Dear Legal Wiz,
My exgirlfriend, who lives abroad in the USA, came to Jamaica suddenly and turned up at our son’s school to get him. She claims she wants to put him in the custody of her mother, but she only acted after I stopped sending her money, as she now has a new relationship. She has not seen or concerned herself with his welfare for the past two years since she got her green card.
A fight developed at the school, and she took me to the criminal court after she had me locked up for a night for hitting her. After that she went to the Family Court in Jamaica to get full custody of my son. Can she really get full custody of our son?
I also would love to have her pay me back all the monies I sent her for varied reasons. She has been telling people that the monies were sent to purchase goods for my business and our child.
Dear Harold Martin,
I don’t see where you have anything to worry about. The case at the Criminal Court in Half Way Tree is between you and her and not your son.
At the family court she will have to prove that you don’t have the mental capacity, or that you are physically abusive or negligent towards your son. Then there is the matter of financial stability. Clearly if you have been taking care of both of them from the birth of your son, you can with the assistance of a good attorney present your case when you both go before the Judge at the Family Court.
However, the likely outcome after your first appearance is that you both will be placed under watch and investigation for a short period before a decision is arrived at. Both your homes will be visited by a social worker, who will also need to make checks with your neighbours and the school he attended to check both your stories. That social worker will report to the Judge to assist in the decision making process.
Do not be alarmed if a relative on either side gets temporary custody of the child.
Please endeavour to hire attorneys for both Courts.
In response to your question for the recovery of sums you sent to her. In starting your claim, be mindful that the Courts do not order for gifts to be returned. Consult an attorney as soon as possible to determine how your case can be made out based on the agreement you had when you sent her the funds.