11.34The Family Court has information sessions which are free and open to the public. The services offered by the court and the goals of the Family Court are explained. There are plans to have more detailed information sessions which will be more focused on the divorce process, akin to the role of the Australian sessions.
11.35Singapore is considering the introduction of parenting orders which will confer parental responsibilities but also require parents to attend courses to assist them with their parenting skills.1168 In contested custody cases they will consider mandatory post-divorce counselling.
Singapore parenting plans
11.36In Singapore, the Women’s Charter (Parenting Plan) Rules 1997 (Cap 353) came into operation on 1 May 1997. The parties, before a petition for divorce is filed, “shall try to agree on the arrangements for the welfare of every dependent child … and to enter into an agreed parenting plan”.1169 If the parties are unable to agree on the arrangements, they may draw up a parenting plan with the advice and assistance of persons who are trained in matters relating to child welfare. At the time of the filing of the petition the parenting plan is also filed. If the petitioner is unable to agree a plan with the respondent a proposed parenting plan is filed by the petitioner.1170 The court has the discretion to adopt the whole or part of the parenting plan.1171 A standard parenting plan is set out in the schedule to the rules.
1168 Chief Justice’s Keynote Address, Introduction of the Seventh Workplan of the Subordinate Courts 1998/1999, “Subordinate Courts 21: Leading Justice into the New Millennium”, delivered on 4 April 1998.
1169 Rule 3(1) of the Family Law Rules.
1170 Ibid at rule 4.
1171 Ibid at rule 6.