Moderator Control Panel ]

Maintenance for Illegitimate child, civil and military aspec

Found any online record sets or tools that have helped your family history research? Share your discoveries here

Maintenance for Illegitimate child, civil and military aspec

Postby MaureenE » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:38 am

Maintenance for Illegitimate child, civil and military aspects.

Seen on the Great War Forum, a post by Johnathon Swan, author of "Law and War: Magistrates in the Great War", who has covered this topic in his book

He advised

There were both civil and military procedures to deal with a man's responsibilities to his illegitimate children.

Under the Bastardy Laws Amendment Act of 1872, the mother had to apply to the magistrates' court for a summons against the alleged father before the birth of the child or up to one year after the birth. The magistrate would issue the summons which required the man to attend a hearing at the petty sessional court within the next six days.

At this hearing - which could proceed in the man's absence - the magistrates would listen to the evidence of the woman and from witnesses. In these days before blood tests such evidence was often circumstantial, often bordering on hearsay. Much weight was given to "acts of familiarity", and to "access". The man had no right to give evidence on his own behalf, but he could be summonsed as a witness for the mother or questioned directly by the magistrates.

If the decision was in favour of the mother, the magistrates would impose an Affiliation Order for a sum not to exceed 5 shillings a week, to cover the maintenance and education of the child until the age of 13. A man could appeal to the Quarter Sessions but the woman had no such right, although she was allowed to make a second application if she had new evidence. This apparent inequality was explained by the observation that the magistrates were generally seen as being more favourable to the woman.

If the mother made a claim against a serving soldier the court was required to send the summons to the man's commanding officer, along with sufficient funds for his travel expenses (which the mother would recover if the application was successful). A legal difficulty was that, under section 145(3), a summons could not be served on a soldier under orders for active service overseas, nor could he be taken out of service to return to the UK to answer a summons. The Bastardy Act recognised this problem, and allowed the mother to obtain a summons within one year of his return to the country.

If the man was in the Army, section 145(2) of the Army Act 1881 enforced the deduction of the payments directly from his pay, to a maximum amount of 3d a day (1s 9d a week). He was allowed to make additional voluntary payments, and the mother could apply for a further order to recover arrears.

Should the soldier die, the bastard child was not entitled to make a claim against his estate, unlike his legitimate children.

The court records should provide some information about the affiliation order and the payments. These will be held by your local archives office - the courts themselves do not hold the records. ... nt=2557219

Posts: 258
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:04 am

Re: Maintenance for Illegitimate child, civil and military a

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:49 am

Thanks for that. Never thought of a military angle to it....

Sent from my MotoG3 using WDYTYA Forum mobile app
Posts: 2781
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:07 pm

Return to Useful resources

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests