Where should one file an application for custody and maintenance?
Child custody is filled in the Family and Children Court (FCC) presided over by a Magistrate not below the grade of Magistrate Grade II. These courts can be accessed at the Magistrate's courts in Uganda. In deciding the particular FCC in which to file the application, it must be filed in the court that has jurisdiction in the area where the child resides.
Who may apply for custody/maintenance of the child?
- A parent or guardian of the child
- An institution or organization
- Against a father, mother or guardian of the child
How to apply for child Custody / Maintenance.
- A person presents an Application for Custody praying to be granted custody and obtain maintenance orders for the child. A person who applies for custody/maintenance is called an applicant while the party against whom the application is brought is called a respondent.
- The application must be supported by an Affidavit in Support stating the reasons why he or she should be granted custody and/or maintenance orders for the child.
- When filing the application in court, the requisite filing fees (UGX 6,000) must be paid in the bank and evidence of payment attached to the application.
- Applicant then extracts a summons from court requiring the respondent to either file an affidavit in reply or to appear in court on a day specified therein and serves it together with the application, on the respondent within 21 days after court issues the summons.
- Once the summons is served on the respondent, the applicant must file an Affidavit of Service in court clearly stating how he/she served it on the respondent.
- Upon receipt of the summons and application, the respondent is required to file an affidavit in reply within 15 days from the date of receipt of the summons or before the date he/she has been summoned to appear before court.
- The affidavit in reply and all its accompaniments must be served on the applicant by the respondent.
- In scenarios where the respondent fails to file an affidavit in reply within the 15 days or fails to appear in court on the date mentioned in the summons, then court may hear the application in the absence of the respondent.
- At the hearing, court will receive evidence from the applicant in respect to his/her application and the respondent in respect to his/her affidavit in reply.
- After hearing from both parties or from only the applicant where the respondent does not file an affidavit in reply, court will go ahead to either grant or refuse to grant the custody and maintenance orders to the applicant.
How to apply for guardianship of a child
- A person presents an Application for Guardianship praying to be granted guardianship of the child.
- The application must be supported by an Affidavit In Support of the application stating the reasons why he or she should be granted guardianship of the child.
- The procedure hereafter is similar to the one stated above from step 3 to step 10 and a guardianship order will be issued by court.
- Guardianship may be applied for by any person who is not a parent to the child.