Guardianship of Infants Act

Link to law: http://laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-197.pdf
Published: 0000

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Guardianship of Infants (CAP. 197 1

CHAPTER 197

T H E GUARDIANSHIP OF INFANTS ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Principle on which question relating to custody,

upbringing, &c., of infants are to be decided.
4. Equal right of mother to apply to Court.
5. Custody and maintenance of infants.
6. Rights of surviving parent as to guardianship.
7. Power of father and mother to appoint testamentary

guardians.
8. Disputes between joint guardians.
9. Enforcement of orders for payment of money.

10. Powers of guardian under this Act.
11. Mother may apply to Court for order as to custody of

infant.
12. Court may remove guardian.
13. Guardianship in case of divorce or judicial separation.
14. Rules as to procedure.
15. Saving.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Guardianship of Infants (CAP. 197 3

GUARDIANSHIP OF INFANTS

(5th March, 1887.) 511887.
911949.

S.R.0.2211956.

1. This Act may be cited as the Guardianship of short title.
Infants Act.

2. In this Act, "the Court" means the High Court. Interpretation.

3. Where in any proceeding before any Court the Principle on
which question custody or upbringing of an infant, or the administration relating to

of any property belonging to or held on trust for an infant, custody,
upbringing, &c.,

or the application of the income thereof, is in question, the of infants a, to
Court, in deciding that question, shall regard the welfare be decided.
of the infant as the first and paramount consideration, and
shall not take into consideration whether from any other point
of view the claim of the father, or any right at common law
possessed by the father, in respect of such custody, upbring-
ing, administration or application is superior to that of the
mother, or the claim of the mother is superior to that of
the father.

4. The mother of an infant shall have the like powers ~ ~ ~ ; ~ ~ ~ h : ; ~ ~ ~
to apply to the Court in respect of any matter affecting the to court.
infant as are possessed by the father.

5 . (1) The power of the Court under section 11 to custody and
maintenance of

make an order as to the custody of an infant and the right infants.
of access thereto may be exercised notwithstanding that the
mother of the infant is then residing with the father of the
infant.

(2) Where the Court under the said section makes an
order giving the custody of the infant to the mother, then,
whether or not the mother is then residing with the father,
the Court may further order that the father shall pay to the
mother towards the maintenance of the infant such weekly
or other periodical sum as the Court, having regard to the
means of the father, may think reasonable.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

4 CAP. 197) Guardianship of Infants

(3) No such order, whether for custody or maintenance,
shall be enforceable and no liability thereunder shall accrue
while the mother resides with the father, and any such order
shall cease to have effect if for a ~ e r i o d of three months after
it is made the mother of the infant continues to reside with
the father.

(4) Any order so made may, on the application either
of the father or the mother of the infant, be varied or
discharged by a subsequent order.

Rights of
surviving parent

6. (1) On the death of the father of an infant, the
as to mother, if surviving, shall, subject to the provisions of this
guardianship. Act, be guardian of the infant, either alone or jointly with

any guardian appointed by the father. When no guardian
has been appointed by the father or if the guardian or guard-
ians appointed by the father is or are dead or refuses or refuse
to act, the Court may if it thinks fit appoint a guardian to
act jointly with the mother.

(2) O n the death of the mother of an infant, the father,
if surviving, shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be
guardian of the infant, either alone or jointly with any guard-
ian appointed by the mother. When no guardian has been
appointed by the mother or if the guardian or guardians
appointed by the mother is or are dead or refuses or refuse
to act, the Court may if it thinks fit appoint a guardian to
act jointly with the father.

Power of father
and mother to

7. (1) The father of an infant may by deed or will
appoint appoint any person to be guardian of the infant after his
testamentary death.
guardians.

(2) The mother of an infant may by deed or will appoint
any person to be guardian of the infant after her death.

(3) Any guardian so appointed shall act jointly with the
mother or father, as the case may be, of the infant so long
as the mother or father remains alive unless the mother or
father objects to his so acting.

