Responsibility for paying maintenance of minor child is upon real father according to family laws of Pakistan. In case of daughter father is required to main her minor daughter from date of her birth till the daughter gets married. In case of son minor is legally bound to maintain son till he attains the age of majority i.e 18 years. Father is also obligated to pay the financial support to for his academic fee and education where son despite having attained the age of majority is unemployed and seeks support for completing his education. The responsibility of maintaining the children is not merely upon biological father but in case of adoption foster parent or guardian, are also legally bound to pay maintenance to children.
There is no prevalent law directing the father to pay fixed value of maintenance to dependent children in Pakistan. Family Courts in Pakistan are mandated to determine the value of maintenance payable by father to dependent children. This is done by examining the financial status of father and necessary living expenses of children.
Accordingly to maintenance laws of Pakistan, claim of maintenance can be made by filing a Suit for Maintenance before the Family Court. Maintenance claim can also be filed before the Chairman Union Council where the minor children presently reside.
Considering the importance of maintenance support for welfare of minor children, Family Court or Chairman Union Council trying the claim of maintenance at the first possible opportunity fix interim maintenance considering the available record. Purpose of fixing interim maintenance is to support necessary living expenses of minor during the pend-ency of claim. Interim Maintenance is subsequently increased or decreased after examining the evidence produced to determine the financial soundness of father.
Father has legal as well as moral obligation to maintain minor children. This obligation is not dependent upon status of mother as separated or divorced. As next of kin can proceed to file a claim of maintenance on behalf of minors in the court against father for default in payment of maintenance to children.
Age limit for child to claim maintenance is different for both son and daughter. In case of daughter she is entitled to claim maintenance till she gets married. This is because after marriage the responsibility to pay maintenance shifts from father to husband. Provided however, where daughter is divorced, father again becomes legally obligated to pay maintenance to minor daughter till she contracts another marriage.
Son on other hand is legally entitled to claim maintenance from father till he attains the age of majority i.e 18 years. Father is also obligated to pay the financial support to son to meet his academic fee and education where son despite having attained the age of majority is unemployed and seeks support for completing his education.
Failing to pay maintenance upon orders of the court, stern legal action is taken again father. Court basis on such default auction the property of father, attach his bank accounts and salary, if any. The amount of money recovered is paid to satisfy the Order / Judgement of the Court. If there is no asset in name of father, court directs arrest of such defaulting father. In such circumstances, father is sentenced to jail for minimum 6 months and maximum 1 year.
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