September 16th, 2010

Wanted: Your views on Women’s Charter


The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has invited the public to give feedback on the proposed changes to the Women’s Charter.

The proposed changes are, primarily, for measures:

  1. to strengthen the enforcement of maintenance orders; and
  2. to mitigate the impact of divorces by mandating marriage preparation courses for prescribed classes of persons;
  3. mandate mediation and counseling; and
  4. make financial provisions for maintenance of children through transfer of divided matrimonial assets to a child.


What you can do:

AWARE will be submitting its views on the changes and to this end, would like to invite you to:

  • Read about the proposed changes here.
  • Read the Charter here.
  • Write to us at with your comments by 6pm on Sunday, October 24 2010

We welcome and will consider all your contributions.


The main changes include the following:

A. Measures to facilitate marriages

  1. Waive the residence condition for Singapore Citizens and/or Permanent Residents;

B. Measures to address divorce and its impact

  1. New conditions for marriage involving minors and divorcees;
  2. Mandatory post-filing counselling and mediation for couples with children;
  3. Court to make appropriate orders for non-compliance of counselling and mediation;
  4. Court to make ancillary orders for foreign divorces;
  5. Court to order parents to deposit money into the Children’s Development Account; and
  6. Other amendments.

C. Measures to enhance the enforcement of maintenance orders

i. Measures to deter maintenance defaults and secure payments

  • Court to order banker’s guarantee, financial counselling, and community service on defaulters;
  • Report defaulters to credit bureaus;
  • Remarrying divorcees to declare maintenance debts;

ii. Streamlining of enforcement process

  • Obtain defaulters’ employment details from CPF Board;
  • Court to order parties to provide information on their financial status in maintenance proceedings;
  • Provide for service of summons via registered post.


  1. Rosa Lein

    Many women who are dependent on the maintenance usually have to work or have young children. They often have to take time off to go to the courts to lodge acomplaint of maintenance defaults, some thing women in such positions cannot afford to do. Others have employers who would not allow them to take off. Invariably, women in such situations perfer to ignore the maintenance lapse.

    To secure payments,it would be useful if the sum is paid via CPF- that way,it gives the abandoned family the security that the money will be that each month. Also, it gives the family the option to use or save the sum for other purposes eg, housing, rent, education etc.

    It would be useful if employers are required by law to grant women leave so that they could attend court sessions to address maintenance defaults.

    Maintenance and prompt payments are not priviledges for the woman but the rights of each of their child.

    The measures (both old and new) are useful only if they secure payments, and ensure prompt payments, without the family having to fight for it each and every month.

  2. On the subject of marriage, I find it a little iffy that it is the Women’s Charter that regulates marriage, whether in its prohibition of bigamy, its referral of Muslim marriages to AMLA rather than civil law, or its ban on conducting and/or recognising same-sex civil marriages. It is as though woman is equated with the domestic role, with family, and with family formation. A product of 1961, of course, but it is disappointing that so little social progress has been made since then.

    Not very helpful a comment, I admit, but something that bothers me.