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Commissioner for Maintenance of Parents - Children's Queries

What will happen to me if I do not respond to your Notice to attend a conciliation session with you?

The Commissioner is empowered by law to ask you to attend a conciliation session when your parent files a claim. It is therefore important for you to be present so that the matter can be resolved promptly and amicably. If you fail to attend the session without a valid reason, the Tribunal could take your absence into consideration at the hearing of the maintenance application. 

What will happen in the conciliation session?

The conciliation session is a chance for you to air your views on your parent's claim for maintenance. Our officer will be present to hear your views and help all parties to resolve the matter amicably, as far as possible. 

I understand you have also invited my brothers and sisters for the same conciliation session. What should I do? I am not on talking terms with them.

Your parents have provided us with the names of your siblings. They are encouraged to attend the conciliation session as it gives them the opportunity to discuss your parent's claim for maintenance. 

What is the difference between the Office of the Commissioner for the Maintenance of Parents (CMP) and the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents (TMP)?

The CMP is an informal means for families to resolve the maintenance issue through conciliation, without the need to escalate the matter to the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents (TMP). The TMP is a last resort and legal channel where the TMP will decide if the application by parents should be granted or dismissed. 

What do I need to do at the conciliation session?

As the aim is to resolve the matter amicably​, it is important for all parties to air their views in a calm and civil manner. Aggressive behaviour, verbal abuse or fights are not allowed. If you are unable to support your parents financially, please bring along relevant documents such as your latest CPF statement, bank account passbook, or payslip that could support your claim. Our officer will facilitate the session and guide all parties to reach a solution for you and your parent. 

I cannot afford to maintain my parents because of my low income. What should I do?

You should provide us with relevant documents such as your bank account passbook. latest CPF statement or payslip so that we have a clear view of your overall expenses. Generally, you should try to help your parent, even if it is a token sum or in kind. 

My parents do not want to claim from my siblings who are not maintaining them. Can I claim on their behalf?

You may only claim on their behalf if they give you consent to do so. They may have their reasons for not claiming from your siblings. However, if the matter goes to the TMP, you may join the other siblings as respondents. 

My grandparents/siblings were the ones who raised me up. Can I refuse to maintain my parents?

We understand that it may be difficult for you to agree to maintain your parents as they may not have discharged their duties as parents during your formative years. However, children are generally expected to maintain their aged parents as long as it is within their means, unless the facts show that they are clearly undeserving of any maintenance. 

Am I still obliged to maintain my parents since we have published in the newspapers on the severance of our ties?

Such an act of severance between parents and children has no legal effects under the Maintenance of Parents Act (Chapter 167B).

If I agree to pay maintenance, what follows?

If there is an agreement from both parties, a memorandum of agreement will be signed. In that agreement, it will state:                                                                                         

(i) The agreed amount of maintenance;

(ii) The commencement date for the payment of this amount; &

(iii) The details of the parent's bank account. 

The officer will give a copy of the parent's account details to the children for verification. This will ensure that the maintenance will be deposited into the correct account of the parent.

Tribunal for Maintenance of Parents - Filing

What is the role of the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents?

The Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents provides aged parents with a legal option to file a Maintenance Order against their children (including illegitimate, adopted and step-children) for financial support.

Can I file an application for maintenance?

You may file a maintenance application with the Tribunal if you are domiciled and resident in Singapore, aged 60 or above, and unable to maintain yourself adequately. If you are below 60, you may still apply if you are suffering from physical or medical conditions, or for any other reason that prevent you from maintaining yourself.

However, you are required to resolve the matter with your children through conciliation before resorting to legal measures. Therefore, you are expected to first approach the Office of the Commissioner for the Maintenance of Parents.  The Commissioner will discuss your need for basic maintenance before conciliating your children to maintain you.  He will try to get both parties to reach an agreement.  You can contact the Commissioner at 6471 6313 or visit here for more information.

Note: If an aged parent resides with you, you or your organisation may also apply to the Tribunal for an order for payment from one or more of his children to defray the cost of maintaining the aged parent. However, you or your organisation must obtain approval from the Minister for Social and Family Development before applying to the Tribunal.​ 

Who is an Applicant?

An Applicant is an aged parent or approved person/organisation who has filed a maintenance application at the Tribunal.​

Who is a Respondent?

A Respondent is a person who has a maintenance application filed against him.​ 

How do I file a maintenance application against my children?​

You need to apply in person at the Secretariat Office of the Tribunal during office hours using a prescribed application form. You can view the application form here.

