Child custody, care and control in Singapore SURESHAN KULASINGAM, managing director of Sureshan LLC, has been acting on behalf of a multitude of clients in matrimonial matters since the onset of his practice in the late nineties; this includes matters dealing with financially substantial and complex matrimonial estates. His firm also provides commercial and civil litigation advice. “Custody and care and control of minor children are two key issues to be decided in matrimonial proceedings,” says Sureshan. The difference between “custody” and “care and control” is that custody relates to the right of a parent to decide on long-term matters affecting the child’s welfare; while care and control relates to the right to take care of the child and to make the day-to-day decisions concerning the child’s upbringing and well-being. Custody Usually, a joint custody order is made granting custody of the child to both parents, although a sole custody order may be made in exceptional circumstances where joint custody would not be in the best interests of the child. The court may alternatively make a no custody order meaning that both parents continue to own parental responsibility for the child under The Women’s Charter 1961 . Care and control Orders are commonly made for one party to have sole care and control on the basis it’s considered desirable for a child to have a single caregiver and home. An order for shared care and control may be made where the parents are able to effectively co-parent, and the child is old enough for such an arrangement.

Division of property and assets

The division of assets is one of the most disputed matters in a divorce, explains VIVIENE SANDHU, a litigator with more than 24 years of experience in all areas of family law and dispute resolution. Matrimonial assets include all property that’s acquired during the marriage – and can include anything from insurance, shares and businesses to cars, artwork and jewellery. Under Singapore divorce law, the court has the power to order the division of matrimonial assets in a “just and equitable” manner. To arrive at a fair division of assets, the court takes into account various factors to make sure the parties are treated fairly. Some of these factors include the following: • the ex t ent o f d i rec t f i nanc i a l contributions made by each party in monetary terms; • the extent of indirect contributions made by each party to the welfare of the family (such as bringing up the children); • any prenuptial agreements regarding the divisions of assets; • the needs of the children from the marriage; and, • the financial independence of each party after divorce. In addition to these key factors, the length of the marriage and the size of the matrimonial pool of assets accumulated are considered when determining who gets what. “It’s worth noting that in Singapore, assets received as gifts or inheritance are excluded from the matrimonial pool of assets,” says Viviene.

Sureshan LLC #08-02 Crown @ Robinson, 140 Robinson Road 6816 2156 |

Clifford Law LLP #08-04 The Adelphi, 1 Coleman Street 6223 4456 |



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