Maintenance Act seeks to create equitable solutions for spouses in Dominica: Roland Royer

Roland Royer- Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Blue and Green Economy of Dominica outlined several aspects of the Maintenance of Spouse and Parents Bill (Maintenance Act 2023)

Maintenance Act seeks to create equitable solutions for spouses in Dominica: Roland Royer
Maintenance Act seeks to create equitable solutions for spouses in Dominica: Roland Royer

Roseau, Dominica: Roland Royer- Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Blue and Green Economy of Dominica outlined several aspects of the Maintenance of Spouse and Parents Bill (Maintenance Act 2023) and stated that it seeks to create a more equitable and workable solution during the parliament session.

He said that under the existing legislation which is the maintenance act chapter 35 (61) in addition to the obligations of parents to maintain their child a duty is imposed on every married man and every married woman to provide reasonable maintenance for the spouse that’s section three of this existing act.

Roland Royer noted,” An obligation is also imposed on men and women to maintain their parents once they are unable to do so due to all age or disability. If you are in a long-term cohabiting relationship or what someone referred to as common law or you have just ended one you cannot come to the court and ask for maintenance because you are not providing under this existing law which is the maintenance act chapter 35(61).

He said that the maintenance bill seeks to create a more equitable and workable solution. It cannot be dismissed that common law relationships or cohabiting relationships which are not common in Dominica. Many individuals choose not to get married because they fear commitment but even then they shared lives including finances similar to that of a married couple so these individuals should not be disadvantaged.

Highlighting some aspects of the bill and defining the spouse broadly, Roland Royer stated that in this new bill, spouse means to include a single woman who for a period of the net of not less than five years as cohabited with a single man as if she will in-law his wife and it is similarly referred to as a single man.

He said that the bill when enacted will lead to increased financial stability for spouses and parents’ initial maintenance. “We have long grappled if the complexity of familial and financial responsibilities in the context of marriage cohabitation and parental obligations. We should establish a comprehensive and just legal framework to ensure that our citizens are treated equitably when it comes to these essential matters, ”said the minister.

Roland Royer also lauded the “Yes We Can Programme” of the government and called it as the Nobel programme.

He said that the Maintenance Act of 2023 seeks to provide much-needed clarity and structure to the maintenance process ensuring the foremost policies and children with elderly sick informed parents and grandparents understand the obligation and have a clear path to resolving disputes by outlining the responsibilities.

Roland Royer about the act:

  • This act will ensure that our legal system is accessible and straightforward for all Dominicans.
  • The enforcement mechanism provided for the maintenance act such as the designation of a collection officer will help ensure that maintenance orders are followed and those that need to receive support.
  • It makes reference to a maintenance officer in every District so everywhere there’s a district for courts of hearing there’ll be a maintenance officer station to ensure that the person who is affected will get what is due to them.
  • By passing this bill, Dominica has an opportunity to make a meaningful and lasting difference in the lives of countless families across the nation.
  • It can ensure that the legal system is responsive to the evolving needs of society and that every citizen is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve
  • The new feature of the act is the maintenance agreement so for the person who’s not married or they like that come on nothing they can have their agreement with their partner on maintenance the law provides for that once. It is vetted by a lawyer, people understand legally, person all can decide if things fall through although the law finish they are all going to make it again.