There are three general types of child arrangement order:
- Child custody order;
- Order for care and control; and
- Access order.
What is a child custody order?
The court almost always grants joint custody order to parents. This requires both parents to make joint decisions on major matters, which include education, healthcare and religion.
What happens if my ex-spouse breaches a child custody order?
If your ex-spouse had made a major decision without informing and discussing the matter with you, his/her actions would be against the spirit of co-parenting. This will also not be in the child’s best interest as both parents should be involved in major-decision making for the child. You should highlight this concern to your ex-spouse and try to reach an arrangement on how future decision-making can be arranged.
Our divorce lawyers are experienced in child matters and would be able to advise you on your position.
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What is an order for care and control?
The child will reside with the parent with care and control. That parent will also make day-to-day decisions for the child. However, access orders will be granted to the other parent to ensure that the child benefits from having both parents in his/her life even after the marriage has broken down.
The degree of access conferred may differ – ie. liberal access, reasonable access and supervised access.
What if my ex-spouse breaches an access order?
If your ex-spouse has breached an access order, you should highlight your concerns to him/her and attempt to reach an amicable solution.
However, if your ex-spouse is unreasonable and/or when negotiations break down, you may wish to file an application for a variation of access order. You need to show that there has been a material change in circumstances.
My ex-spouse has care and control of the child and she does not let me exercise my access with the child.
Both parents have equal parental rights; your spouse should not restrict your access to the child. The Court frowns upon such behavior and may in turn award care and control to the aggrieved parent.
My child resides with my ex-spouse. She brought them overseas without informing me.
If your ex-spouse was granted custody or care and control of the child, she does not need to seek your permission to take the child out of Singapore if the period of travel is less than one month.
My ex-spouse intends to relocate with the child. I do not agree. What should I do?
Your ex-spouse will need to obtain either your consent or the leave of court in order to relocate. If your ex-spouse had not obtain such consent or leave and you have reason to believe that there is a real risk and danger of your ex-spouse relocating, you may apply for an injunction order to restrict him/her from doing so.
If I have care and control of the child but my ex-spouse has removed the child from Singapore and into another country without my consent, what should I do?
If the child has been brought into another country that is a signatory of the Hague Convention, our divorce lawyers can assist you in applying for a declaration that the removal or retention outside of Singapore was wrongful. This declaration can be used under the Hague Convention for the return of the child to be ordered.