'Lesser harm' option needed when parents divorce

Mr Oh Ee Hoe has stressed the importance of the involvement of both parents in a child's development and upbringing, and with that, advocates that the majority of divorce cases be given shared care and control orders (Care and control orders in divorce cases need attention; July 14).

Joint parenting, in the form of joint custody, is liberally applied today.The divorced parents have to mutually agree on all major decisions for the children, failing which, a court order has to be sought.

On the other hand, joint care and control refers to caring for the child's day-to-day matters together. But many times, when a married couple chooses to separate, communication would have broken down.

It is not in the child's interest if the parents argue and make demands on how the child is cared for on a daily basis. Any ambiguity is likely to result in a fight.

It is also extremely inconvenient for the child to travel and stay in two places during school days.

There will be no stability and the child can become confused.

Therefore, the current situation of joint custody, with care and control extended to one parent, is practical enough.

There is clarity, as the parent with care and control is the primary caregiver.

There is no perfect way to solve this problem but one has to think of the "lesser harm" option as well as the worst scenario to ensure that the law protects the weak and young. This will be in the best interest of the children.

Faith Fan Yiping (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2018, with the headline ''Lesser harm' option needed when parents divorce'. Print Edition | Subscribe