Child Custody – Shared Care and Control Case Studies
During a divorce, shared care and control is one of the types of care and control orders that a court may grant with regards to the children. Distinctive from a sole care and control order whereby one parent will become the primary caregiver of the child, a shared care and control order will translate to both parents having the right to make day to day decisions on the upbringing of the child when s/he resides with them. This will effectively mean that the child now stays with both parents as per an agreed schedule.
The crux of a shared care and control order is that the child would spend approximately equal amounts of time (including overnight) with each parent. In order to more aptly illustrate the orders, we can turn to the High Court case of AHJ v AHK  SGHC 148 where the Court ordered that the child would spend Saturdays 8 pm to Wednesday 11:30 am with the mother, and the rest of the week with the father. Another alternative arrangement was reached in the case of AKF v AKG  SGHC 225 where the same learned judge held that the children would spend alternate fortnights with each parent.
When is shared care and control order suitable?
Although not explicitly provided for, guidance can be sought from the line of recent cases handed down by the courts. In the case of AQL v AQM  SGHC 264, the High Court came to a conclusion that shared care and control was not suitable due to the child being of tender age and the fact that parties had a stark contrast in parenting styles. The court further elaborated that a considerable amount of stress would be placed on the child in order for him to toggle between the different expectations of each parent and that such stress cannot be beneficial for his development.
Before the granting of shared care and control, the courts also consider the high level of co-operation required between the two parents. The courts pointed out in ZO v ZP  SGDC 33 that shared care and control may potentially be too disruptive to the daily living regime of the child, especially when the relationship between the parties are acrimonious and fractured. This is especially true for older school-going children where they need to have a regime and system in place.
As such, although the courts have allowed some degree of insight into the factors taken into consideration whilst ordering for shared care and control of the child, we may still have to wait for more cases in order to ascertain a more definitive answer.