Shared parenting better for children in long term

The concerns raised by Ms Catherine Ang and the Family Justice Courts in their letters are valid ones (Shared care and control may not be in kids' best interests; and Care and control orders in divorce cases carefully decided, both published on July 19).

The family justice system must always strive to minimise the impact of parental conflict on children, who might otherwise find themselves caught in between.

But the solution to minimising parental conflict is not separating children from one of their parents.

That only exacerbates the child's vulnerabilities and leaves an emotional deficiency from missing a parent.

This can lead to more serious consequences such as sexual and physical abuse, dropping out of school, teen delinquency, drug abuse, incarceration and even suicide.

Decades of research and experience have confirmed this, including in our Family Courts, where more than half of youth delinquency cases are linked to broken homes.

Instead, we should empower community agencies such as the Divorce Support Specialist Agencies to facilitate shared-parenting arrangements and mediate any disagreements between parents.

The imperatives for shared parenting cannot be overstated and the Family Court has the obligation to do right by our children by awarding shared care and control in the vast majority of divorce cases.

Patricia Tan (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2018, with the headline 'Shared parenting better for children in long term'. Subscribe