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.
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.
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