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Mandatory parenting programme extended to divorcing parents with children below 21 years old from Jan 21

Mandatory parenting programme extended to divorcing parents with children below 21 years old from Jan 21

Mandatory parenting programme extended to divorcing parents with children below 21 years old  from Jan 21 2018.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is extending the Mandatory Parenting Programme (MPP) to include divorcing parents with children below 21 years old. This will be applicable to all parties who wish to file for divorce on or after Jan 21, 2018. This programme does not apply if parties file for a simplifed Uncontested Divorce.

The Mandatory Parenting Programme is a consultation session for parents with minor children before they file for divorce. It is designed to encourage divorcing couples make informed decisions that prioritise the well-being of children.

This is a two-hour session by counsellors from Divorce Support Specialist Agencies (DSSAs). All parents with children below 14 years old (children below 21 years old with effect from 21 January 2018) are required under the Women’s Charter Section 94A to attend this programme if they file for divorce without reaching an agreement on divorce and parenting matters.

Q: Who does the Programme apply to?

A: The Programme applies to you if:

  • You intend to divorce and have a child, or children, who are under 14; and
  • You have not been able to come to a formal agreement with your spouse on any of several key matters (such as division of the marital assets, child custody and access, or maintenance for either party).

Q: Are there any exceptions?

A: You need apply to the Ministry for Social and Family Development to be exempted from the Programme. Parents who lack mental capacity are also exempted from attending.

Q: Who conducts the session and when is it held?

A: The session lasts for 2 hours and is conducted by a counsellor from a Divorce Support Specialist Agency. It needs to be completed before the divorce writ is filed.

Q: What does the session cover?

A: The session aims to help parents understand, and prepare for, some of the legal and practical issues surrounding parenting after divorce. These include finances, housing, custody and access, co-parenting, and the impact of divorce on children.

The Programme is separate from the existing requirement for families with children under 21 to undergo compulsory counselling and mediation after the divorce writ is filed.

Q: Do I have to pay for the session?

A: No, it’s free (and private - you don’t have to attend with your spouse, although you can choose to.)

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