Am I legally obligated to maintain a child that is not mine?

Are you legally obligated to provide for a child that is not yours?


I have been involved in a relationship and lived with a young lady for the past six years.

When I met her she was two months pregnant. She told me from the outset that she was pregnant but I liked her so much I entered into a relationship with her and told her that I would support her and the child even though I knew it was not mine.


During our relationship she cheated on me several times and I ended the relationship.

I treated the child as my own and maintained her from she was born but now that the relationship has ended I want to move on with my life.

I intend to move to another parish but the mother served me with a summons for maintenance, am I legally obligated to maintain this child?

Concerned Young Man

lawyer attorneys Jamaica legal adviceKingston





Dear Sir;

Under the Maintenance Act a parent has an obligation to maintain his child. Under Section 8 (3) (c) of the Maintenance Act an individual will be regarded as a parent in respect of maintaining a child if:

“the person is a party to a marriage or cohabitation and accepts as one of the family a child of the other party to the marriage or cohabitation;”

You lived together as husband and wife for in excess of five years and even though you were not married you would have been considered her spouse legally.

That means that irrespective of your not being the child’s biological father if you accepted the child as a child of the family and undertook to maintain the child, then the courts may hold that you are not automatically released from that responsibility simply because you and the mother have gone your separate ways.

The court is primarily concerned with the best interest of the child and you were not deceived as to the child’s paternity. If it could be established that you were deceived as to paternity then you would have some legal recourse but this is not the case.

Continue to maintain a presence in this child’s life and I wish you all the best.

Yours Truly,

Janna-Joe Mcleod-Delattibudiere

I am an Attorney-at-Law based in St. Ann. I specialize  in Criminal and Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Family Law, Conveyancing and Estates.


Feel free to contact me at [email protected] for any legal queries or call me at 917-7858 or 419-1913.

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