HOW DO THE COURTS DECIDE WHICH PARENT GETS CUSTODY OF A CHILD?
If you are going through a divorce, PKWA Family Lawyers explain the factors that judges take into account when deciding on child custody, care and control.
HOW DO JUDGES DECIDE WHICH PARENT GETS CUSTODY OF A CHILD?
When parents cannot agree on how they are going to raise their children after divorce, judges have to decide which parent should have custody, care and control. This is not a good situation to be in because judges may not know the parties and their children well enough, and yet the judge is making critical decisions about the rest of the children’s lives.
It is always better for the parents decide among themselves who the children should live with. After all, the parent know the children better than a judge will ever likely get to know them.
Unfortunately, in some cases, parents are adamant that the other parent is not suitable to look after the children and cannot come to an amicable agreement.
When deciding which parent should have physical custody of the children, judges usually give no weight to what the parents want. This surprises a lot of clients. The law requires that the judge decides custody, care and control issues based only on what is in the best interest of the child. This can be expressed in one simple principle:
What is in the best interests of the Child’s welfare, not parents’ wishes, is at top of judges’ mind when deciding which parent should have care and control
Factors that judges will take into account will include:
The love and emotional ties between the child and each of the parents.
Each parent’s relationship with the child.
Which parent was the primary caregiver for the child during the marriage?
Where has the child been living? If a child has been living in one place for a period of time, and everything has gone well, the court is reluctant to change the status quo.
If there is more than one child, the court will naturally try to keep the children together.
A parent’s ability to spend time with the child.
whether one parent has been obstructing the relationship between the child and the other parent.
the child’s wishes (if the child is matured enough to express a wish).
Family Court judges may also appoint a Child Representative or to call for certain types of Reports to enable the judge to make an informed decision about custody battles.
The court may appoint a Child Representative in any action or proceeding involving a child or the custody or welfare of a child.
A Child Representative is a third party individual appointed by the court to act in the best interests of the child. The decisions that the Child Representative makes will be a reflection of what they think will benefit the child the most after observation of the child. The Child Representative will not take into consideration what the parents want for themselves.
A Child Representative acts as the voice of the children in court.
Custody Evaluation Report (“CER”)
When there is a child custody dispute, the courts may ask the Ministry of Social and Family Development to conduct an investigation and produce a “Custody Evaluation Report” before deciding on custody matters.
The Custody Evaluation Report may contain the following information:
Offer an objective insight into the matters concerning the child.
how the child interacts with the parents.
what the child wants.
Represent the voice of the child in court.
investigate any allegations of ill treatment by a parent against the child.
If you are facing a divorce and have children, you should see a family law specialist immediately.
About PKWA Law Practice
Established since 1988, PKWA Law is one of Singapore’s most well known and largest family law firms, specialising in divorce law, family law, wills and probate. We are consistently named as a leading family law firm by respected legal publications such as Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review, Global Law Experts and Doyle’s Guide to Singapore Family Lawyers.
Conveniently located at HDB Hub, PKWA Family Law charges affordable fixed fees that are catered for the average Singaporean.
Contact us at tel 6854-5336 for a free first consultation.
Keen to discuss more? Contact PKWA Law today for your free consultation.