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PNG Men can sue wives for maintenance for abandoning children

 Men can now sue their wives in Papua New Guinea to pay for maintenance of their kids if they abandon them for another man.

Secretary for Constitution and Law Reform Committee Dr Eric Kwa revealed this Thursday during the joint annual Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) PNG and CPA Australia conference in Port Moresby.

He said CLRC has reviewed this law and made it gender balanced across the board.

According to CLRC Working Paper 23, three pieces of legislation to deal with maintenance in PNG.

A wife and children who have been deserted may claim maintenance in the District Court or the Local Court under the Deserted Wives and Children Act.

A spouse of a statutory marriage may claim maintenance in the National Court under the Matrimonial Causes Act.

In relation to an illegitimate child the claim may be made in the Local Court or the Children's Court under the Child Welfare Act.

In terms of enforcement of maintenance orders, the National Court orders made under the Matrimonial Causes Act can be enforced under that Act and the National Court Rules.

The orders of the courts of summary jurisdiction may be enforced under the Deserted Wives and Children Act, the Child Welfare Act and the Maintenance Orders Enforcement Act.

Before instituting proceedings for maintenance or for enforcement of maintenance orders one needs to choose the particular court and the Act under which to proceed.

However, Dr Kwa revealed that this had already been reviewed by CLRC that enables men to sue their wives otherwise.

Meanwhile, Children under the age of 18 who are getting married will now face the full force of the law.

Dr Kwa said the law is now effective and is implemented across the country.

“Any kid that got married under 18 years of age will serve his/her term in prison.”

Dr Kwa also issued a warning to the parents that are encouraging their children to get married under the age of 18, will also face the law.

“Whether it be customary or whichever, it is still a law that children must not be married under the age of 18.”

He also added that men can now sue their wives to pay for maintenance under the new reform law CLRC is reviewing.

Dr Kwa said the law will now be gender balanced as to husbands and wives.

He said CLRC has also review the law on domestic violence in PNG and put a complete banned on all forms of domestic violence.

This include women and children.

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