Child Maintenance Guidelines in Singapore
If you are a parent to a child under the age of 21, you have a legal duty to pay child maintenance to your child. This is regardless of whether you are married to the child’s other parent or if you have the custody of the child. This is also regardless of whether either parent has remarried. Child maintenance in Singapore can be in the form of periodic payments (e.g. monthly payments) or a lump sum payment.
If you fulfill the abovementioned child maintenance guidelines in Singapore, you should pay child maintenance.
Child Maintenance Fee Calculator
In general, the Court will consider the factors listed in Section 69 of the Women’s Charter in deciding the quantum of child maintenance payable. The factors include:
1. The child’s financial needs.
2. The financial means of parties.
3. The child’s disability (if any).
4. The parents’ ages.
5. The duration of the marriage.
6. The contributions made by each party towards the child’s welfare.
7. The standard of living enjoyed by the child.
8. The manner in which the child was, and is expected to be, educated and trained.
No child maintenance fee calculator is full-proof. However, for a sampling of the child maintenance you are obliged to prepare for your child, you may wish to use this child maintenance fee calculator.
Cut-off Age for Child Maintenance in Singapore
In general, you are obliged to provide for your child until he/ she reaches the age of 21. However, under Section 69(5) of the Women’s Charter, child maintenance in Singapore may go on in the following cases:
1. The child has a disability.
2. The child will be serving full-time national service.
3. The child is still schooling or undergoing vocational training.
4. There are other special circumstances justifying child maintenance in Singapore.
Who Can Apply for Child Maintenance in Singapore?
If the child is under 21, the guardian or the parent having custody of the child may apply. If the child is above 21, the child may apply.
The Court will order maintenance if it is shown that:
1. The child or the parent having custody/ guardian is unable to support the child.
2. The other parent has neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance.
Process of Application of Child Maintenance in Singapore
If you are in the process of getting a divorce, the maintenance of your child will be resolved as part of the divorce process. If you reach an agreement with your spouse by yourself (uncontested) or through mediation, the quantum of child maintenance can be recorded in the divorce Court order. Otherwise, the Court hear parties’ evidence and arguments before making a decision on the quantum of child maintenance.
If you are not in the process of getting a divorce, you can create a draft maintenance application for your child via the iFAMS (Integrated Family Application Management Systems). You will need to login to the iFAMS portal using your SingPass ID. You will need to submit a copy of your child’s birth certificate and your identification document such as your NRIC or passport. If you do not wish to go through the iFAMS portal, you can also apply in person at the Family Justice Courts registry.
The nominal fee for such an application is S$1. Subsequently, you can proceed to the Family Justice Courts Registry for the Court to verify your documents and submit your application. A District Judge at the Family Justice Courts will review the application. You will affirm/ swear that the contents of your application are true and accurate. If the application is in order, the Court will issue a summons to the other parent (hereinafter known as “parent B”) and a date for a first hearing will be listed. The summons will be served on the parent B by the Court’s process server.
The following scenarios may happen:
1. Parent B does not show up in Court. A warrant of arrest will be issued against him/ her.
2. Parent B shows up and agreed with the maintenance claimed. A maintenance order can be made pursuant to the agreement.
3. Parent B shows up and disagree with the maintenance claimed. Parties will be sent to mediation. If mediation succeeds and parties reach an agreement, a maintenance order can be made. Otherwise, the matter will proceed to trial.
Evidence to be submitted to the Court and parent B include:
1. List of monthly expenses (and documentary evidence such as receipts) for the child and yourself.
2. Your payslips and CPF statements for the last 6 months.
3. Your employment contract (if any).
4. Your IRAS statements for the last 3 years.
5. Your updated bank statements.
Private Agreement on Non-Provision of Child Maintenance in Singapore
Parties may enter a prenuptial, postnuptial agreement or deed of separation to indicate that parent B shall not be liable to pay child maintenance in Singapore. Such an agreement may not be enforceable by the Court, given that the Court’s overriding consideration is the welfare of the child. If the welfare of the child is compromised by virtue of such an agreement, it is likely that the Courts will still make a maintenance order upon application.
Variation of Maintenance Order in Singapore
Subsequent to the grant of the divorce order or maintenance order, if there is a material change in circumstances, either party may apply to the Court for a variation of maintenance order in Singapore.
If you still have questions on how much child maintenance you should pay in Singapore, you should consult an experienced divorce lawyer for a detailed evaluation of your case. You may wish to contact us at +6598330314 (whatsapp).
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