Payment of child maintenance moved uptown to Family Court, as critics ridicule dress regulations for mothers collecting funds

A decision has been taken to allow the Family Court to start collecting child-maintenance funds.

In a public notice, the Court has advised that with effect from March 1, the collection of such funds will be relocated to the Family Court, upstairs the Ryan Building on High Street.

Therefore, fathers who pay monies into the court will no longer be required to travel to the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court in Grays Farm to deposit the funds.

However, the actual disbursement of child-support payments will remain at the Magistrates Court.

“Persons can visit the office to submit payments between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mondays to Thursdays, and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays,” the notice says.

Meanwhile, the Court is advising persons intending to do business there that a dress code is in effect.

The court says that no spaghetti straps, sleeveless attire, halter tops, tube tops, shorts, above-the-knee dresses, slippers, tights, tight-fitting tops, or short tight-fitting skirts are allowed.

Other prohibited wear include vests, torn or ripped clothing, and ripped washed-coloured jeans. There should also be no revealing or exposing of body parts when conducting business at the Family Court – or any other court in Antigua and Barbuda – the authorities say.

This advisory has been ripped to pieces by social-media critics, some of whom say the restrictions are hold-overs from the colonial system and ought to be discarded in this hot climate.  Others say that not even the churches impose such prohibitions on worshipers.