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Singapore Government

Divorce Support

Children in Cross-Border Disputes

Children in Cross-Border Disputes

Children are particularly vulnerable in a divorce, even more so in cross-border family disputes. They could become involved in long, legal disputes and in some cases, children may even be abducted by one of their parents. 

In such cases, couples must make important co-parenting decisions regarding child custody, residence, contact and visitation.

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (HCCAICA) 

The HCCAICA is an international treaty recognised by more than 80 countries that protects children under 16 years of age and covers situations where: 

  1. The child was wrongfully removed or retained by a parent; or 
  2. The parent’s rights of access to the child have been breached. 

The Convention provides a framework for resolving these disputes. It is designed to protect children from abduction and to secure their quick return to the country of habitual residence or the country the Courts decides is most suitable for them. 

The HCCAICA is incorporated into Singapore law and implemented through the International Child Abduction Act (Chapter 143C). 

Under the Convention, a Central Authority is set up in each country to deal with requests for the return of children. The Central Authority in Singapore is the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). It works with the Central Authorities of other contracting states and helps to facilitate such applications. 

For more information, please see the Central Authority on the MSF website.