The 2017 workplan unveiled by the Family Justice Courts seeks to minimize the impact of divorce on children. Children’s interests are prioritized. Disputes are resolved quickly and with as little animosity as possible.
According to Judicial Commissioner Valerie Thean, former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong is of the opinion that Singapore’s judicial system protects the legal interests of litigants in family law cases. However, Judicial Commissioner Thean feels that such enforcement may result in children suffering psychological consequences as a result of the divorce.
Divorce and its effect on children can be extremely detrimental. Parenting coordinators have been introduced since 2016. 24 specially trained parenting coordinators assist parents in implementing Court orders such as arrangements for access to children.
Lawyers play the role of a mediator to resolve minor disputes, so as to reduce the effect divorce has on children. Minor disputes may include timing and venue of handover of children. Parenting coordinators help parents to resolve their differences outside of the courtroom.
Mandatory for family lawyers to advise clients
There were also proposed amendments to rules to make it compulsory for family lawyers to advise their clients that the court will prioritize children’s needs over parents’ interests.
A parenting coordinator will also be prevented from acting as a lawyer for either parent in the later stages of the proceedings.
Child Inclusive Dispute Resolution programme
The Child Inclusive Dispute Resolution programme achieved an 80% resolution rate in 2016. In these cases, at least 1 or all cases involving children are settled.
See: Loke Kok Fai, “More protection for children in legal disputes under Family Justice Courts’ workplan”, CNA, 20 February 2017
Divorce and its effect on children
It is clear to most of my divorce clients that divorce and its effect on children can be drastic. It is certainly a good idea for Courts and lawyers to be more children-centric and place children’s interests above all.
This will go on to minimize the impact of divorce on children.
To find out more about divorce and its effect on children, contact us today!