Singapore Divorce – Custody, Care and Control of Children
The term “custody” means the right to make major decisions on the welfare and upbringing of the children in the following areas:
- Medical issues like whether the child is to be hospitalised;
- Educational issues like the choice of school, choice of enrichment classes, choice of course in school, choice of subjects, whether the child is to attend a particular school trip or outing, or tuition;
- Religious issues like what religion the child should follow.
In practice, the Court usually makes either one of the following orders when it comes to custody of children:
- “Sole custody” order – this is where the right is given to one parent to make major decisions for the child without the agreement of the other parent. “Sole custody” orders are rare.
- “Joint custody” order – there is where the right is given to both parents to make major decisions for the child jointly on the 3 major areas above. “Joint custody” orders are the norm.
What is Care and Control?
Care and control is the right to have the children live with you, and to make everyday decisions about them.
For practical reasons, care and control normally lies with one parent. The non-custodial parent who does not have care and control of the child will have access to the child.
It is a parent’s duty to maintain the child until the child reaches adulthood whether or not he has custody. Similarly, a parent’s right to have access to his child is sacrosanct and will be jealously guarded by the Court. Only in very extreme circumstances will access be taken away from a parent e.g. where there is violence. In the case of alleged violence, the Court may still give supervised access.
You should try and co-operate with your spouse when it comes to parenting the child.