Under Singapore law, it is the duty of a parent to maintain, or at least contribute to the maintenance of his or her child, unless an agreement or court order proves otherwise. This may entail, providing them with sufficient accommodation, clothing, food and education, or by paying the cost thereof. As construed by the Women’s Charter 1961, under due proof a parent has neglected to provide reasonable maintenance for their child, the court may order said parent to pay a monthly sum for the maintenance of their child. These court orders will cease to be in force on the day the child attains 21 years of age. However, there are some instances, where a parent may still be compelled to provide maintenance to their child, despite him or her being a legal adult. These instances will be explored further in the article.

Can one be compelled to provide maintenance for adult children?

In order to claim maintenance, the adult child must personally make an application. There are certain factors a court may consider, which may result in an order being made to compel a parent to provide maintenance to a child over 21. These factors are limited to, the mental or physical capacity of the child, whether the child is or will be serving national service, if the child is or will be receiving instruction at an educational establishment, or other special circumstances which may justify the decision.

Where the child suffers a mental or physical defect:

A parent may be compelled to provide maintenance to their adult children, if the child can prove that they suffer a mental or physical defect, of a severity which prevents them from working or maintaining themselves. This defect must be a medically recognised condition.

Where the child is or will be receiving instruction at an educational establishment:

If a child can prove that their pursuit of a university may improve employability and earning capacity, as in the case of BON v BOQ, a parent may be found responsible to maintain the child for the duration of the degree. However, courts remain reasonably wary that a child may intentionally prolong his or her education, seen in the case of Wong Ser Wan v Ng Cheong Ling, and in circumstances as such, are unlikely to hold parents responsible to maintain their child.

Where you might require more advice and consultancy about your case and the legal procedures, it is ideal to consult a lawyer for guidance and representation. Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years, from traffic offences, to high profile criminal cases- to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Leave Comments