The law regulating child custody in Cameroon is section 18 (1) (B) of Law No 2006/015 As Amended and Read with The Civil Status Registration Ordinance N0 81 -02 0f 29th June 1981 as amended by Law No 2011/011 of 6th May 2011. Custody is still regulated predominantly by the Matrimonial Causes Act
CUSTODY UNDER THE MATRIMONIAL CAUSES ACT WHERE THE PARENTS ARE MARRIED
The Matrimonial Causes Act makes various provisions for custody issues to be decided either during the hearing of a Matrimonial Cause (Divorce, Separation, etc) or a separate custody proceeding. Under the Matrimonial Causes Act, the interest of the child is of paramount consideration in the award of child custody in Cameroon. This Act covers custody issues of children of the marriage.
CUSTODY WHERE BOTH PARENTS WERE NOT MARRIED
The general position of the law is that the custody of any child born out of wedlock follows that of the mother in the absence of any person claiming custody of the child on the basis of being the natural father.
The problem arises when the father claims custody. The issue of custody of a child borne out of wedlock cannot be settled with certainty. There are situations where custody has been granted to the family of the man. Each case must be decided based on its own circumstances. In deciding which of the parties to grant custody, the court considers what would be best for the child. Thus, the overall welfare of the child is the decider. Factors such as the moral background of the parties, the nature of their jobs, etc are taken into consideration.
Either of the party may apply to any High Court to determine who should have proper custody since both parties were not married.
It also is noted that the parties may by agreement grant custody to one party and access to the other. They may also by Deed or any other instrument appoint one party as guardian to the child or children.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHILD CUSTODY IN CAMEROON
Here are some of the documents required for proper child custody in the Cameroon case to be filed;
- Copy of the applicant’s birth certificate and Identity card or passport or residence permit to ease identification of the party seeking custody order.
- Copy of the birth certificate of the child to confirm the availability of a child for the court to adjudicate on
- Copy of the medical certificate of the applicant
- Copy of morality report of the child
- Copy of non-conviction of applicant
- Copy of applicant’s bank statement
the court will evaluate the above document to determine if actually, the applicant is of good health, and morals, is financially capable to take care of the child’s needs, and got no criminal record.
PROCEDURE FOR CHILD CUSTODY IN CAMEROON
The Family solicitor handling a case of child custody in Cameroon is expected to seize the High Court and file the following documents;
- Filing an originating motion on notice
- Filing of support statement
- Notify the state prosecutor of the submission
- Submit the originating motion in court
- The high court custody order
The above processes shall be filed in court and a date fixed for the hearing and determination of the issues raised.
Since the procedure is purely legal, we recommend prospective applicants brief a family Attorney who shall ensure the court processes are properly drafted, served, and argued for the interest of the applicant.
Article by Barr. Mafany Victor Ngando
“The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstance”