens are acting in a legally unacceptable manner, especially when it refers to obligations to that citizen's child. Seemingly, you had no agreement with him, and no court order.
So if as seems to be the case you do not have a declaration of paternity and court orders, or a binding agreement here and in the Netherlands, then you have nothing to prove that he is the father of your child and certainly nothing to bind him to his responsibilities as the father of your child. You seemed to have believed him that he would continue to provide for the child and accepted that he would continue to do so. I am afraid that you failed to do all you could before he left this jurisdiction to obtain all that you could in law to ensure that he continued to act as a responsible father and not become, as he has, a deadbeat dad.
Apart from what I have suggested, that you go to the Family Court to find out how you can deal with you child's birth records, if this man and particulars are not in the records and certificate, I cannot suggest anything further. I can only pray that you obtain a very good paying job so that you do not have to work two jobs and still be struggling to provide for your child.
You see, Jamaica has no reciprocal treaty/arrangement with the Netherlands, so you cannot even apply now for an order locally, and expect it to be implementable there.
All the best to you both.
Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to email@example.com; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.