If you are unable to apply in person due to your physical or medical conditions, or for any other reason, you may appoint someone to apply on your behalf. The person must be:

1.      your family member;  

2.      in whose care you reside; or

3.      authorised by you to make the application.  ​

Can I file for maintenance against my child who is living abroad?

The Maintenance of Parents Act allows the Tribunal to serve notice to your child’s last known address. Even if your child was absent for the Tribunal hearing, the Tribunal can make a maintenance order against him. The maintenance order is effective as long as he lives in a country which has a reciprocating agreement with Singapore.

What are the charges for filing an application?

The application is free of charge.​

What happens after I have filed the application?

The Tribunal will serve the following documents on your children you have filed against for maintenance (the Respondent) by registered post:

a)      Notice of Application (Form 11);

b)      Form 3; and

c)      Statement of Applicant.  

Your children will be given 14 days to file an ‘Answer’ to your maintenance application using Form 12, and a Joinder of Respondents, using Form 9 if they wish to include their siblings in the application.

Before hearing your application, the Tribunal will refer you and your children to a conciliation officer
for mediation to help you resolve maintenance disputes out-of-court. The date of mediation will be stated on the Notice of Application.

What documents do I need to bring?

Documents and information required for the maintenance application:

·         Your NRIC

·         Your bank account passbook or statement

·         Information on your assets/savings

·         Information on your living expenses

·         Your medical reports, if applicable 

·         Name, NRIC number and last known address of your children

 

If you have authorised someone to apply on your behalf, the person will also need to bring:

·         His NRIC

·         Your letter of authorisation

·         Form 3 and Statement of Applicant, completed and signed by you​​​

Tribunal for Maintenance of Parents - Mediation

What is mediation and it's purpose?

Before hearing your application, the Tribunal will refer you and your children to a  conciliation officer for mediation to help you resolve maintenance disputes out-of-court. The date of mediation will be stated on the Notice of Application.

If  you are able to reach a settlement during mediation, the conciliation officer will prepare a Maintenance Agreement for you and your children to sign. The Agreement will be considered by the President or a deputy President of the Tribunal for endorsement into  a maintenance order.  

If you are unable to reach a settlement after mediation, your application will be heard by the Tribunal. You and your children will be notified of the date of hearing and required to be present.​

What is the role of a conciliation officer?

A conciliation officer is an impartial, neutral third party who will guide you and your children  towards a resolution of maintenance disputes. The conciliation officer does not make decisions, recommendations or assessments, nor does he give advice, but will act on the wishes of both parties to ensure that a fair and equitable settlement is reached.​

How does mediation work?

During mediation, the conciliation officer will meet with your family jointly and/or individually (depending on the circumstances) to work towards resolution of  maintenance disputes. It may be necessary for the conciliation officer to include information obtained from other sources or persons after consultation with both you (as the Applicant) and/or your children (as the Respondent).​

What do I have to tell the conciliation officer?

In order to mediate issues in good faith, all parties should make complete, full and honest disclosure to the conciliation officer, and to one another, of all relevant information and documents that are reasonably required by the conciliation officer and the other party.​ 

Is mediation confidential?

All details and communications that took place during the mediation will be kept confidential.​

Tribunal for Maintenance of Parents - Hearing

What time should I come?

You are required to register with the Secretariat Office of the Tribunal at 9.15 am on the day of your hearing. Please be punctual. However, we seek your understanding that you may have to wait if the cases before yours take longer than scheduled.​

Who can attend?

Only you (as the Applicant) and your children (as Respondents) are allowed into the courtroom. Please note relatives, friends or any persons not involved in the maintenance application will not be allowed into the courtroom.​

What is the dress code?

Dress appropriately. T-shirts, shorts, jeans with holes, clothes with offensive words or pictures, and slippers are not allowed. During the hearing, please remove your hats, caps or dark glasses, if any.​ 

What if I am unable to attend the Tribunal Hearing?

Please inform the Secretariat Office in writing of the reasons for not attending prior to the hearing. The Tribunal has the discretion to adjourn, dismiss or make an order in your absence.

Note: Respondents may, within 14 days of the Tribunal Order, file an application to set aside the Order and provide reasons for their absence. The application has to be made in person at the Secretariat Office of the Tribunal using a prescribed form [
Form 13].​

What language will the Tribunal Hearing be conducted in?

It will be conducted in English. Interpretation will be provided on request.​ 

How should I conduct myself during the Tribunal Hearing?

