Penal Notices and other Child Custody issues

by | Feb 1, 2024 | Media

If you and your spouse are contested and disputing how the Custody of your Children should be decided and you are worried about how this will be decided in your Divorce, you may need to engage a lawyer experienced in Divorce and Family Law in Singapore to advise you of your rights and options as well as help plan and carry out your next steps.

If one parent is given the right to have Care and Control of the Children, that parent will have the right to be the main and primary caregiver of the children on a day-to-day basis and this almost always means that the Children will live with this parent for the majority of the week while they are attending school (e.g. Monday to Friday).

The other parent (who does not have the right to have Care and Control of the Children) will be given the right to have Access to the Children as a separate Order of the Court. Access to the Children means the right to spend time with the Children directly. This is also known as “visitation rights” in some other countries. The terms of Access can be either be worded in general and broad terms to cover any and all reasonable access to the child (usually subject to advance notice being given and consent obtained), or they can be worded in very strict and specific terms to cover a clearly defined list of time periods and situations (e.g. only during certain times of the week or year).

If you are the parent without the right to have Care and Control of the Children, the Court will usually give you reasonable Access to the Child unless there are very strong reasons against doing so.

If you are worried that your spouse who has Care and Control of the Children will often or repeatedly deny or prevent you from exercising your rights to have Access to the Children, you can apply to the Court to attach a “Penal Notice” to the Care and Control Order that will list out the specific terms and responsibilities which your spouse (who has Care and Control) must comply with, for example giving you access to the Children at the specific and stipulated periods stated in the Care and Control Order. The purpose and effect of the Penal Notice is that your spouse who breaches it will have to answer to the Court and may be punished with fines or imprisonment in serious cases.

The Social Welfare Report is also often prepared by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MFS) to help the Court decide which parents should have Custody and Care and Control of the Children. Officers from the government body will interview the parents and Children and study the relationship of the parents and Children and inform the Court.

So, there you have it, some basic information on: How does the Family Justice Court decide on which parent to give Custody or Care and Control to?

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If you need a family lawyer in Singapore and you’re dealing with complex Child Custody issues, I’m offering a free 30-minute consultation to help you figure out if I’m the right fit for your case and provide you actionable advice on how to move forward. Learn more about what’s involved in Divorce consultation fees.

About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.