If the parent and children are unable to achieve a settlement after mediation, an application will be made for a Tribunal hearing. Both parent and children must be present at the hearing.
The Tribunal may do any of the following:
- Make a Maintenance Order on the application
- Dismiss the application
- Adjourn the hearing on the application
What if I am unable to attend the Tribunal Hearing?
You should inform the Secretariat Office of the Tribunal as soon as you can, in writing, providing reasons for your absence. The Tribunal may adjourn, dismiss or make an order, despite your absence.
If you are the Applicant, your application may be dismissed unless you have valid reasons in advance for your absence. The Tribunal may adjourn for a further hearing.
If you are the Respondent, an order of maintenance can still be made in your absence if you present no valid reasons in advance for not turning up. You may however file an application (using Form 13) in person to set aside the Order with reasons for your absence within 14 days of the Tribunal Order.
What language will the Tribunal Hearing be conducted in?
It will be conducted in English, and an interpreter will be present to translate where necessary.
How should I conduct myself during the Tribunal hearing?
Switch off your mobile phone or set it to silent mode before entering the courtroom. Recording is not permitted in the courtroom. Be polite and calm at all times and address Tribunal members as 'Sir', 'Madam' or 'Your Honour.' Never shout, use vulgar expressions, or interrupt someone who is speaking. You will have your turn to speak.
Ask for permission if you wish to submit documents to the Tribunal. You may hand your documents to the Tribunal Officer, not directly to the presiding Tribunal members. Also ask to provide copies if you need to keep the originals.
What must I bring for the Tribunal Hearing?
You should bring all relevant documents that support your position and Answer, such as information on living expenses, assets and savings, if you have not submitted these earlier. Make three copies of documents you wish the Tribunal to see. You may also bring witnesses, if any.
Are lawyers allowed to represent the parties in the Tribunal Hearing?
How will the Tribunal decide on each maintenance application?
The Tribunal decides on a maintenance order based on two main factors:
- That the Respondent can provide maintenance to the Applicant after meeting the needs of himself, his spouse and his children
- That the Applicant is unable, despite his efforts, to maintain himself through work, from his property or from any other source.
All circumstances of the case are taken into consideration, including:
- Financial needs of the Applicant, such as housing expenses and medical costs
- Income, property and other financial resources of the Applicant and the manner in which he spent his savings
- Applicant’s health problems, such as physical or mental disabilities
- Income, property and other financial resources of the Respondent;
- Expenses incurred by the Respondent in supporting his spouse or children
- Contributions and provisions the Respondent has made for the maintenance of the Applicant
If the Applicant was found to have abandoned, abused or neglected the Respondent, the Tribunal may dismiss the application or reduce the amount of the ordered maintenance sum. It is up to the Respondent to prove he was abandoned, abused or neglected.
Where there is more than one Respondent, the Tribunal may split up the maintenance sum among various Respondents in a just manner.
Are proceedings open to the public?
The proceedings are conducted in private. The Tribunal may open proceedings to the public if the Applicant or Respondent applies to do so.
Who will sit on the Tribunal during a Hearing?
The President or the Deputy President presides the hearing, together with at least two other members.
Can I apply to change the Maintenance Order made by the Tribunal?
Yes, the Applicant (Form 7) or Respondent (Form 8) may apply to change the maintenance order in person at the Secretariat Office of the Tribunal, provided there is one or more of the following reasons:
- Mistake of fact
- Material change in circumstances
For more information, please read How to respond to a Notice of Variation.
Can I make an appeal on the Tribunal's order?
You may appeal to the High Court on the Tribunal’s decision. Please write in to the Family Justice Courts Family Registry (FJCOURTS_Family_Registry@FJCourts.gov.sg) and they will look into your appeal.
What happens if a Respondent does not comply with the Tribunal's maintenance order?
The Tribunal’s maintenance orders may be enforced in the same manner as maintenance orders for wives and children are enforced under the Women’s Charter.
Contact the Secretariat Office for information on enforcement procedures.