Mandatory Parenting Programme Guide for Divorcing Parents
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 in Singapore, 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.
What Will the Mandatory Parenting Programme Cover?
The session aims to help you understand:
- The financial challenges of a divorce;
- How divorce impacts living arrangements for your child;
- Child custody and access; and
- The importance of co-parenting and having a parenting plan
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.
Do I Need to Attend the Mandatory Parenting Programme?
You are required to attend the MPP if you and your spouse:
- Are unable to agree on the reason for divorce and/or ancillary matters; and
- Have children below 21 years of age.
Otherwise, you will not be able to file for divorce (if you intend to commence one) or file a counterclaim (if your spouse is the one filing for divorce).
(If your spouse is the one filing for divorce but you do not intend to file a counterclaim, you do not need to attend the MPP.)
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 Mandatory Parenting Programme 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 children, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
Can I attend the Mandatory Parenting Programme 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@example.com to arrange for a session at one of the DSSAs.
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 Mandatory Parenting Programme?
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 Mandatory Parenting Programme?
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
|Healing Hearts @ Fei Yue Community Services||Blk 281 Choa Chu Kang Ave 3
|HELP Family Service Centre||Blk 570 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
|Thrive Parenting! AMKFSC Community Service Divorce Support Specialist Agency||Blk 230 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3
|Thye Hua Kwan Centre for Family Harmony @ Commonwealth||Blk 54 Commonwealth Drive
If you were married under Syariah law, you can approach the PPIS As-Salaam Family Support Centre:
|PPIS As-Salaam Family Support Centre||Blk 41 Chai Chee Street
Also mentioned earlier, if you are not eligible for the MPP but you are interested in attending it, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Does My Child Need to Attend the Mandatory Parenting Programme 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 DSSAs mentioned above.
What Happens After I Complete the Mandatory Parenting Programme?
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 is the one who initiated divorce proceedings, or continue with your divorce proceedings if they have already been initiated.
Should you require legal advice on the MPP, the divorce process, or other divorce issues, please contact a divorce lawyer for advice.
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