The Court can make an Order granting you and your spouse rights to the Custody of the Children in a number of different variations:
- Sole Custody. If you are given Sole Custody of your Children, you will become the sole decision-maker for major decisions concerning their upbringing. The Court will usually give Sole Custody to one parent if the parents’ relationship is a very unhealthy, unstable and hostile state and where their constant arguing and antagonism makes it unfeasible, unrealistic and seemingly impossible or impracticable for them to communicate, discuss, compromise or agree on any issue or decision relating to the Children. It is also possible that the couple has also exhausted other alternative channels and methods of resolving their disagreements, such as mediation and counselling. In cases like these, the Court may feel that Sole Custody is more appropriate because it is better for the wellbeing of the Children that decision-making relating to major milestones and events in their lives are not negatively affected, complicated or disrupted because of the parents’ constant quarrelling and inability to cooperate even for their Children’s sake. In some cases, one parent may voluntarily choose to surrender her right to Custody of the Children during negotiation with the other parent and as a condition for getting more favourable terms and rights in other aspects of the Divorce and Ancillary Matters.
- Joint Custody. If you and your spouse are given Joint Custody of your Children, both parents will be able to jointly make major decisions regarding the Children – this will need both parents to be able to discuss and agree on the decisions, and gives them an equal voice in deciding how to bring up the Children. Quite often, the Family Justice Courts in Singapore give Joint Custody compared to Sole Custody because it recognises the importance and benefit of having both parents actively participate in the upbringing of the Children and it wants to encourage both parents to be committed and take part in contributing to the development of the Children’s life, education and character even after their marriage has ended.
- Hybrid Order. This is a Court Order which gives one parent with Custody of the Children on the condition that he must consult the other parent on some specific matters that relate to the welfare of the child such as religion or relocating to another country.
- Split Custody Order. If there are 2 or more Children involved in the Divorce, a Split Custody Order can give one parent Custody of 1 child and the other parent Custody of the other child. This is uncommon and difficult to work in practice because it would involve splitting up the living arrangements of Children who are siblings. If you and your spouse have agreed on having a Split Custody Order for your Children, you may need to file an affidavit or sworn statement to explain why this arrangement will be in the best interests of your Children.
As long as a Custody Order or Care and Control Order is active, only the parent with Custody or Care and Control can bring the Children outside of Singapore unless the parent who does not have Custody or Care and Control has given his consent for this or the Court has given permission for this.
So, there you have it, some basic information on: Types of Child Custody Orders that a Court can make in a Divorce
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