Singaporean parents who abandoned and abused their children might need permission before seeking financial support from their children. They would need to ask the tribunal first for approval as they have a history of abuse and abandonment.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Abusive Parents Need the Approval to Seek Financial Support From Their Children
- The Four Proposed Changes to the Maintenance of Parents Act
The Maintenance of Parents Act is part of laws in Singapore that aims to support elderly and needy parents. It is precisely for those who cannot maintain themselves adequately.
This is the law that allows parents to have legal channels in seeking maintenance from their offspring. It is specific for children who have the capability to support their parents but are failing to do so.
Recently, people in Singapore aims to balance safeguarding vulnerable seniors and protecting children against misuse of the law. They would want to modify the law by implementing fairness to both the parent and their children.
Abusive parents might need approval to seek financial support from their children
Marine Parade GRC MP Seah Kian Peng is the chairman of a workgroup reviewing the Maintenance of Parents Act.
With his leadership, they are currently proposing changes to the law on the maintenance of parents. It primarily aims to strike a balance between the rights of parents as well as their children and avoid the possible misuse of the law.
The Maintenance of Parents Act gives the right for seniors to claim maintenance from their children, specifically if they can no longer provide for themselves.
The workgroup, with nine marine parades, plans on conducting a public consultation from November 14, 2022, until December 9, 2022. In the public consultation, they would want to gather feedback on the proposed amendments.
They began setting things up way back in October 2021. The workgroup initially reviewed the rules that were last amended a little more than a decade ago. It is considered a part of efforts to ensure seniors’ needs are met.
One of the proposed changes highlights the requirement for abusive parents to ask permission first before seeking support for their children. It will be crucial for them to seek approval from the tribunal to fully maximise their rights to receive financial support from their kids.
Undeniably, there are parents who previously abused, neglected, and abandoned their children. The proposed changes will ideally expand the right of children based on their past traumatic experiences.
The four proposed changes to the maintenance of parents act
Here are the four proposed changes to the law on the maintenance of parents, which aims to create balance in safeguarding vulnerable seniors and protects children against the possible misuse of the law:
Compulsory process of conciliation
It involves the act requiring those who used to be abusive parents to ask the tribunal permission before embarking on the compulsory conciliation process with their children. This is specifically for parents with a history of abusing, neglecting, and abandoning their children.
Before maximising the full importance and benefit of the existing law, it might soon be essential for them to try resolving their differences with the kids. Parents have the right to take their grievances to the tribunal if it fails. They will be the ones deciding whether and how much in maintenance should be awarded.
Frivolous or vexatious applications
The second proposed change will give authority to the tribunal to dismiss frivolous or vexations applications. With this one, the tribunal will have the capacity to dismiss the application, which does not require children to explain why it will not be necessary for them to support their parents.
This specific change addresses cases that are less likely to result in any beneficial outcome. It also goes along in situations wherein people filing the cases merely wanted to embarrass or annoy their opponents.
Introducing non-monetary orders
The third one is a proposed change which primarily gives the tribunal the authority to introduce non-monetary orders. It includes requiring parents with a gambling history and addiction problem to comply with necessary requirements, like attending counselling.
In past cases, the two issues mentioned above are the primary reasons why children refuse to give financial support to their parents. This gives an option for the tribunal to reject the maintenance when the parent refuses to comply with the requirement.
Mandatory conciliation session
The last proposed change will require children to attend a mandatory conciliation session with their parents. The commissioner of the Maintenance of Parents can contact the children of destitute seniors. It will only happen when parents refuse to or apply for conciliation.
If the conciliation fails, it will be vital for parents to apply for financial support before the authorities do it. This is in hope of mending the relationship between the child and their parent.