Faster resolution in court helps families move forward

We thank Mr Fabian Ng Yuan Sheng for his letter (Better to focus on reconciliation, healing in family courts; Nov 15).

Mr Ng has rightly pointed out the delicate needs of family disputes in the Family Justice Courts (FJC) involving parties whose relationships will often have to continue beyond the life of the case.

It is with this need in mind that the FJC was conceived and established in 2014 to introduce less adversarial and more child-centric approaches in family proceedings.

The FJC seeks to empower families to resolve their disputes early, with a sustainable outcome and an opportunity to recast their future to focus on healing and parenting their children.

Active judicial management and court processes have been refined to ensure that the animosity and hurt that exist in family cases are not aggravated.

The services and programmes available in the FJC include counselling and mediation, which encourage and assist parties to reach an amicable resolution of their disputes instead of proceeding with adjudication. In more complex cases, Child Representatives are called upon to ensure that the child's interests are protected.

We recognise that each dispute before the court is unique and solutions have to be holistic and sustainable.

While we have been able to resolve most divorce cases more quickly through better and more effective case management policies and processes, cases that may require more time are provided for.

Where a marriage has irretrievably broken down, parties and children benefit from sensitive and expeditious proceedings in the court to enable them to move forward in their lives.

To better support families in Singapore, the FJC works within a larger family justice system with our partners and, in particular, the Ministry of Social and Family Development to prevent escalation of the dispute as early as possible, and after court resolution, to support them in finding new pathways ahead.

Chia Wee Kiat
Registrar
Family Justice Courts

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'Faster resolution in court helps families move forward'. Print Edition | Subscribe