Preventing Parental Child Abduction Singapore

What can be done to prevent parental child abduction Singapore?

At the Family Justice Courts work plan seminar held on 20 February 2017, Judicial Commissioner Valerie Thean said the Family Justice Courts would be exploring “stop order legislation” with the various ministries and agencies in 2017.

4 in 10 divorce cases in Singapore last year (2016) involved at least 1 foreigner. With the increase in cross-border divorces, there is an increasing need for stop orders.

JC Thean said: “The stakes for parents are extremely high in these cases. Whichever way the court decides, one of the parents would invariably be physically separated from their children across frontiers. With the ease of international travel, otherwise law-abiding parents often feel compelled to take the law into their own hands.”

The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction provides a method for children abducted across borders by a parent to be returned. There are presently 80 signatories to the Hague Convention. Singapore is a party to the Hague Convention.

Limitations of the Hague Convention

Despite the obvious benefits of the Hague Convention, there are limitations. For instance, parents whose children are abducted to countries which are non-signatories will not be able to make use of the Hague Convention to secure their children’s return. There are many countries in the region who are not signatories to the Hague Convention.

Benefits of stop orders

Stop orders will help in this aspect. Further, it cuts out the long process to secure a child’s return.

Stop orders already exist in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

The impact on abducted children can be serious. Many abducted children suffer from mental health effects. Hence, it is important for the Family Justice System to reduce the risk of child abduction as much as possible.

See: “Laws proposed to stop parents in custody battles from skipping town with kids”, Today, 20 February 2017

As a divorce lawyer in Singapore, I have handled many cases involving foreigners living in Singapore. Many foreigners in Singapore wish to return to their homeland after the divorce. However, complications arise if they have children. Naturally, it is not easy for parents to simply leave their children in Singapore and relocate by themselves. Hence, some parents resort to parental child abduction Singapore. In cases as such, the parent remaining in Singapore are cut off from the lives of their children and the effects can be serious for both parent and child.

Stop orders will go a long way in mitigating the risk of parental child abduction Singapore.

Please contact us to understand more about parental child abduction Singapore.

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

For more information, please contact us here.

Leave a Comment