Mandatory Parenting Programme Guide for Divorcing Parents

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The Mandatory Parenting Programme (MPP) is a consultation session that is designed to help divorcing parents with children under 21 years of age understand the impact of a divorce on their children.

What is the Mandatory Parenting Programme (MPP) and Who is it For?

The Mandatory Parenting Programme (MPP) is a consultation session that is designed to help divorcing parents with children under 21 years of age understand the impact of a divorce on their children.

Through the MPP, it is hoped that divorcing parents will be better able to make informed decisions on the divorce that prioritise their children’s needs and well-being.

Who Conducts the Mandatory Parenting Programme?

The MPP is a one-time, 2-hour consultation session conducted by counsellors from Divorce Support Specialist Agencies (DSSAs) that have been approved by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

The DSSAs were established to provide non-legal support to divorcing and divorced parents and their children. The staff at the DSSAs possess the knowledge and expertise to provide a range of services including counselling and family dispute management.

Mandatory Parenting Programme

What Will the Mandatory Parenting Programme Cover?

The session aims to help you understand:

From December 2016 when the MPP was first implemented to December 2017, about 2,500 applicants have attended the sessions, and more than 95% of the participants have reported that they were better informed on the impact of a divorce on their children.

The MPP is not meant to dissuade you from commencing a divorce because the MSF recognises that your decision to divorce is a personal one.

However, if you are unsure whether getting a divorce is the best decision for yourself and your child, you may seek marriage counselling from the DSSA staff, who will make a professional assessment and offer you support accordingly.

Mandatory Parenting Programme

Do I Need to Attend the Mandatory Parenting Programme (MPP)?

Under section 94A of the Women’s Charter read with rule 3 of the Women’s Charter (Parenting Programme) Rules, you are required to attend the MPP if you and your spouse:

Otherwise, you will not be able to file for divorce (if you intend on commencing one) or file a counterclaim (if your spouse files for divorce).

You may also need to attend the MPP after divorce proceedings have been initiated if the court orders you to do so.

The court has the power at any stage in the divorce proceedings to order either or both you and your spouse to complete the MPP if it is in the interests of you and your child.

Can I be excused from attending the MPP?

Only a parent who lacks mental capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act can be excused from the MPP.

If you want to be excused from the MPP, please opt for an exclusion when applying for the MPP and refer to the instructions on the MPP portal for more details.

Must I attend the MPP personally?

You must personally attend the MPP.

Your friend(s) or lawyer (if you have engaged one) are not allowed to attend the MPP on your behalf. If you are currently stationed overseas, the DSSAs will make special arrangements for you to attend the MPP.

Do I have to attend the session with my spouse?

The MPP is a confidential one-on-one consultation with the counsellor. This means that you do not have to inform your spouse that you are attending the session or attend the session with your spouse.

Nonetheless, if you believe that attending the MPP with your spouse will be beneficial for the divorce and your child, you may email [email protected] with your request.

Can I attend the MPP even if I am not required to do so?

If you are not required to attend the MPP but you are interested in doing so, please email [email protected] to arrange for a session at one of the DSSAs.

Mandatory Parenting Programme

Does the Mandatory Parenting Programme Apply to a Muslim divorce?

The MPP does not apply to a Muslim divorce. However, if you intend to commence a Muslim divorce, you will need to attend counselling sessions under the Syariah Court’s Marriage Counselling Programme (MCP).

Refer to this brochure for more information on the MCP.

Do I Need to Engage a Lawyer for the MPP?

You do not need to engage a lawyer for the MPP. Even if you have engaged one, you need to personally attend the MPP (as mentioned above).

How Do I Apply to Attend the MPP?

Please visit the MSF website to check your eligibility and apply for the MPP. No documents are required, and you only need to provide your name and contact details when applying for the MPP.

There are also no payments involved as the MPP is provided free of charge.

After you apply, the MSF will process your application.

A DSSA counsellor will then contact you to schedule an appointment at one of the following DSSAs in Singapore:

Care Corner Centre for Co-Parenting

Blk 21 Eunos Crescent
#01-2983
Singapore 400021
Website: www.carecorner.org.sg/ccp.html
Email: [email protected]

Phone: 6258 0020

Thye Hua Kwan Centre for Family Harmony @ Commonwealth

Blk 54 Commonwealth Drive
#01-566
Singapore 142054
Website: www.thkmc.org.sg/services_detail/thk-centre-for-family-harmony-commonwealth/
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 6357 9188

HELP Family Service Centre

Blk 570 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
#01-3317
Singapore 560570
Website: www.helpfsc.org.sg
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 6457 5188

As mentioned earlier, if you are not eligible for the MPP but you are interested in attending it, you may email [email protected] to arrange for a session at one of the DSSAs.

What if I changed my mind about attending the MPP?

If you change your mind after applying for the MPP, you may withdraw your application if it has not been processed yet.

Mandatory Parenting Programme

Does My Child Need to Attend the MPP with Me?

The MPP is targeted at divorcing parents. Thus, your child does not need to attend the MPP with you.

However, as children are often the most affected by their parents’ divorce, children who may require more support will be directed by the courts to attend the Children-in-Between programme developed by child experts for children and their parents.

You may refer to this brochure for more information on the Children-in-Between programme.

If you feel that your child needs more support, you may approach one of the 3 DSSAs mentioned above. Alternatively, if you were married under Syariah law, you may also approach the PPIS As-Salaam Family Support Centre for more information:

PPIS As-Salaam Family Support Centre

Blk 322 Ubi Ave 1
#01-591
Singapore 400322
Website: https://ppis.sg/family-services/assalaam/
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 6745 5862

What Happens After I Complete the MPP?

After you complete the MPP, the counsellor who conducted the session will issue a “Certificate of Completion” to you.

With the certificate, you may proceed to file for divorce or file a counterclaim if your spouse has initiated divorce proceedings, or continue with your divorce proceedings if they have already been initiated.

This article was re-published with permission from SingaporeLegalAdvice. The information provided above does not constitute legal advice. You should obtain specific legal advice from a lawyer before taking any legal action. Although we try our best to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website, you rely on it at your own risk.

Also READ: What all parents should know before getting a divorce

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