At what age can a parent stop providing for the child?
In the usual circumstances, the family law in Singapore is such that parents have a legal obligation to provide for a child till the child is 21 years old.
However, maintaining the child is a responsibility parents have until the child is able to be financially independent.
Unlike in Western societies, children in Singapore do not move out from the family house until marriage.
Also, society does not expect the undergraduate to work for his/her own tuition fees and living expenses either.
This means that family courts in Singapore will usually order parents to support the child until the child finishes tertiary education (i.e. graduate from university). This is a rather common situation in Singapore.
Thus, when the child is nearing the age to attend universities, the parent can apply to vary the maintenance order to increase the number of school fees that a university education requires, and also increase the age for which the child support will end at if the maintenance order does not already cover these.
A physical or mental disability mandates parents to provide for the child beyond 21 years old. If the disability is temporary, the maintenance order can continue till the child recovers.
Agreement for child maintenance
An agreement can indeed be made about anything regarding child support, such as fixing the child maintenance at a certain amount or even waiving the sum altogether.
However, when the case is brought to court, the court will usually rule according to what will be in the interests of the child, and ignore the agreement if it is necessary for the child’s welfare.