Avoid cookie-cutter approach in custody cases

Mr John Timothy Driscoll rightly stated the critical need for parents in dispute to exercise maturity, set aside their acrimony and focus on what is best for their children (Law shouldn't allow dads to lose rights to kids without hearings, March 20).

While similarities exist in all family break-ups, each comes with its own unique set of circumstances.

While there are parents whose ability to see their kids is unnecessarily hindered, there are also those who struggle to get their former spouse to uphold a responsible and active role in their children's life, or self-absorbed parents who prioritise their own indulgences and slip in and out of a child's life, bringing about a very disruptive and unreliable presence in the child's life.

The joys of raising children and sharing life's best moments with them, as Mr Driscoll cited, cannot be overstated; I can't think of greater joys in life than such.

However, we must also keep in mind that along with the joys, parenting comes with great responsibilities.

These include providing a safe environment for the children, supporting their financial needs that range from basic necessities to educational and medical essentials, and instilling morals and values, so that they can develop into healthy and productive human beings.

Given the varying dynamics in all custody cases, we need to be cautious against adopting a cookie-cutter approach in viewing and handling them.

It would be ideal if parents can work together for the good of the child.

If not, it is crucial for the court to step in and lay down parameters that would best serve the child's interests.

Lily Ong (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2019, with the headline 'Avoid cookie-cutter approach in custody cases'. Subscribe