New Law to Supplement The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction!

As a Singapore divorce lawyer who has handled numerous cross-border divorce cases, clients frequently ask me about The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

When expat parents divorce in Singapore, the children are sometimes brought out of Singapore without the consent of the other.

The government is planning to introduce new laws to stop such child abduction cases in Singapore. Agencies such as the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will be empowered to stop a parent from leaving Singapore with a child if there is a Court order stopping him/ her from doing so. Anyone trying to defy the orders will be caught by the authorities at the checkpoints.

Presently, it is an offence under the Women’s Charter (Singapore) to bring a child under a custody/ care and control order out of Singapore without the written consent of both parents or the Court.

According to a spokesman of the Family Justice Courts, the proposed “stop order legislation” may result in several laws being amended, or the enactment of a new Act.

Some statistics

40% of divorces under the Women’s Charter Singapore last year involved at least 1 foreigner.

The present situation

While parents are able to apply to Court to prevent the other parent from leaving Singapore with their children by way of an injunction, there have been some cases of parents who managed to leave with their children.

With the new law, the relevant authorities will be notified and empowered to stop such parents from leaving Singapore.

See: Theresa Tan, “New rules to prevent divorcing parents from fleeing Singapore with kids in the pipeline”, The Straits Times, 2 April 2017

If you wish to speak to a family lawyer who has extensive experience in The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, contact us today!

You may also be interested to read more about:

1. Divorce and Separation

2. Annulment (Nullity) of Marriage

3. Children’s Issues

4. Matrimonial Assets

5. Maintenance Issues (Alimony)

6. Family Violence

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