Understanding Child Custody: Sole Custody & Joint Custody

understanding child custody

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During divorce, child custody is one of the issues that many parents grapple with.

To start off, a ‘child’ of marriage is defined in the Women’s Charter, as a child who is under 21 years of age. Custody refers to the parent who has legal decision-making authority in the life of a child.

This decision-making authority commonly includes major life issues such as health, religion, and education.

The parent, which has care and control over the child, is the parent with whom the child lives with on a day-to-day basis.

Key Points

  • Care & Control refers to the parent with whom the child lives with on a day-to-day basis
  • Sole Custody refers to the exclusive right / discretion by one parent to make big decisions relating to the child(ren)
  • Joint Custody refers to both parents having to make big decisions relating to the child(ren) together

A parent with sole custody of the child is given the power to solely make big decisions for the child(ren)

A sole custody arrangement is rare and is usually issued by the court only when the other parent is deemed ‘unfit’ for custody. In a sole custody situation, the court may grant visitation rights to the other parent.

However, these visits may be supervised, especially if the parent deemed ‘unfit’ for custody has a history of domestic abuse or violence.

In most cases in Singapore, the court grants parents with joint custody, usually with one parent having care and control over the child. In this case, both parents play a part in making important parenting decisions for the child.

The court has generally been in favour of joint custody so that parental bonds are maintained and both parents can execute their common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of their children.

child custody arrangements

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