Access to a child after divorce
Access refers to the periods during which the parent who does not have care and control of the child is granted time to spend with the child. When custody or care and control is given to one parent, the other parent is usually also permitted to spend time with the child on a regular basis. This arrangement is called ‘access’. In special circumstances, the court may deny access to a parent if the Court is of the view that such access would be detrimental to the child’s interests. However, the presumption is generally that such access to the non-custodial parent would be beneficial to the child.
Once the court has decided to grant access, the next question is what type of access order to grant. Access orders are generally unsupervised. This means that the visiting parent will be able to spend time on his own with the child without any third party supervising the access. However, in some cases, access might have to be supervised. Such supervision might serve different functions. For instance, the court might have in mind the protection of the child, an assessment of the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child etc. The court would in all cases decide on the most appropriate terms to include in the access order.
The frequency and duration of access will also depend on a number of factors, you can ask your divorce lawyer to explain further this matter. This include the child’s needs and wishes, the non-custodial parent’s previous contact with the child, and the state of the relationship between the child and the parent. Typical access periods might include:
- Weekday access. This might be for a few hours and would usually be subject to the child’s school timetable and other extra-curricular activities.
- Weekend access. This may include overnight access and would also have to take into account the child’s school schedule and other activities.
- Public holiday access. Parties might work out some form of arrangement where different public holidays are spent with different parents. Certain public holidays may be more significant to the parties. For instance, Lunar New Year might be more significant for Chinese parties, and Deepavali more so for Indian parties.
- Access on special occasions. This might include birthdays or Mother’s/Father’s Day, etc.
If parties agree on the terms of the access, the court may grant their wishes. It might be in the best interests of all parties to work out a suitable and convenient arrangement. On the other hand, if parties are unable to agree, the court will make a decision after hearing both parties.
You may wish to consult a good divorce lawyer in Singapore for further assistance.