CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeSowaran Singh
Judgment Date14 August 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 108
Citation[2015] SGFC 108
Docket NumberHCF/OSG No.76 of 2015, HCF/SUM No.1608 of 2015
Hearing Date13 August 2015
Plaintiff CounselPlaintiff (In Person)
Defendant CounselMs. Foo Siew Fong (M/s Harry Elias Partnership LLP)
Subject MatterCatch words: Family Law,custody, care and control of child,relocation.
Published date02 September 2015
District Judge Sowaran Singh: Background

The Plaintiff is the mother (the mother) of the child (“M”), a girl who is very shortly going to be 6 years old1. She applied on the 23 April 2015 under the Guardianship of Infants Act (Chapter 122) (GIA) to be granted joint custody, care and control of the child with reasonable access to the Defendant who is the father (the father). In addition she also applied for: -leave to relocate from Singapore permanently with the child no later than 1st July 2015 and to settle in San Diego, California, USA on a permanent basis. - interim monthly maintenance of $19,216 for herself and the child taking into account the sums that the father was currently paying and will be prepared to pay from hereon. -costs to be taxed and paid forthwith to her by the father.

On the 19 May 2015 the father filed an application in SUM 1608 of 2015 seeking the following orders: -that parties have joint custody, care and control of the child with joint care arrangements as set out in section 1 of the Deed of Separation dated 14 November 2014 (a copy of which was annexed). -that the parties abide by and comply with the terms of the Deed of Separation (the Deed) as if they were Orders of the Court. -further and in the alternative, if the mother relocates back to the USA or any other country, then he shall have care and control of the child with the mother to have ¾ of all school holidays either in Singapore or the country that she relocates to with access to be arranged between themselves. -costs to be paid to him by the mother.

The parties are US citizens and married on the 7 September 2006 in San Diego, California. The child is also a US citizen. The mother was described as being 40 years of age and the father 54 years old. Both applications came up for hearing on the 13 August 2015. Earlier on the 3 June 2015 there was a mediation session conducted at which both parties were represented by counsel. As no settlement was reached mediation was set down for the 22 July 2015 at 11am. One day before this session on the 21 July 2015 the mother’s counsel wrote to the Registry regarding the mediation session that had been scheduled for the 22 July 2015 stating that: Our client is in the midst of discharging us from acting in this matter. We are also instructed to convey to the Honourable District Judge having conduct of the FDR Mediation tomorrow, the Plaintiffs respectful request for the stated mediation to be vacated. We understand the Plaintiff will shortly be writing to your Honour further on her request”. On the 22 July 2015 both parties counsel attended and in view of the developments, the learned mediation District Judge (DJ) on the application of the father set the matters for a hearing on the 13 August 2015.The Registry’s Notice that the hearing was to be on the 13 August 2015 was sent to the parties (for the mother it was sent to her address in California, USA) on the 22 July 2015.On the same day the mother had filed a Notice of Intention of Party to Act in Person in Place of Solicitor.

The Parties Positions in Brief

The mother had filed 2 affidavits on the 23 April 2015 and 25 June 2015 as well one from a witness on the 25 June 2015.The father filed 3 affidavits on the 19 May 2015, 16 July 2015 and 29 July 2015. In addition he also filed on the on the 19 May 2015 two other affidavits – one by the Singapore counsel who prepared and witnessed the Deed and another from a witness.

The mother wanted to relocate with the child to the San Diego, California and gave several reasons for her application. In her view this was in the best interests of the child. The father objected to the relocation of the child and also advanced several reasons. In his view the child ought to remain in Singapore. It is not necessary to go into the numerous claims and counterclaims that the parties advanced in support of their rival positions in view of the developments that took place as detailed below.

Developments – Child and Mother no longer in Singapore

In his affidavit filed on the 29 July 2015, the father disclosed that the mother had pursuant to their joint care and control arrangements taken the child during the holidays to the US from 4 July 2015 to 21 July 2015 and he was due to take the...

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