Dear Mrs. Macaulay,
My nephew is 17 years old. Both of his parents are deceased and myself, my younger sister and my mother are his parents.
However, we are unable to process official documents such as ID, passport, etc., as this requires one of us to become their legal guardian. How to complete this process?
Your nephew’s situation is urgent since you say he is 17 years old. You, your sister and your mother must retain the services of a lawyer to make an urgent application for custody, care and control and guardianship – immediately because you must obtain these orders before he turns 18. All of you, or one of you, can be the applicants or the applicant. If you all decide that you would be the sole applicant, your sister and mother can file a joint affidavit attesting to their full help and support in your nephew’s care, upbringing, and care.
The application must be made to the Supreme Court in accordance with the Children (Guardianship and Custody) Act. You will need to bring the attorney a certified copy of your nephew’s birth certificate and certified copies of his parents’ death certificates (if you don’t have one or both, take the form of pink burial) and be prepared with all the facts about his current situation and life (how his parents died; when he came to live with all of you; how you support him, as well as details of his schooling/ education and his future plans; his health, if there are any problems in this regard; the physical space you have for him in your home and his religious practice and upbringing; his hobbies and any other relevant facts) . It must be clearly stated in your affidavit that you have been and are willing and able to have the responsibility to have custody of him and his care and to guide and protect in all ways to the best of your ability and with the voluntary support of your mother and your sister.
In the above, I have acted as if you were the sole requester. However, all of this still applies, if all three of you wish to apply and be his joint custodians, have his care and control, and be his guardians. Once the order has been made, you must ensure that your lawyer has requested and obtained, also urgently, sufficient copies of the court order, which you can then use to request the official documents they need. and to make all the decisions necessary for his education and well-being.
Your attorney, in addition to preparing and filing your claim and the necessary affidavits in support of a single claim or joint claim, should also prepare and file an emergency affidavit, to ensure that the application is heard as soon after it is filed as possible. The attorney should pursue the urgency of the case, with the relevant Supreme Court Registry Clerk, so that the emergency affidavit is not overlooked and passed through the Registry for the date of hearing is scheduled. Be sure to point this out to the lawyer.
Please retain a lawyer immediately as time is running out if you wish to have the legal authority to be able to obtain the necessary documents for him before he comes of age, when he should be obtaining them himself.
All the best.
Margarette May Macaulay is a lawyer, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and advocate for women’s and children’s rights. Email your questions to [email protected]; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Ms. Macaulay cannot provide personal answers.
The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.