• In Singapore, every parent has a legal obligation and duty to maintain or contribute to the maintenance of their children (e.g. reasonable cost of accommodation, clothing, food and education).
  • This duty exists regardless of:
    • Whom the children are in the custody of
    • Whether the children are legitimate or illegitimate
  • Each parent has an equal duty to maintain the children and the starting point is both parents should bear the financial burden equally.
  • This generally means that one parent should not automatically be required to pay more maintenance simply because he / she has more money and, likewise, one parent should not automatically be required to pay less maintenance simply because he / she has less money.
  • A parent must maintain a stepchild if the child was accepted as a member of the parent’s family and where the child’s biological parents do not provide full maintenance.
  • Maintenance can be provided by paying a monthly allowance or making a lump sum payment.
  • The Court will determine the amount of maintenance to be paid considering the following factors:
    • Financial needs of the child.
    • Income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of both the child and parents.
    • Ratio of total earning income of both parents (i.e. the financially stronger parent generally pays more).
    • Any physical or mental disability of the child.
    • Age of each parent and the duration of the marriage.
    • Contributions made by each of the parties to the marriage to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family.
    • Standard of living enjoyed by the wife or child before the parent neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for the child.
    • How the child was already being educated and how the parents expected him to continue to be educated.
    • Conduct of the parties.
  • The Court can revise any agreement made between the parents relating to the child’s maintenance.
  • A parent’s duty to provide maintenance generally ends when the reaches the age of 21 or when the child becomes financially independent.
  • However, the Court has the authority to order that the maintenance continue to be provided after the child reaches the age of 21 e.g. until the completion of the child’s tertiary education or until the child recovers from any medical treatment or disability.

Leave a Reply