You can seek sole custody of your Bahamian child. It can be difficult, however, to convince a court that the other parent should not have some access to the child.
In general, Bahamian law permits both parents to a child born in wedlock to have a right of access to their child and considers both parents to be the child's guardians. When considering custody and access issues, the court takes into account the past contribution of the parent to the care, maintenance and upbringing of the child. Child Protection Act, Section 14.
If you want to seek sole custody of your child, you will need to make an application to the court. The court will decide whether you should have sole custody and what right of access the other parent should have to the child. The court may decide to order that the non-custodial parent pay child support to the parent with custody.
Under Bahamian law the court must always consider the child's welfare first in making decisions about custody. Child Protection Act, Section 3. Parents who abandon their children or who let someone else bring up their children for so long that they are unmindful of their parental duties often will not be given custody if they cannot show the court that they will be fit. Parents also must provide for their children (known as “maintenance” in the law), and parents who do not do so may be less fit for custody.
In divorce proceedings, the court may consider custody, access, and maintenance disputes between the divorcing couple. Divorces and separations cannot be finalized unless the court has found that arrangements for the welfare of all children involved are satisfactory or are the best under the circumstances, or that it is impracticable to decide as to the children. Alternatively, the court may grant the divorce or separation decree if there is urgency and decide matters relating to the children at a specified later time. See Matrimonial Causes Act.
To find out more about resolving custody disputes, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.