All You Need To Know About Custody, Care And Control Of Your Children In Singapore

All You Need To Know About Custody, Care And Control Of Your Children In Singapore

What Are The Differences Between Custody, And Care And Control In Singapore?


A custody order gives the parent authority over major, long-term decisions with regard to the child, that have bigger impacts over the child’s life. In Singapore, co-parenting is highly encouraged, and joint custody is more often than not the order given in a custody decision.

Examples of Custody Decisions:

  • Education – which school the child should attend, decisions over extra-curricular activities, school subjects that the child should be enrolled in etc.
  • Religion – Whether or not the child should attend religious services, which religion a child should be exposed to, etc.
  • Medical – What course of treatment the child should take if he/she falls ill, which hospital and doctor to seek treatment from, whether or not the child should be hospitalised, etc.

Care and Control

The parent who has care and control over the child has the authority to make minor, everyday short-term decisions concerning the child’s upbringing and welfare, and take care of the child’s needs on a daily basis.

In Singapore, care and control is usually the biggest point of contention with regards to the child, as joint custody is usually the order given for custody.

The care and control is usually given to the parent that the child will be residing with, while the other parent will be given reasonable access to the child.

Examples of Care and Control decisions:

  • The child’s day to day meals, schedule and habits
  • The child’s clothing and transportation
  • The child’s general whereabouts and activities

What Are The Issues The Court Takes Into Consideration When Making Decisions About Custody, And Care And Control?

The Welfare Of The Child

The child’s welfare is the fundamental basis on which the court will consider how the custody, and care and control of the child will be determined. A child’s welfare does not only include the child’s physical wellbeing and the ability of the parent to provide a good life for the child, but also includes the child’s moral and religious welfare, their close relationships, the continuation of their current lifestyle, their happiness, as well as their comfort and security.

Parents’ Responsibilities Toward The Child

It is the duty of the parents to be responsible for their child, despite the status of their marriage. If the parents are divorced, and a parent is no longer staying with the child, he/she will still need to take certain responsibilities for the child.

How Does The Court Decide On Who Should Get Custody?

Some factors that the court considers when determining the welfare of the child:

  • Possibility of the child to be able to maintain the status quo; Generally, the court would find it beneficial for the child to be able to preserve his/her lifestyle and routine, so as not to cause much disruption to the child’s life. (Wong Phila Mae v Shaw Harold)
  • If there are two or more children to the marriage, they should not be separated; Children tend to have strong attachments and emotional connections to their siblings, and these relationships are important and beneficial for all the children. (Kim Chun Ahe v Ng Siew Kee)
  • The maternal bond; Even though there have been criticisms towards this factor due to the fact that both parents are equal under Section 46(1) of the Women’s Charter, it is still a compelling reason for the court to grant custody to the mother when considering the immediate welfare of infants or young kids.

Subject to the many factors surrounding the welfare of the child, the court will also have regard to:

  • The wishes of the parents; and
  • The wishes of the child, if the child is able to maturely form his/her own independent opinion.

What Are The Different Types Of Custody?

  • Sole custody - where only one adult gets to make major decisions over the child
  • Joint custody – where both parents jointly get to make the major decisions over the child
  • No custody – where there are no actual disputes between the parents on the major issues concerning the child, the parents are able to just maintain the status quo of parenting their child together.

Which Type Of Custody Is The Most Common?

Typically, the Court tends to lean towards granting joint custody. This is to encourage both parents to continue to be involved in their children’s lives through joint parenting, since it is also for the welfare and the good of the child to have both of his/her parents’ input as their life progresses.

Generally, sole custody orders are made only in certain exceptional cases where the presence of a parent is detrimental or endangers the child’s welfare. For example, a situation where there may be physical, sexual or emotional abuse of the child or in situations where the relationship between the parents is so acrimonous that co-operation between them is impossible. We reiterate that sole custody orders are rare and usually the exception, rather than the rule.

Order For Custody With Additional Conditions

The court has the right to impose conditions when making an order for custody. For example, conditions can be placed on the child’s living arrangements, education or religion. In addition, the court can also impose conditions to prohibit the custodial parent from taking the child out of Singapore.

How Does The Court Decide On Who Should Get Care And Control?

The court usually grants care and control to just one parent who becomes the child’s primary caregiver. The parent who is assessed to be able to give better daily care and upbringing of the child will usually be granted the order.

The parent with care and control of the child would need to have the capacity to make decisions that promote the child’s welfare. The presence of a genuine and loving relationship between the parent and the child is also taken into account. The said parent would also need to be able to financially support the child. The court also takes into consideration factors such as preserving the status quo of the child’s present lifestyle, and also the wishes of the child (if they are able to form an independent opinion).

Shared care and control may also be ordered, although in rare circumstances. In these situations, the child spends time living with each parent – who becomes the primary caregiver during each specific duration when the child is living with him/her. Ultimately, the court may order shared care and control differently, depending on the circumstances.


If you are contemplating your options with respect to a potential divorce, we can assist. Just get in touch with us through our contact form below and we will follow up with you regarding your matter.

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Filed under: Divorce
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