When you are considering or in the midst of a divorce, the fruit of your marriage – your child should take the limelight when it comes to planning for the future. The Family Court expects you to provide and prepare a proposed parenting plan with your divorce lawyer and have it submitted to the Court before the Court will make a final parenting order to seal the arrangement for the child.
A proposed parenting plan should first and foremost, take into consideration the best interest of the child. When parents are discussing the proposed parenting plans with their family lawyer, they must always remember the golden rule of putting the child above all other considerations. This is to ensure that the Court will be convinced that the parents are aware of their responsibilities and duty to the child.
In Singapore, the Family Court is required to take into consideration, the best interest of the child when making a final parenting order. In our country, both parents are responsible for the upbringing and welfare of the children until the age of 21. Nonetheless, maintenance orders can be adjusted for children above the legal age under certain circumstances. These circumstances include pursuing tertiary education or undergoing national service.
The most important consideration of the Family Court is to ensure that the child is benefiting from a meaningful relationship with both his or her parents as well as the protection of the child from physical and mental abuse.
Below is a list of things which the Court will take into serious consideration before making the final parenting order.
- – The child’s view and the reasons which affect those views.
- – The child’s relationship with his parents, grandparents and other relatives such as uncles and aunts.
- – The willingness shown by each parents to encourage the child to continue and maintain a meaningful relationship with the other parent.
- – The impact of the changed circumstances on the child’s day to day schedule, including the detachment from a regular guardian or carer.
- – The parents’ abilities to provide for the child’s needs.
- – The attitude of either parent towards the child and their upbringing.
- – The maturity, gender and lifestyle of the child and that of the child’s parents.
- – The act or threat of violence against a child or a member of the child’s family.
Besides the above points, the Family Court will also take into consideration the degree in which either parent has or has not meet their parental obligations previously. This consideration includes the following points.
- – The parent’s willingness to participate in joint decision making about major long-term issues involving the child.
- – The time spent with the child.
- – The parent’s ability to meet their responsibilities to maintain the child and to facilitate the other parent’s involvement in the same aspect of the child’s life.
Therefore, it is important for you to consider all the above when making the proposed parenting plan with your matrimonial lawyer. While your lawyer will be advising you and making suggestions to help you plan a reasonable and acceptable plan, you can have smoother and faster process if you keep the golden rule of putting your child’s interests first.