Basic principle

Even if a parent does not have care and control of his/ her child, he/ she would be able to have access to the child as such access periods would be beneficial to the child.

See: Section 126 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)

If I do not have care and control of my child, how much access am I entitled to?

Various factors are considered by the Court, including:

1. Your child’s needs.

2. Your child’s wishes.

3. Your previous contact with your child.

4. Your relationship with your child.

Supervised access and unsupervised access

Generally, access orders are unsupervised and the parent having access to his/ her child is able to see his/ her child without any monitoring.

Supervised access orders are made in some cases to:

1. Protect the child from possible abuse.

2. Assess the relationship of the parent having access with the child (especially if they have not had contact for a long period of time, or if access periods are infrequent).

3. Improve the relationship between the child and the parent having access (with a view to unsupervised access once the relationship improves).

Access periods

Access periods may include the following:

1. Weekend access: This may include overnight access (for instance, from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon) subject to the child’s school and other activities.

2. Weekday access: For a school-going child, access during the weekdays may be limited to a few hours (for instance, a midweek dinner) subject to the child’s school and other activities.

3. Public holiday access: Parents often arrange to spend alternate public holidays with the child. For important occasions such as Chinese New Year, Christmas, Hari Raya and Deepavali, parents may wish to make special arrangements. For instance, you may wish to spend Christmas Eve with the child, leaving the other parent to spend Christmas Day with the child. This arrangement may be alternated every year.

4. School holidays: The parent having access may wish to spend a longer, uninterrupted period with the child during the school holidays subject to the child’s school and other activities.

5. Other special occasions such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, the child’s birthday and the parents’ birthdays.

Other issues to be worked out

1. What if there is a conflict? For instance, if you have access to your child over the weekend from Saturday morning to Sunday morning, and the other parent’s birthday falls on a Saturday, who should have access to the child?

2. Handover venues: Where do you pick up and handover the child?

Taking your child out of Singapore

Where the Court has given a custody order, no person shall take the child out of Singapore unless the person who wishes to take the child out of Singapore is the custodial parent, or any other person who has the written consent of the custodial parent. In any case, the period spent outside Singapore must be less than 1 month.

To bring your child out of Singapore, you would normally need to provide the following information to the other parent:

1. Proposed itinerary.

2. Contact details.

3. Accommodation details.

4. Identity of person(s) travelling with the child other than yourself.

Your divorce lawyer can assist by:

1. Advising you on the strength of your case (if you wish to make an interim application to gain access to your child, or ask for access to 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

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