(4) If the mother or father so objects, or if the guard-
ian so appointed as aforesaid considers that the mother or

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Guardianship of Infants (CAP. 197 5

father is unfit to have the custody of the infant, the guard-
ian may apply to the Court, and the Court may either refuse
to make any order (in which case the mother or father shall
remain sole guardian) or make an order that the guardian
so appointed shall act jointly with the mother or father, or
that he shall be sole guardian of the infant, and in the latter
case may make such order regarding the custody of the infant
and the right of access thereto of its mother or father as,
having regard to the welfare of the infant, the Court may
think fit, and may further order that the mother or father
shall pay to the guardian towards the maintenance of the
infant such weekly or other periodical sum as, having regard
to the means of the mother or father, the Court may con-
sider reasonable.

(5) Where guardians are appointed by both parents
the guardians so appointed shall after the death of the sur-
viving parent act jointly.

(6) If under the preceding section a guardian has been
appointed by the Court to act jointly with a surviving parent,
he shall continue to act as guardian after the death of the
surviving parent; but if the surviving parent has appointed
a guardian, the guardian appointed by the Court shall act
jointly with the guardian appointed by the surviving parent.

8. Where two or more persons act as joint guardians Disputes between
joint guardians.

of an infant and they are unable to agree on any question
affecting the welfare of the infant, any of them may apply
to the Court for its direction, and the Court may make such
order regarding the matters in difference as it may think
proper.

9. (1) Any person for the time being under an obliga- Enforcement of
orders for

tion to make payments in pursuance of any order for the payment ,,f
payment of money under this Act, shall give notice of any money.
change of address to such person (if any) as may be specified
in the order, and any person failing without reasonable excuse
to give such notice shall be liable on summary conviction
to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars.

(2) Where the Court has made any such order, the
Court shall, in addition to any other powers for enforcing
compliance with the order, have power, in any case where

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

6 CAP. 197) Guardianship of Infants

there is any pension or income payable to the person against
whom the order is made and capable of being attached, after
giving the person by whom the pension or income is payable
an opportunity of being heard, to order that such part as
the Court may think fit of any such pension or income be
attached and paid to the person named by the Court, and
such further order shall be an authority to the person by
whom such pension or income is payable to make the pay-
ment so ordered, and the receipt of the person to whom the
payment is ordered to be made shall be a good discharge
to the person by whom the pension or income is payable.

Powers of
guardian under

10. Every guardian in Antigua and Barbuda under
t h ~ s A C ~ . this Act shall have all such powers over the estate and the

person, or over the estate (as the case may be), of an infant
as any guardian appointed by will or otherwise now has in
England under the Act twelve Charles the Second, chapter
twenty-four.

Mother may
apply to Court

1 . The Court may, upon the application of the
for order as to mother of any infant (who may apply without next friend),
custody of infant. make such order as it may think fit regarding the custody

of such infant and the right of access thereto of either parent,
having regard to the welfare of the infant, and to the con-
duct of the parents, and to the wishes as well of the mother
as of the father, and may alter, vary, or discharge such order
on the application of either parent, or, after the death of
either parent, of any guardian under this Act, and in every
case may make such order respecting the costs of the mother
and the liability of the father for the same, or otherwise as
to costs, as it may think just.

Court may 12. The Court may, in its discretion, on being
remove guardian.

satisfied that it is for the welfare of the infant, remove from
his office any testamentary guardian, or any guardian
appointed or acting by virtue of this Act, and may also, if
it shall deem it to be for the welfare of the infant, appoint
another guardian in place of the guardian so removed.

Guardianship in
case of divorce

13. In any case where a decree for judicial separa-
or iudicial tion, or a decree either nisi or absolute for divorce, shall
separation. be pronounced, the Court pronouncing such decree may

thereby declare the parent by reason of whose misconduct
such decree is made to be a person unfit to have the custody

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Guardianship of Infants (CAP. 197 7

of the children (if any) of the marriage; and in such case,
the parent so declared to be unfit shall not, upon the death
of the other parent, be entitled as of right to the custody
or guardianship of such children.

14. Rules for regulating the practice and procedure ;:~:d",~:"
in any proceedings under this Act, and the forms in such
proceedings, may be made in the same manner as rules of
the Supreme Court may be made.

15. Nothing in this Act contained shall restrict or Saving.
affect the jurisdiction of the Court to appoint or remove
guardians in respect of infants.