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8 Common Legal Issues That Single Parents Face


Single parents are on the rise in Singapore due to the high rates of divorces filed in recent years. Unfortunately, there are little resources available to help single parents maneuver the legal issues that they face during and after the divorce process.

What are some of the common legal issues that single parents face as they juggle between working for a paycheck, caring for their child and getting a well-deserved personal life? Let us help you to identify some of them.

Child Custody
There are two parts to child custody. One involves the legal aspect in which major decisions involving the child are to be made, while the other involves the care and control of the child and where the child will stay. In Singapore, the legal aspect of child custody is normally a joint custody in which both parents get to decide on major decisions on the child’s education, medical care and religious instructions. The care and control of the child and where the child will stay differ case by case, and it is always determined based on the best interest of the child. The court can grant a sole or joint care and control. If sole care and control is granted, the other parent will normally have visitation rights. If a joint care and control is granted, schedules and detailed plans need to be made to ensure that the child has a home in both houses.

Visitation Rights
Visitation rights are headaches to both parents if they are not able to trust each other. Trust issues have long been a factor in visitation rights problems because one parent cannot trust the other to treat the child right. When such issues arise, it is wise to ensure that you are not violating the rules set by the courts if you have visitation rights to your child who stays with the other parent. You might risk losing the visitation rights if the courts find you breaking the rules that have been set in place. Make peace with the parent having care and control of the child and behave in the appropriate manner towards your child. It will make things easier if the other parent trust you to care for your child.

Child Maintenance
The cost of child maintenance continues to be an issue that haunts single parents. Regardless of whether you are collecting maintenance or paying maintenance, the legal issues that can arise from this are numerous. The challenges for collecting maintenance hinges on the responsibility of the ex-spouse while paying maintenance can be seriously affected if you lose your job. One way to reduce the conflicts arising from this issue is a two-way communication between the parents. Some divorced partners may find it difficult to have a proper conversation after a nasty divorce process, which makes communication impossible when child maintenance becomes an issue. The best way to deal with this is to put your differences aside and agree to communicate civilly for the best interest of your child.

Co-parenting Plans
Co-parenting is getting popular as parents recognise the benefits for their child having two parents in his or her life, even after a divorce. A co-parenting plan is helpful to both parents as it establishes the lines of communications upfront, removing most of the risks of miscommunication. It also creates a set of schedules for both parents and child, a backup plan for unforeseen circumstances and a second chance at building trust with your former partner. It gives the child a consistent and rock-solid schedule in which the child can find comfort and security. This schedule will eventually help the child to adjust to his or her new lifestyle, paving the way for an easier time for the child.

Parental Alienation
This is an issue that most single parents face when they have an estranged ex-spouse. This is a situation in which your ex-spouse is bad-mouthing you in front of your child, attempting to create a bad image of you in the mind of the child. All these could be done to alienate the child from you as revenge for the divorce. It is a real problem and can cause serious consequences in your relationship with your child if it is not resolved as quickly as possible. If you are facing an issue in which your ex-spouse is bad-mouthing you, it will be wise to seek a solution and consult the best divorce lawyer as soon as possible to prevent serious parental alienation.

Housing Discrimination
In Singapore, there are laws that make buying a house challenging for single parents. You could have some problems buying a house to stay with your child or children after divorce if your matrimonial house is sold while dividing the assets during the divorce process. While the laws are slowly getting relaxed by the government, there are still certain challenges that single parents have to overcome when it involves buying public housing such as a HDB flat. The best alternative for a single parent is to move in with their aged parents or a close relative to provide a stable environment for their children while they sort out the challenges to buy a HDB flat for the family.

Stability and Routine
Closely connected to housing discrimination is the provision of stability and routine for your child in the interest of him or her growth. Single parents are expected to provide a stable and nurturing environment for their child against all odds. Therefore, it is important to seek out alternative ways to provide a stable environment in which your child can establish a routine and find security if you are unable to buy a house due to the laws in Singapore. As mentioned in the previous point, the best way is to move in with your extended family if buying a house is not within your means at the moment.

Child Care
Singapore has no lack of childcare centres in which single parents can safely leave their children when they go to work. The legal issues come in when parents are fighting for child custody. One parent could provide a framework in which he or she can show how the child can be better taken care of within the extended family as compared to the other parent who has lesser support from his or her extended family. As the courts determine care and control in the best interest of the child, a parent who can present an extended family support system might have a better chance at gaining care and control of the child. Therefore, child care is a legal issue that cannot be overlooked.

The path of a single parent is often littered with legal issues. The challenges are especially prominent in the early stages of single parenthood, which add to the whole emotional burden of trying to get over the divorce. Sometimes, a nasty divorce process can also bring out the worst in the parents, making co-parenting a literal nightmare afterwards.

The best way to get over these legal issues is to seek out an experienced family lawyer to help you sort things out. You will not only reduce your stress, but also gain someone who is familiar with the law to get the best options available to you and your children.

If you are currently facing any legal issues, you can call Specialist Divorce lawyers GJC Law 6337 0469 for a non-obligatory consultation to find out the best options available to you and your loved ones.