Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 28th 2014 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, April 28, 2014
Custody is a matter that arises mainly after a
divorce or separation since most times there are
children involved. For the court, the welfare of the
child is the most important consideration as it
involves placing the child under the care and control
of an individual. Custody is not limited to children
within a marriage but also to parents in common-
law relationships and extends to parents who are
not in a relationship.
defined in the
Family Law Act,
Chap. 46:08 (the
Act) as the right to possession and care of a minor.
Legal custody means, in relation to a minor, so much
of the parental rights and duties as relate to the
person of the minor. This includes the place and
manner in which the child s time is spent.
Who can apply for custody
Anyone can apply for custody of a child once the
court is satisfied of the reason and is of the opinion
that a person has sufficient interest in the welfare
of the child. Apart from parents, other persons referred
to as strangers in the Act may also apply. Such per-
sons may include aunts, uncles, grandparents and
close family members. The court will grant what is
known as a fit persons order to anyone who is able
to give the child the necessary protective guardianship
and will be given care and control of the minor.
How and where to apply
The Family Court system in Trinidad and Tobago
comprises both the Magistrates Court and the High
Court divisions. An application for custody can be
made at both divisions. All divorces are dealt with
in the High Court. Where custody is an issue it is
simply easier to have it dealt with as part of the
divorce proceedings as well or as a related matter.
However,where this is not done a parent can apply
through the Magistrate s Court.
Persons living in the district of St George West
(Chaguaramas to Mt Lambert) can go to the Family
Court in Port-of-Spain. All other persons must go
to the Magistrate s Court in their area. The process
is done by making the application for custody, which
is guided by an intake officer in the Family Court
or Justice of the Peace in other districts.
Each application per child costs $3. The reason
why custody should be granted is important, as well
documents such as identification or passport, the
child s birth certificate, and the full address of the
parent. A date is fixed for court to appear before a
magistrate approximately 4 to 6 weeks after filing
of the application.
A notice or summons is sent to the respondent
making him/her aware of the proceedings and the
date to attend court. The decision whether to grant
custody is entirely up to the Magistrate. Following
this the court may make a full order granting custody
to the person who is deemed fit.
This column is not legal advice. If you have a
legal problem, you should consult a legal adviser.
Co-ordinator: Roshan Ramcharitar
Fisherfolk pull in their
seine at Castara
Beach, Tobago during
the Northside Jazz
community event on
Thursday hoping for a
bounty but only
snagged some bait.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
You must be 18 years or
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all calls cost $13.80 minute.
This service only works with
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purposes. Call 900-1022.
For help call 800 4365
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Contact the Red Cross: Headquarters - 627-8215/8128, Northern branch - 627-8214, Southern branch - 652-2024, Tobago branch - 639-2781
Create an Emergency Plan:
Meet with household members to discuss how to respond to each disas-
ter that could occur.
Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
Practise an emergency evacuation drill at least two times a year.
Pick one out-of-the-area-relative and one local friend or relative for fami-
ly members to call or meet at if separated by a disaster.
Post emergency numbers near telephones:
ODPM (Trinidad) - 640-1285/8905/8653/
800-ODPM website: odpm.gov.tt
ODPM (Tobago) - 660-7489/7686
Police - 999
Fire Services - 990
Coast Guard - 634-4440 /4532 /4554
Defence Force - 634-4532
Ambulance Service (EHS) - 624-4343
EMA - 628-8042
T&TEC - 625-1296/1774
TSTT - 6611
Take a basic First Aid course and CPR class.
Make a list of valuables. Keep family records in a waterproof and fire-
Prepare a disaster supply list:
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Canned goods, non-perishable foods and a non-electric can open-
- Drinking water
- Any special dietary food if required
- Identification, cash, valuable papers, insurance policies and pho-
- Battery-operated radio with extra batteries
- Personal hygiene items
- Disposable utensils
- Infant-care items
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Easy carrying container (bag) for all items.
Prepare a First Aid kit:
Prescription medications, betadine solution, gauze bandages, adhesive
tape, sterile pads, band aids, triangular bandages, safety scissors, non-
prescription medication, sun screen, insect repellent, non-latex gloves,
absorbent compress 5x9 dressing, adhesive bandages (assorted sizes),
antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment packets, etc.
Prepare an Emergency Car Kit:
Battery powered radio (with extra batteries), flashlight (with extra bat-
teries), sleeping bags or blankets, first-aid kit and manual, bottled water,
non-perishable high energy foods such as granola bars, raisins and
peanut butter, booster cables, a fire extinguisher, maps, shovel, tyre
repair kit and pump and flares.
Are you ready for anatural disaster?
Source: The T&T Red Cross Society
Natural dsasters can
strike anytime, any-
where. There are simple
steps you can take to
help protect your family
from a natural disaster.
T&T Red Cross Society
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