Can I apply for Child Maintenance when I am above 21 years old?
A maintenance order ceases to be in force on the day on which the child attains the age of 21 years unless the order expressly states that it continues to be in force for a period ending after that day.
However, in some circumstances, a parent’s child-rearing obligations do not cease the moment a child turns 21.
The court is entitled to order that parent to pay a monthly allowance or a lump sum for the maintenance of that child even after he turns 21 years if the court is satisfied that the provision of the maintenance is necessary because:-
- of a mental or physical disability of the child;
- the child is or will be serving full-time national service;
- the child is or will be or would be receiving instruction at an educational establishment or undergoing training for a trade, profession or vocation, whether or not while in gainful employment; or
- other special circumstances that justify the making of the order.
The court may consider whether the applicant’s needs/wants are genuine. For example, an application to share the costs of one’s overseas university fees can be considered as a “genuine want to improve his employability in the workforce”.
The court may also consider the relative financial resources and physical abilities of both parents, the child’s income, educational scholarships and grants (if any), educational, household and medical expenses.
Read more: FAQs : Child Maintenance in Singapore
On the other hand, a maintenance order can be rescinded or cancelled before the child turns 21 years old if it has been proved that there is a material change of circumstances of the parties or the child.
For example, the maintenance order may be cancelled if the child is financially independent before 21 years old. A variation application will have to be filed and the applicant bears the burden of proving the material change in circumstances.
How do I apply for child maintenance when I am over 21 years old?
You may have to go down to the Singapore Council for Women Organisations
Address: Maintenance Support Central 96, Waterloo Street, Singapore 187967
Opening hours: Mon-Thu: 9am-11am, 2pm-4pm.
Tel: (65) 6571 0185,
Ensure that you have the following documents when heading down:
- Your identity card;
- Photocopy of the divorce certificate
- Photocopy of the marriage certificate (if applicable);
- Photocopy of the birth certificate(s) of the child; and
- Photocopy of the Order of Court for maintenance that you wish to enforce (if applicable).
Alternatively, You are also encouraged to submit your application online by iFAMS beforehand to speed up the application process.
- You may login to iFAMS using your Singpass and click “Maintenance Order Application”
- You may proceed to fill in the online form. A comprehensive guide can be found here. Technical support for iFAMS is available at Tel: (65) 6756 3874 or firstname.lastname@example.org from Monday to Thursday from 8.30am to 6pm, Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm and Saturday from 8.30am to 1pm.
After the application is made, the matter will be progressed through the Court system. It can potentially be settled with the consent of both parties (by way of mediation), or resolved by a final hearing in the Court in the event mediation fails.
If the matter proceeds for hearing, the court will have regard to all the circumstances of the case including the following matters:
- the financial needs of the child;
- the income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources of the child;
- any physical or mental disability of the child;
- the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
- the contributions made by each of the parties to the marriage to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family;
- the standard of living enjoyed by the child before a parent neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for the child;
- in the case of a child, the manner in which he was being, and in which the parties to the marriage expected him to be, educated or trained; and
- the conduct of each of the parties to the marriage, if the conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it.