Unsure about your maintenance and child custody obligations after a divorce? Family mediator and lawyer Rajan Chettiar sets the record straight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: Can men request for alimony?
Many men feel that Singapore divorce law favours women.
But in reality, these laws are based on contributions made by both parties to the marriage. However, per the Women’s Charter in Singapore, men who are unemployed or house husbands cannot claim maintenance from their working wives. The same laws also apply to expat couples in Singapore.
Question 2: What are a husband’s rights and obligations to his wife?
During the marriage, divorce proceedings and after the divorce is obtained, husbands have to pay their wives alimony, or maintenance, in which he supports her living expenses such as food, clothes, medical, transportation, toiletries and more. It is his duty to maintain the wife until she remarries or dies. If the wife’s income is suﬃcient to pay for her expenses, then a nominal maintenance or no maintenance may be awarded to her.
Question 3: Can the husband or wife vary the maintenance amount?
Yes, if he or she can show good reasons such as career changes, incapacitation, a new family or a legitimate increase in expenses.
Question 4: Does the husband have to maintain the children solely?
No, the working wife has to share the monthly expenses, which is based on both parent’s individual monthly income. If the husband earns two-thirds more than the wife, he then has to shoulder two-thirds of the children’s total expenses and vice versa.
Question 5: Can the wife make changes to the children’s schooling or medical treatments without consulting the husband?
The concept of joint custody means that both parents must jointly decide on the issues such as changing the children’s name or religion, relocation, choice of schools and courses as well as types of major medical treatment.
Question 6: If the wife has care and control of the children, does she have superior rights over the children?
No, both parents have equal rights to the children, as they have joint custody. Care and control only relates to whom the children live with, who takes care of the children daily and who makes daily living decisions for them.
Question 7: Why can’t a husband have care and control of the children?
Under Singapore law, care and control is usually granted to mothers rather than fathers. This does not mean that fathers are inferior parents. When the child is older, he or she can decide and inform the Court in proceedings of his or her wish to live with the father.
Question 8: How can I protect my legal rights if I’m getting a divorce?
Nip any marital conﬂict in the bud by resolving it with your wife or through counselling. If both of you are attempting a negotiation of a marital dispute that you think will go to court, keep proper records of such communications – preferably hard copy letters or emails. Get a lawyer to review or prepare a legal record of any marital asset or money agreements made during the marriage. You should also keep a record of your expenses and asset documents. This is a good personal management practice and will be useful in the future in case of a dispute. Seek a family law specialist who actively practices alternative dispute resolution. Litigation does not necessarily produce the results that you may want and can be expensive. Amicable divorce settlements are much preferred, especially when you have children, as acrimonious and stressful divorce proceedings will spill over and aﬀect your co-parenting relationship.
Get in touch with Rajan Chettiar
Get a quick consult from Rajan Chettiar or other lawyers with similar expertise for your questions on family law. You can expect a call back from the lawyers within 1-2 days, to give you practical legal advice, all for a transparent, flat fee starting at S$49.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.
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