The appointment of guardians in Singapore is governed by the Guardianship of Infants Act. A guardian is defined as a parent, who will be a natural guardian, or an adult who has been appointed as a guardian. A guardian essentially steps in to undertake parental responsibilities towards the child. There are a few scenarios where the court would authorise an appointment of a guardian:
- If either parent passes on, they can make a will by deed to appoint any person to be the guardian of the child after death
- A parent who is naturally a guardian without court appointment
- A guardian for a child that is a ward of court. Essentially, this means that the court makes all major decisions for the child
- The court can appoint a guardian on behalf of the child.
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Rights of surviving parent to the infant
The surviving spouse usually becomes the natural guardian of the child and will act either alone of jointly with any guardian appointed by the other spouse. If no guardian has been appointed on the death of one spouse, the court has the power to appoint who they deem fit as guardian to jointly act with the other spouse.
The court has wide discretionary powers in varying orders or resolving any disputes between guardians.