According to the Constitution of Kenya, under Article 53(e), every child has a right to parental care and protection, which includes equal responsibility of the mother and father to provide for the child, whether they are married to each other or not. Let’s learn about parental responsibility agreements in Kenya.
The Children’s Act (Act No.29 of 2022) states that parents of a child who are not married to each other may enter into a parental responsibility agreement. This is where both parents, and in the best interest of the child, will agree on clear individual responsibilities towards the child.
What are the essential contents of a parental responsibility
The law describes a parental responsibility agreement to be in the nature of a parenting
plan in which the parents specify:
- How the child or children will spend time while with their father or mother.
- How the parents will make joint decisions on matters relating to their parental responsibilities. For example, the child/children’s religious upbringing.
- The visitation schedule,
- Holidays and school break schedules.
- Transport and travel within and outside the country.
- Responsibility for health insurance and healthcare services.
- The contact information.
- The need for notification of parental movement in cases where either or both parents relocate or change residence.
- The manner in which decisions relating to the education of the child or children shall be made.
- The joint and several responsibilities expenses for extracurricular activities of the
child or children.
How can a parental responsibility agreement be terminated?
The parental responsibility agreement can only be revoked or terminated by a court’s order and made on application by 1.) A person who has parental responsibility over the child or 2.) The child with the permission of the court. The court may only grant this order, if it satisfied that the child properly understands the nature and effect of the application they have made to the court.
What acts are considered an offence under a parental responsibility agreement?
- When a person in breach of a parental responsibility agreement hinders another person who has access to or parental responsibility of a child in accordance with the agreement, from exercising such access or responsibilities.
- Abducting a child and preventing the other person from accessing the child or exercising their responsibilities to the child.
- When one person having care or custody of the child, fails to notify in writing, the other person who has access or responsibility of the child, that they have changed the residential address in which the child resides.