Divorce Consultation Involving Children: A Comprehensive Guide

Divorce Consultations Involving Children

Divorce consultations are a critical first step for individuals who are looking to end their marriage. They serve as an opportunity for individuals to understand the legal requirements, learn more about the evidence required before filing for a divorce, and prepare for the road ahead.

A meeting with one of our lawyers will give a potential client an idea of what typically happens once they decide to take the next step.

The focus will be on how to file for a divorce, work out child arrangements, and deal with related financial and legal obligations.

Preparation for Filing Papers

The initial phase of the divorce consultation focuses on what has happened thus far and the next steps that the client wishes to take. In doing so, our lawyers will ask the client several questions about their circumstances and find out why they want to proceed with a divorce.

The purpose of doing so is to help the client determine the relevant issues in their matter—for example, children’s issues, division of an HDB flat, or other financial issues. The potential client will normally lead the conversation, with one of our lawyers interjecting, when necessary, to probe for more information.

Once the relevant information is gathered, our lawyer takes over the discussion and talks the potential client through the pertinent issues in their situation and what is required:

Completion of Counseling

: When young children are under 21 years old, a potential client must complete the Mandatory Co-Parenting Programme (CPP). The programme helps individuals cope with the emotional aspects of divorce, prepare to co-parent and understand the effects that divorce may have on young children. At the end of this programme, parties will receive a Certificate of Completion, which has to be submitted with their divorce papers.

Legal Documents

: Gathering essential documents is another critical task. These documents may include the marriage certificate, parties’ identity cards, any information about the children and personal protection orders (PPOs), where applicable, and any other documents that may be relevant to the case.

Financial Documents

  • Proof of income: Payslips, Notice of Assessment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), and any other proof of income.
  • Bank Statements: Statements from all personal and joint accounts for the past 6-12 months.
  • Property Deeds: Documents showing ownership of real estate or other property.
  • Loan Documents: Mortgage loan statements, car loans, and any other personal or joint loan documents.
  • Investment Records: Stocks, bonds, Central Provident Fund (CPF) statements, and other investment details.
  • Credit Card Statements: Statements from all credit cards for the past 6-12 months.

Preparation for Court or Mediation

: Family proceedings commonly involve parties attending mediation and/or Court, which can be a new and daunting process for many. To help potential clients prepare for this, our lawyers will walk them through the process and what normally happens at these sessions.

Housing and Financial Considerations

: The discussion also covers housing issues and financial considerations related to custody arrangements. It includes exploring whether a potential client meets the requirements to retain any HDB flats in their sole name and, if not, what alternative housing arrangements are available to them, especially if the children will be living with them.

Read more: What Documents to File and Service of Documents

Discussion on Children’s Issues

The consultation then moves to the topic of child maintenance and the broader divorce proceedings. The lawyer emphasizes the following points:

Children’s Arrangements

: The paramount consideration should always be the best interests and welfare of the children when making any decisions involving them.
In doing so, parties have to decide how they make critical decisions for the children, who the children will live with when the other parent can visit and what each party’s maintenance obligations should be.

This process can be quite emotionally charged, as parties sometimes fight over who the children should live with, who is better equipped to care for them, and how much each party should contribute.

Legal Obligation for Child Maintenance

: Both parents are legally required to maintain their children. This means providing financial support that covers the children’s basic needs and other expenses.

When considering how much each party should pay, the Court will consider both parties’ incomes, expenses and overall financial capacity.

Preparation of Expense Table

: The potential client will be instructed to prepare a detailed table of expenses for themselves, all the children, and the household. This table will be essential in determining the amount of financial support needed for the children and themselves and each party’s financial capacity.

Children’s Entitlements

: It’s crucial not to give up on the children’s entitlements and to come up with an accurate list of expenses for the children, both short-term and long-term. Proper preparation, research, and documentation, such as receipts, invoices, bills, and proof of payment, can ensure that the children receive the support they deserve.

Read more: Comprehensive Guide to Children’s Issues in Divorce Cases

To Sum Up
A divorce consultation is an essential first step in preparing for divorce. This consultation often assists potential clients in understanding the legal requirements, gathering necessary documents, planning for the future, and preparing to file divorce papers.

By following the guidance provided during the consultation, individuals can navigate the divorce process more effectively and ensure that their and their children’s rights are protected.

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Your 30-minute free consultation with our family lawyers will include advice on:

  • Laws applicable to your situation;
  • Options available if you decide to take matters forward;
  • Estimated costs involved in your matter.

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