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Mon, Dec 01, 2008
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Family Courts put paramount interests of children first

I REFER to the letters on the Family Courts by Mr Lucas Lim and Mr A. M. Azhar, published in my paper on Nov 25, 2008.

We thank both writers for their interest in the work of the Family Courts.

We wish to assure them that the Family Courts are mindful of the problems they have raised, including the difficulties that parents sometimes face in preserving bonds with their children, especially after a divorce.

In this respect, the Family Courts offer specialised programmes, available via court orders, for parties involved in court proceedings.

Project Impact, for instance, is a workshop that equips divorced parents with essential parenting skills. One of its objectives is to reduce conflict between divorced parents and help them to focus on co-parenting their children.

Meanwhile, their children can attend children's groupwork sessions, which are conducted by experienced counsellors and facilitators from social service agencies.

Another programme, Project Contact, involves supervised access and transfer to build, encourage and strengthen the bond between the parent with access and the child - after orders on custody, care, control and access are made.

Participation in this programme requires a court order, which is usually made in very high-conflict custody, care, control and access cases, where the relationship between both parents, or between the parent and the child, is very poor.

The access and transfer will take place at a participating social- service agency and in the presence of a trained counsellor.

In our continuing efforts to help improve the relationship between parents and their children, the Honourable Chief Justice announced the setting up of a new Family Child Court and programme in May, as part of the Subordinate Courts' Annual Workplan.

This court has a central focus on the needs of the children and provides for a less adversarial setting. Details of this new programme can be found on our website at www.

As Mr Azhar observed, the Family Courts will not permit either parent to make use of the children "to oppress the other parent".

When dealing with applications involving children, the Family Courts always place priority on the paramount interests of the children and the vital importance of involving both parents in their children's upbringing.

Mr S. B. Balachandrer
Deputy Director
(Corporate Communications)
The Subordinate Courts

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readers' comments
In the Jul 7 article "Blocking parent's access will hurt child" both the lawyer and counselor acknowledged that cases of fathers being alienated from their children is not uncommon even though they have legal rights to see their child. In other words, many parents still have to struggling against their difficult ex-spouses to be with their children, despite the Family Court's assurance that they "will not permit either parent to make use of the children to oppress the other parent".

The Family Court programs cannot solve these problem. Because any alienating parent who comes prepared can easily transform these programs into part of their time-wasting and oppressing agenda.

So as victimised parents continue to suffer and dominating parents continue to violate court orders without being dealt with severely, ultimately its the children who suffer the most as parental alienation continue to ruin their lives. .....
Posted by alfredch on Sun, 19 Jul 2009 at 05:47 AM

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