Who Can Ask For Custody

In Singapore, the Women’s Charter defines a ‘child’ as a child of a marriage who is under 21 years of age.

Presently, any parent can request for the custody and/or the care and control of the child who is deemed as such under the Women’s Charter.

However there are situations where the Court may feel the child is better off with a relative or a children’s welfare organisation. The Court may also order that custody be shared between both parties.

Custody refers to the legal decision-making authority in the life of a child. The decision-making authority is usually in regard to major life issues such as religion, education, health and activities.

Care and control involves the living arrangements of the child on a day-to-day basis, while access refers to the periods during which the parent who does not have care and control of the child is granted time to spend with the child.

When To Apply For Custody

Either parent can apply for the custody and/or the care and control and/or access of the child at any time during the marriage, separation or during the Court proceedings for a divorce lawsuit.

How To Apply For Custody

Either parent who wishes to be the custodian of the child of the marriage will have to apply to the Family or the High Court for the custody and/or the care and control and/or access of your child.

Considerations For Custody

In the eyes of the law, the interests of the child of the marriage is paramount.

In deciding who to give custodial rights and/or the care and control and/or access of the child of the marriage to, the Court may also take into account the wishes of either party as well as the wishes of the child of the marriage (if the child is old enough to express an opinion).

Access

Custody and/or care and control given to one parent does not necessarily preclude the other parent from child access. Often, the other parent is given time to spend with the child of the marriage on a regular basis. This arrangement is known as “access”.

However, the Court may deny access to either party if such access would likely be detrimental to the well-being of the child and is against his / her best interests.

It would thus be ideal for both parents to draft out a suitable, convenient and reasonable time for individual access to the child of the marriage.

If both parties cannot come to an agreement, the Court will decide on a course of action after hearing both sides.

These arrangements when done right will minimize the psychological trauma of the child.

Taking The Child Out Of The Country

The child is not allowed to be taken out of Singapore without prior consent from the party who has access/control of the child.

If any such implicitly worded or actions surface, the custodial party may obtain an order to prevent the other party from doing so from the Court. Disregard to the Court Order is chargeable as contempt of Court with a fine or imprisonment.

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