Shared care and control may not be in kids' best interests

That shared care and control comprised 4 per cent of all divorce care and control orders in 2016 is not an astounding statistic (Care and control orders in divorce cases need attention, by Mr Oh Ee Hoe; July 14).

Rather, it is an encouraging one.

Having shared care and control pertains to the daily work of looking after a child, and this means that the estranged couple has to work very closely together and have a consistent parenting approach for it to be effective and optimal for the child.

What happens when the father and mother have very different temperaments and parenting styles?

What happens when the shared care and control works out in such a way that the child has to shuttle between two sets of parents on alternate weeks? What happens when one or both parents remarry?

The child has to switch between two very different household environments in quick succession and follow two differing sets of house rules, not to mention two dissimilar teaching approaches to his studies and homework.

How is this in the best interest of the child?

How is the child going to adopt a consistent set of values and habits if he is exposed to conflicting demands and antithetical parenting tones?

We do not need scientific studies to tell us that a child needs both his father and mother - that is common knowledge.

Divorce is often the last resort to a marriage that has utterly failed.

Whether the couple eventually opt for shared care and control or one parent gets full care and control while the other gets access to the child, it is up to the court and the estranged couple to decide what is the best for all parties.

This is not a decision to be anchored on statistics and especially not on scientific evidence taken out of its context.

Catherine Ang (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2018, with the headline 'Shared care and control may not be in kids' best interests'. Print Edition | Subscribe