You should address the Tribunal members as 'Sir', 'Madam' or 'Your Honour.'

Please be polite at all times during the hearing. Please do not shout, use vulgar expressions, or interrupt while others are speaking. It is important for you to remain calm. Please be assured that everyone will have his turn to speak.

Please ask for permission if you wish to submit documents to the Tribunal. You should submit your documents to the Tribunal members through the Tribunal Officer. If you would like to keep your originals, please ask for permission for copies to be made, as the documents will be kept by the Tribunal.​

Can I bring my mobile phone into the courtroom?​

You may, but please switch your mobile phone and other communication devices to silent mode before entering the courtroom.

Please also note that video and other cameras, tape recorders, two-way radios and other electronic equipment are not allowed in the courtroom. ​

Can my lawyer represent me in the Tribunal Hearing?

Legal representation is not allowed.​

How will the Tribunal decide on the applications for maintenance?

The Tribunal may make a Maintenance Order in favour of the aged parent if:

1.      the Tribunal considers that it is just and equitable for his children to maintain him;  

2.      his children are found to be capable of maintaining him, after providing for themselves and their spouse and children; and

3.      the aged parent is unable, in spite of efforts on his part, to maintain himself through work or from his property or any other source.

Specifically, the Tribunal will consider the circumstances of all parties including (but not limited to) the following:

1.      the financial needs of the aged parent, taking into account reasonable expenses for housing and medical costs;

2.      the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the aged parent and the manner in which he  has spent his savings or dissipated his financial resources;

3.      any physical or mental disability of the aged parent;

4.      the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of  his children;

5.      the expenses incurred by his children in supporting their spouse and children;

6.      the contributions and provisions, whether financial or otherwise, which his children had made towards his maintenance .

The Tribunal may dismiss the aged parent’s application or reduce the quantum of maintenance if there is proof that he had abandoned, abused or neglected his children. It is the responsibility of the alleging party to provide proof of abandonment, abuse or neglect to the Tribunal. 

The Tribunal may apportion the maintenance in a fair manner if the aged parent has named more than one of his children as Respondents.
​​

What may be the outcome of the Hearing?

The Tribunal may:

1.      Make a Maintenance Order on the application;

2.      Dismiss the application; or

3.      Adjourn the hearing on the application.

Will proceedings be open to the public?

No, the proceedings are conducted in private.​ 

Who will sit on the Tribunal during a Hearing?

The President or a deputy President of the Tribunal and  two other members of the Tribunal will form a quorum to hear and determine the maintenance applications.​

Can I apply to change [vary, rescind or re-apportion] the Maintenance Order made by the Tribunal?

Yes, the aged parent or any of his children named in the maintenance order may apply for a variation of the maintenance order, using Form 7 and Form 8 respectively, if there has been:

1.      A misrepresentation or mistake of fact; or

2.      A material change in the circumstances of the aged parent or any of his children.

The application for variation should be made in person at the Secretariat Office of the Tribunal.

Can any party make an appeal on the Tribunal's order?

Any aggrieved party may appeal to the High Court from the decision of the Tribunal. Please write in to the Family Justice Courts Family Registry (FJCOURTS_Family_Registry@FJCourts.gov.sg) and they will look into your appeal.

What should I do if my children did not comply with the maintenance order?

Maintenance Orders made under the Maintenance of Parents Act are deemed to be orders made by a District Court, and may be enforced in the same manner as maintenance orders for wives and children under the Women’s Charter.

You can contact the Secretariat Office for information on enforcement procedures.

What should I bring for the Tribunal Hearing?

You should bring all relevant documents to support your case. This may include documentary proof of your financial status (i.e. your assets, savings, income and living expenses), or to support your statements.

If you have any additional documents that you wish to submit to the Tribunal, please make three copies and place them in a file or envelope. You may also bring other relevant documents if any.​

Tribunal for Maintenance of Parents - Children's Queries

I have just been served a Notice of Application by my parent. Can I request my siblings to be involved?

You may apply for your siblings to be joined as Respondents in the maintenance application.​

What is an "Answer'?

An “Answer” is your response to the maintenance application filed by your parent.

You must submit the following to the Secretariat Office of the Tribunal within 14 days of receiving the Notice of Application:

1.      Your “Answer” using Form 12

2.      Your “Statement of the Respondent”

3.      Any supporting documents

The Secretariat Office of the Tribunal

Family Link @ Lengkok Bahru

8 Lengkok Bahru, #02-01

Singapore 159052

 

You are also required to send a copy of your Answer to your parent (the Applicant).