This library guide collates relevant resources relating to maintenance of children, aged parents and spouses from various government sites and online sources.
Maintenance is a form of financial support. The Women's Charter 1961 (2020 Rev Ed) provides the legal basis for maintenance of children and (former) spouses under Part 8. The laws of maintenance of wife and child (but not of incapacitated husbands) applies to all persons in Singapore, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.
The Maintenance of Parents Act 1995 (2020 Rev Ed) provides the legal basis for the maintenance of aged dependent parents, and also applies to all persons in Singapore. It establishes the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents as a statutory judicial organ, and is administered by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
S 3 of the Maintenance of Parents Act defines the parent who may make an application for maintenance.
Enforcement of these maintenance orders are dealt with primarily under Part 9 of the Women's Charter. Variation of a maintenance order made ancillary to an application for a judgment of divorce is provided for under s 118.
(Source: Leong Wai Kum, Elements of Family Law, 3rd Ed (2018))
A. Maintenance of Child / Spouse / Former Spouse
Family Justice Courts - Maintenance
Applications for maintenance are made in person at the Family Justice Courts of Singapore. The FJC addresses some of the commonly asked questions on proceedings involving maintenance. See in particular:
Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO) - Maintenance Support Central
Information on the services provided by SCWO's Maintenance Support Central (MSC), a multi-service drop-in centre that provides support and assistance for clients who have difficulty in receiving spousal and/or child maintenance.
Muslim Divorce and Maintenance Materials
Maintenance in the context of Muslim families may include nafkah iddah (maintenance given by the Husband to the Wife during the iddah period) or mutaah (a consolatory gift paid by the Husband to the Wife upon divorce).
B. Maintenance of Aged Parents
The Office of the Commissioner and the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents are statutory judicial bodies administered by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Parents must strive for conciliation at the Commissioner's Office first before filing a claim to the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents. The Commissioner aims to help parents and children reach an agreement on the amount each is prepared to pay and accept without having to seek legal action. The Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents allows parents to file for a Maintenance Order against their children who are not supporting them financially, if conciliation does not work out. The Tribunal serves as the court that will grant or dismiss the parent’s claim.
1. Family Justice Courts (FJC)
The Family Justice Courts (FJC) are established pursuant to the Family Justice Act in 2014 and restructured the family justice system by bringing together all family-related work under a specialised body of courts.
See FJC's page: 'Seek help for a family case'
Add: Family Registry, Level 1, Family Justice Courts @ Havelock, No. 3 Havelock Square. Singapore 059725
Maintenance Mediation Chambers (MMC) are located on Level 2.
Contact: Write To Us - Maintenance
Tel: (65) 6435 5471 (Family Registry - Maintenance Applications)
2. iFAMS (Integrated Family Application Management System)
The new online system, iFAMS, provides an alternative to the applicant seeking a maintenance order of having to personally make a complaint. Once the application is made it may still be directed to follow the process provided under statute.
W: iFAMS - Maintenance Order Application; iFAMS FJC Overview
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Technical Support)
Tel: (65) 6756 3874
3. Free Legal Advice or Legal Assistance on Enforcement of Maintenance
a. Legal Aid Bureau
The Legal Aid Bureau advances access to justice for applicants with limited means, including providing legal representation and advice, as set out in the Legal Aid and Advice Act.
Add: Ministry of Law Services Centre, 45 Maxwell Road, #07-11 The URA Centre (East Wing), Singapore 069118
Contact: Contact Us@OneMinLaw
Tel: 1800 2255 529 (1800-CALL-LAW)
b. Community Justice Centre
The Community Justice Centre (CJC) is a community partnership between the public sector, the philanthropic sector, and the legal profession rendering assistance to Litigants-in-Person (LiPs) in need. It administers the On-site Legal Advice Scheme which provides immediate basic legal advice and directions to LiPs. Limited 20 minute slots are available daily on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. No appointment is required and is subjected to the availability of slots.
Add: CJC Help Centre, Basement 1 of the State Courts Towers, 1 Havelock Square, Singapore 059724
Tel: (65) 6557 4100
c. Community Legal Clinic
The Law Society's Community Legal Clinics allow one to see a lawyer on a one-to-one basis for 20 minutes and have free legal advice. Registration is required before an appointment is made, via phone, email or walk-in appointment at the CJC (see above).
Add: One of the 4 assigned Community Legal Clinics upon registration
Tel: (65) 6536 0650
4. Agencies that Assist with Draft Applications for Enforcement of Maintenance Orders
|Application for a maintenance order or an application to enforce an existing maintenance order||Application to enforce an existing maintenance order that is related to divorce proceedings only|
Singapore Council for Women Organisations
|PPIS AS-Salaam Family Support Centre
Add: Blk 41, Chai Chee Street, #01-16, Singapore 461041
Tel: (65) 6745 5862
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm
5. Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents
The Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents was established in 1996 under the Maintenance of Parents Act to hear and determine all applications for maintenance made under the Act. It is an independent judicial entity under the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Add: Family Link @ Lengkok Bahru, 8 Lengkok Bahru #02-01, 159052
Contact: Office of the Commissioner for the Maintenance of Parents | Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents
Tel: Office of the Commissioner - 1800 222 0000 or (65) 6471 6313 | Tribunal - 1800 258 5128 or (65) 6476 3285
Refer to the following statutes and related subsidiary legislation on Singapore Statutes Online:
Practice Directions and Circulars
Leong, Wai Kum. Singapore : LexisNexis, 2018.
Ong, Debbie Siew Ling. Singapore : Academy Publishing, 2015.
Valerie Thean JC, editor-in-chief. Singapore : Sweet & Maxwell/Thomson Reuters, 2016.
Leong, Wai Kum. Singapore : Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2011.
Randolph Khoo and Hoon Shu Mei, Drew & Napier LLC (published in Practical Law)
Singapore : Syariah Law Forum Organising Committee, National University of Singapore, 2017.
Created by the Law Society Pro-Bono Services
Chapter III contains information on:
Published by the Law Society of Singapore, this book contains detailed guidance to volunteer lawyers.
The family law section contains information on divorce, nullity and ancillary matters.
If a password is required for access, NUS Law students may request it from the Centre for Pro Bono & Clinical Legal Education (email@example.com).
The Family Registry at the Family Justice Courts will lead the applicant through the process, including any documentation required. The following documents should be brought along for the application:
According to Paragraph 25 of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions, the following documents are usually required for a maintenance application:
Before your visit, you are encouraged to submit your application and supporting documents online through the Integrated Family Management System (iFAMS).