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Old 13th September 2010, 02:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Mandatory divorce counselling

Mandatory divorce counselling
By Amanda Lee


ALL divorcing couples with children under 21 years will have to attend compulsory counselling, under proposed changes to the Women's Charter.

The counselling and mediation will address child-related issues and help parties come to an agreement on what is in the best interests of the children, said a consultation paper on the draft amendments released on Monday.

'This is to safeguard children's interests, who are often caught in acrimonious custody battles and post-divorce negotiations on a range of matters,' explains the consultation paper.

Trained counsellors and mediators will help the parties work out effective post-divorce parenting and care arrangements for the children.

The court will also be given additional powers to make further orders if the parties fail to attend the counselling. This could include making the uncooperative party bear some of the costs of the divorce proceedings.

The amendments also seek to expand the powers of the courts to help Singaporeans who marry foreigners and later divorce overseas, especially if they move back to Singapore or have assets here.

As an additional avenue to safeguard the intersts of the children in divorces, the Women's Charter (Amendment) Bill proposes empowering the court to order parents to deposit money into the Children's Development Account (CDA).

The divorced couple will have to earmark a sum of money for their children after their marriage has been dissolved - in the event that they fail to fulfill their responsibilities.

The money in the account can be used for payment of childcare fees and healthcare.

Members of the public can give their views on the proposed changes to the Women's Charter at http://reach.gov.sg/.

The public consultation ends on Sept 26.

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking...ry_578008.html

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