Variation/Rescission on Child Maintenance Orders in Singapore
After divorce, your personal or financial circumstances may have changed. You find yourself unable to meet the legal obligations to continue paying maintenance for your child. You might also be afraid that your ex-spouse might take you back to Court for non-compliance with the Court Orders.
Well, then you have come to the right page as we are here to provide you with some options that you can take to minimise legal action.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
First of all, it is very important to communicate clearly. Communication is key. If you are faced with financial difficulty, then it is best that you communicate with your ex-spouse. Notify your ex-spouse of the issue so he or she knows what has happened and try to work it out between the both of you.
It is also very important that you have everything documented; at a minimum, email communications and confirmation must be kept. This will help reduce your legal exposure if you have been forthcoming with the things that need to be done and what these expectations are.
However, if you prefer to have the new agreed terms set out in the Court Order, you and your ex-spouse may enter into a consent order, setting out the new agreed terms.
WHAT HAPPEN IF YOUR EX-SPOUSE REFUSE TO COMMUNICATE?
In the event your ex-spouse refuses to speak with you, then you can consider taking out a formal application to vary the maintenance order.
To vary the maintenance order, you must show that there is a material change in the circumstances of yourself or your child or for “other good cause being shown to the satisfaction of the court”. The reasons to allow such variation are generally broad and the discretion to do so lies with the Court.
A party seeking to vary or rescind the child’s maintenance would most commonly rely on the change in his or the child’s circumstances. The circumstances in question had to be those prevailing at the time the agreement for maintenance entered into or when the maintenance order was made. The material changes, which you are seeking to vary an agreement for maintenance had to show, therefore related to those circumstances.
However, these material changes cannot be self-induced. You cannot deliberately reduce your own income to escape your obligation to pay maintenance. Similarly, your child cannot rely on his lavish lifestyle and expenditure to seek for an upward variation.
Lastly, you must show the Court that it is reasonable and for the welfare of the child to vary the maintenance order. For instance, the revised maintenance sum is still adequate to cover the child’s basic living expenses.
If you require a more in-depth analysis as to whether the Court is likely to grant your variation application, you may want to approach one of our experienced divorce lawyers.