Child Custody Dispute – Our Focus is The Well Being of Children
- Does the outcome of the Type of Custody affect my Rights over my child?
- Sole Custody
- Joint Custody
- How can we help?
What is a Child Custody Dispute?
A relationship with both parents is the best for a child. However when a couple is not able to reconcile they differences, the question of who takes custody of the children often arises, and the matter may end up in court, to decide which parent is gets custody and care and control of the children. It is important to understand that Custody and Care and Control are different. The difference will be elaborated later in this article.
The hope is for both parents to come to a compromise. However this may not always be possible, and the result is usually a custody dispute in court.
Types of Custody Orders
The outcome of custody disputes may come down to one of four outcomes – Sole Custody Order, Joint Custody Order, a Split Custody Order or a Hybrid Custody Order. The Governing Statute for Custody Disputes in Singapore is the Guardianship of Infants Act.
Does the outcome of the Type of Custody affect my Rights over my child?
It is important for both parents to attempt reconciliation and work out their differences. If that is not possible, at the very least a compromise on the custody of the children should be reached by the parents. If this is also not possible, then parents need to understand that having custody of a child, does not necessarily mean care and control of a child. There are two distinct differences:
- Sole Custody (discussed later) grants the parent the authority to make major decisions for the child, where such decisions may include, for example, education
- The parent who is granted care and control will be involved in the daily matters of the child.
An example of the above would be when the court grants custodial rights to both parents and care and control to only one parent.
When a Sole Custody order is granted, one parent is granted custody and care and control of the child, or children. Such an order is usually granted when it is clear that it is in the best interest of the child. In such cases, there are irreconcilable difference between the parents, and it is in the best interest of the child or children. All avenues of reconciliation and compromise, such as dialog, counselling etc would have been exhausted at this point. The child/children may also state their preference of custody, provided the child is old enough. However, the final decision rests in the hands of the Court, in the best interest of the child.
There may be other reasons for a Sole Custody order, where:
- It has been established and shown that one parent is abusive towards the child/children
- one parent relinquishes custody to the other parent.
Sole Custody is generally not healthy for the child’s well-being. It is important for both parents to be in the child’s’ life, especially in the developmental years, regardless of the parents’ differences.
Under a Joint Custody order, both parents are given care and control of the child/children. Both parents are decision makers for the child and have to reach a common ground, consensus during decision making processes and consult each other on major decisions involving the child. The parents are encouraged to co-operate with each other for the welfare of the child, reinstating the fact that both parents are important in a child’s life and Parenthood is a lifelong journey.
It is important for one parent to encourage, nurture and facilitate the relationship of the child with the other parent, and vice versa. Just because the marriage has ended, it does not mean the bond and relationship a child has with his/her parent has to end. Both parents need to rise above each other, place their differences, anger, whatever the reason for divorce may be aside, and strive for the well-being of the child, and nurture the child together.
There are other types of Custody Orders, which a person may discuss with their legal counsel.
How can we help?
At the Centre for Psychotherapy, our paramount concern and focus is the well being of the child/children involved in the custody dispute. We have provided assessments and reports to the legal services and State Courts of Singapore. Clients with Custody Dispute matters go through counselling and independent assessment with us. We then release a report based on our findings.