Child Custody in Divorce Proceedings

by | Aug 15, 2020

Difference between Child Custody and Care and Control

Child custody determines which parent will be granted full and long-term decision-making rights regarding a minor’s upbringing. In Singapore, the court usually issues joint custody to both parents with care and control given to the mother.

However, child custody is different from Care and Control of the child. Child custody grants the authority to make major decisions for the child, which may include matters concerning education, religion and healthcare of the child. On the other hand, Care and Control is granted to the parent who will be involved to be in the child’s daily life whereas the other parent will only be granted access to the child for certain periods.

There are also generally 4 types of child custody granted by the Court:

1. Sole Custody

Firstly, there is sole custody where the parent will be the sole decision-maker for major decisions involving the child. Such custody is usually granted when the couple is unable to communicate amicably with each other and it is obvious that their relationship would potentially harm the welfare and interests of the child.

There are also cases where parents may consent to give the custody of the child to the other parent.

2. Joint Custody

As mentioned earlier, both parents would be joint decision-makers for the child and have an equal say in the upbringing of the child. This is also a sign of acknowledgement by the Court that the maintenance of parental bonds and their joint presence are vital to the growth and development of the child.

3. Hybrid Custody

In this case, even though one parent is granted custody over the child, he/she must consult the other parents on issues that concern the child before coming to a decision.

4. Split Custody

In cases that involve parents with multiple children, the court may split the custody of the children among both parents whereby custody of one or more siblings is granted to one parent while the rest would go to the other parent.

How is The Type of Child Custody Determined?

In determining the type of custody, the Court looks at how it would ensure that the child would have an optimal living arrangement and is also the main consideration of the judges in their final decision. In accounting for the child’s welfare, the Court takes into consideration a non-exhaustive list of the following factors that include:

  • Child’s age and present living arrangement
  • The primary caregiver of the child
  • Both child’s and parents’ wishes
  • Parent’s financial ability

It is important to note, however, that no two custodial cases are the same. At the end of the day, it is up to the court to evaluate the factors that are considered to be in the best interests of the child. The judge also has the authority to make changes to the proposed custodial arrangements, including visitation frequency and schedules and the amount of child support. The court’s decision is also final and failure to comply would be further dealt with.

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.