Diverse views on family law issues pose a challenge in policymaking: Edwin Tong, Community News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – How far the regulation ought to, and might, encroach into what is basically a non-public area, is a query that policymakers will proceed to grapple with in deciding the path of household regulation, mentioned Minister for Tradition, Group and Youth Edwin Tong on Tuesday (Sept 28).

One other problem that can come to the fore is which method the regulation ought to go when society holds starkly various views on social and moral points, he added.

Mr Tong, who can be Second Minister for Regulation, was giving the keynote tackle initially of a two-day convention on household regulation, organised by the Regulation Society of Singapore and held nearly.

In his speech, he traced the event of household regulation in Singapore, catalysed by the evolving function and standing of girls within the final 100 years.

He mentioned this yr marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Ladies’s Constitution, launched in 1961 to consolidate legal guidelines regarding monogamy, divorce, upkeep of wives and kids and punishment for offences dedicated towards ladies and ladies.

Plenty of progress has been made to uplift the standing of girls in Singapore, he mentioned.

“Anachronistic remnants of our legal past such as marital rape immunity have been repealed,” he mentioned.

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Turning to the administration of household regulation, he famous that in 2014, the specialist Household Justice Courts was established.

Not like the business and prison courts, the household courts undertake a extra judge-led and problem-solving method.

The organising of the Syariah Court docket and the introduction of the Administration of Muslim Regulation Act preserved the separate authorized system for Muslims that existed traditionally in Singapore on points equivalent to marriage, divorce and different civil issues.

“We are always working to fine-tune our court processes. More can still be done to preserve relationships, minimise hostility, and to look after the welfare of children,” he mentioned.

Mr Tong touched on 4 areas in household regulation that he mentioned policymakers and society must grapple with.

First, was figuring out how far the regulation ought to encroach into the household area and the suitable response when society doesn’t communicate with one voice.

These challenges have come up within the Nineteen Nineties, he famous, when legal guidelines have been strengthened towards household violence and the Upkeep of Mother and father Invoice was handed, obliging kids to take care of their dad and mom.

“Family violence remains a serious concern,” he mentioned.

Mr Tong mentioned the Authorities is finding out a report printed a couple of days in the past by a activity drive shaped to take a look at how the response to household violence could be strengthened.

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Second, he mentioned, transnational marriages can current points equivalent to parental abduction of kids and purposes for relocation.

Such instances contain advanced authorized points, with kids caught within the crossfire of warring dad and mom.

He famous that the United Nations Conference on the Rights of the Little one and the Hague Conference on the Civil Features of Worldwide Little one Abduction are examples of worldwide dedication in the direction of fixing these issues.

Third, Mr Tong famous that surrogacy and non-traditional ideas of parenthood elevate advanced points, equivalent to who the authorized dad or mum is and what that dad or mum’s obligations are with regard to the kid.

One case that has come earlier than the Singapore courts concerned a homosexual man who utilized to undertake a toddler he fathered in america by a surrogate mom.

The person was allowed to legally undertake his organic son however failed in his bid to have his same-sex accomplice named the kid’s guardian.

Fourth, Mr Tong famous that a number of jurisdictions, equivalent to England and Wales, have moved or are shifting in the direction of “no-fault divorce”.

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In Could this yr, a public session paper was launched right here to hunt views on an “amicable divorce” choice.

“We have seen a divergence in views on the issue before, reflected in the letters published in our local media. This divergence reflect those that were also seen in England and Wales,” he mentioned.

Some really feel that the choice, with safeguards in place, could be useful to the household unit. Others really feel “appalled”, as present legal guidelines are premised on the notion of preserving marriages and inspiring reconciliation.

“As with the other matters we have grappled with in the past, I think what we now need to do is consider all the views, and look at what would best represent the way forward for society and find an equilibrium,” he mentioned.

Mr Tong concluded that policymakers should be clear in regards to the path the regulation ought to take, and set up the legislative framework with the suitable assist system.

The courts should information events in the direction of a non-adversarial path, household attorneys should provide options that make authorized and emotional sense, whereas social sector professionals play an necessary function within the therapeutic course of, he mentioned.