Specialist Divorce & Family Lawyer
Divorce in Singapore

Parental Rights and Responsibility

The law focuses on the rights of the child

Parental responsibility is defined as ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child and their property’.

That means, if you have parental responsibility, you are recognised in the eyes of the law as having all the legal powers to make appropriate decisions in relation to the upbringing of your child.

On a practical level it will, among other things, allow you to contact your child’s GP to obtain or discuss medical treatment for your child, and to play an active role in your child’s education, giving you access to school reports and parents’ evenings.

A mother automatically has parental responsibility, as does a married father irrespective of whether the marriage to the mother occurred before or after the birth of the child. As such, unmarried fathers of children whose birth is registered, whether or not their names are named as the father on the birth certificate of the child, also have parental responsibility.

How to obtain parental responsibility

Many people are shocked and hurt to find that, if parents are unmarried, it is only the mother who has automatic rights with regard to their children.

A father not married to the mother can get this if the two of them make an agreement called a Custody, care and control and access Order. Even not married to the mother, a father has the same rights, for instance, to consent to medical treatment or be involved in the child’s education.

Parental responsibility can be gained by:

  • marrying the mother of your child
  • entering into a voluntary Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother
  • obtaining a Custody, care and control and access Order from the court.

Before the court will make an order granting parental responsibility, a father would need to establish that there is a degree of commitment to the child, a degree of attachment exists between the child and the father, and that the application is being made purely in the interests of the child’s welfare.

Once you have parental responsibility, it must be exercised appropriately and jointly with the mother of the child.

Parental responsibility comes to an end when the child attains the age of 21, years or earlier if a court order is made.

Yeo & Associates LLC can draft a parental responsibility agreement for a fixed fee. Call us on 62203400 or request a call using our online form.


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