Chapter 16 - Support Proceedings

Chapter 16 - Support Proceedings

45.1601 Initiation of proceedings.


(a) Proceedings to compel a parent of an illegitimate child or children to support his or her offspring may be commenced by the other parent, legal guardian or custodian of the child or by his or her immediate family.

(b) A petition under this chapter may be filed at any time prior to the 18th birthday of the child.

(c) Once the Court has acquired jurisdiction, the jurisdiction is retained regardless of the child’s place of residence or physical presence.

(d) The minority of the petitioner or of the respondent shall in no way affect the validity of the proceedings.

(e) Actions brought under this chapter shall be entitled, “The People of the Territory of American Samoa in the interest of children, upon the Petition of petitioner, and concerning , respondent”.

45.1602 Summons.


(a) Upon filing of the petition, the court issues a summons stating the substance of the petition and requiring the respondent to appear at the time and place set for hearing on the petition.

(b) Service of the summons is by personal service as provided in Rules 4 and 5 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(c) The hearing is set for a day not less than 10 days after service is completed or at a later date the Court may order.

45.1603 Hearing-Orders.


(a) If, at the hearing, the Court finds that the respondent has an obligation to support the child or children mentioned in the petition, the Court may enter an order directing the respondent to pay sums for support that may be reasonable under the circumstances.

(b) If, at or before the hearing, the respondent waives his right to a hearing and stipulates to the entry of a support order, that stipulation may be presented to the Court. If the Court finds that the amount stipulated is reasonable under the circumstances, it may enter an order of support in accordance with the stipulation.

(c) The Court may enter a temporary support order, to remain effective pending a final disposition of the proceeding.

(d) The Court may modify an order of support upon proof of change in relevant, circumstances.

(e) Any order made under this chapter shall not be exclusive.

(f) The Court may assess the costs of the action as part of its order.

(g) In those cases brought for support of an illegitimate child or children, the Court may assess the costs of the action individually, or to both parties as a part of its order.

45.1604 Failure to comply.


(a) A person failing to comply with an order of the Court entered under this chapter may be found in contempt of Court and dealt with accordingly.

(b) The Court has authority to issue writs of execution for the collection of accrued and unpaid installments of support orders.