Welfare of the Child

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What is the “welfare principle”? How does it affect the likelihood of me having the custody, care and control of my child?

Where a child’s issues are brought before the Court (in divorce proceedings or even before the commencement of divorce proceedings), the Court will regard the welfare of the child as the first and paramount consideration.

The welfare of your child is not measured monetarily. Hence, you may still be awarded custody, care and control of your child even if you are not as financially well-to-do as the other parent. Rather, the welfare of your child includes his/ her physical well-being (health), happiness, comfort, security (safety) and his/ her relationships with you and the other parent. As such, the Court will consider these factors before making a decision on custody, care and control of your child.

Factors the Court considers in determining welfare of the child

There are many factors which the Court considers in determining the welfare of the child. These factors (non-exhaustive) includes:

1. The present carer of the child and considerations relating to the continuity of care and minimization of disruption to the child’s life.

2. The child’s own wishes about who he/ she should live with on a day-to-day basis.

3. The age of the child.

4. The child’s sense of security.

5. Any circumstances of the parents which may affect their child.

In addition, the Court is generally reluctant to separate siblings.

See: Sections 123 to 125 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)

What the Court should know

If you and the other parent of your child are not able to agree on key issues (custody, care and control, and access), the Court would need to decide.

You would need to provide the Court with the following information:

1. Reasons why you should have custody, care and control of your child.

2. Present care arrangements for your child.

3. Proposed future care arrangements for your child.

4. If you are seeking care and control of your child, you would need to inform the Court about the access arrangements you are offering to the other parent of the child.

5. If you are not seeking care and control of your child, you would need to inform the Court about the access arrangements you are seeking.

Your divorce lawyer can assist by:

1. Advising you on the strength of your case (if you wish to make an application for the interim custody of your child, or ask for the custody/ care and control of your child in your divorce proceedings).

2. Representing you in all proceedings relating to your child.

3. Drafting and filing the documents required by the Court.

4. Representing you in negotiations with the other party, mediation sessions and in Court.

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