In Summary
  • The situation demands that an agreement is arrived at between the two of you, where the child should reside.
  • While the law is clear about young female children being in the custody of their mother, unless proved inappropriate, your voice and consent on the residency of the girl especially moving out of Kenya is mandatory.
  • Do you have a legal problem you would like addressed by a lawyer? Please email your queries to lifeandstyle@ke.nationmedia.com  

I am writing to you with regards to my ex-girlfriend who wants to take our five-year-old daughter to USA where she currently resides.

I have been paying maintenance since her birth until sometime in July 2018 when she insisted that I send money to her mum (who will take care of the child) and not her because she was relocating to Nakuru from Nairobi without the child. I refused and emphasised that I will send it to her and she can send it to her mum.

Note that she didn't want to give me any contacts of her mum. Since my refusal, she has blocked me and contacted me a month ago from USA mentioning she's planning on taking the child abroad.

She has also refused to share with me any of the child's documents. I don’t know where they live because I have been working out of the country. Please help me.

 

Dear Sir,

The tone of your mail depicts you as a man in constant search of truce about your daughter’s comfort.  Besides, you indicate amiable communication between you and the mother, though your daughter’s whereabouts remain unknown to you since July 2018. Thank you for sharing this unfortunate scenario where your ex-girlfriend seems determined to relocate the child to USA.

You must appreciate as I do that many couples face similar dilemmas only with different dynamics. Therefore, this discussion acknowledges your concerns as valid, yet an opportunity to speak for parents.

A number of scenarios emerge from your question. First, both of you seem to reside away from the child, leaving the girl in the care of the grandmother.

Two, the kind of parenting demonstrated gives rise to the concept of parental duties and rights. Three, the rights of a child especially a five-year-old manifesting as welfare and custody, in particular migration to foreign country.

For starters, both of you should be aware of joint and equal right as well as responsibility to parent the girl.

As parents, you have a legal duty to provide adequate diet, shelter, clothing, medical care, education and guidance besides the onus to protect the child from neglect, discrimination and abuse; duties which you and your ex-girlfriend have been sharing despite the nature of your relationship.

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