Helping the Child: Child Maintenance in Singapore
The Duty of a Parent in Singapore
Why do People File for Maintenance in Singapore?
Who can apply for Child Maintenance in Singapore?
• A child who is 21 and is still a full-time national serviceman or student
• Any sibling who is 21 or older
• Anyone appointed by the Minister
The Courts Criteria regarding Child Maintenance in Singapore.
• Financial needs of the child
• The income/earning capacity of the providing parent (i.e. the financially stronger parent generally pays more)
• Any mental or physical disability of the child
• The standard or living enjoyed by the child before a parent neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for the child (e.g. eating a lot of pricey organic food)
• The manner in which he was being educated or trained
When do I stop paying for Child Maintenance in Singapore?
The order for child maintenance will end when the child reaches 21 years old unless the child still needs financial support due to the following reasons:
• Mental or physical disability
• Full-time service in the army
• Full-time instruction at an educational establishment or undergoing job training (applies even if the child is in gainful employment)
• Other conditions that justify the making/upholding of the order
Once the court mandates the order, changing it won’t be easy. It can only be modified under certain circumstances. The parent may apply for the maintenance amount to be decreased if there are material changes in his current situation that disables him from paying the same amount of maintenance (e.g. if the paying parent goes to jail or falls ill and is unable to earn enough money to support the child).
What if I do not pay Child Maintenance in Singapore?
If the parent fails to make one or more payments as stated in the order, the Court can do one or all of these things:
• Order the parent to pay a fine of the amount owed for each violation of the order
• Sentence the parent to jail for a term of less than a month for each month’s unpaid allowance (The parent still must pay maintenance even if he or she has been prosecuted and punished for the noncompliance of the Court order)
• Make a Garnishee Order in accordance with the Family Justice Rules made under Section 79. In a Garnishee Order, a bank or third party will be ordered to pay money from the person’s account or funds to pay for the maintenance. Another type of this sort is called an Attachment of Earnings Order, in which the parent’s employer will be ordered to set aside a part of his or her salary to transfer to maintenance
• Order the parent to set up security against any future default in maintenance payments by means of a banker’s guarantee which will be valid for a period of less than 3 years and be for an amount that is not more than 3 months of maintenance payable under the maintenance order
• Order the parent to go to financial counselling
• Order the parent to perform unpaid community service for up to 40 hours under the supervision of a community service officer
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