Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang asked the Minister for Social and Family Development whether in the children's best interests, the Ministry will consider requiring divorce rulings that award shared care and control to also state which party is allowed to list the child as an essential occupier in their application to buy a subsidised HDB flat as the ability to list the child has a direct impact on each parent's eligibility to purchase a HDB flat.
1. We have considered the suggestion to require the court order to state which parent is allowed to list the child as an “essential occupier” for the purposes of applying for a HDB flat, in shared care and control cases. After careful consideration, we do not intend to make this a requirement. Orders pertaining to a child are made with the overarching principle of the child’s best interests. When determining issues pertaining to a child’s welfare, the court order focuses on the rebuilding and restoration of relationships, and for parents to focus on a shared future, instead of specific orders laying down conditions such as the one referred to.
2. As far as possible, we want to encourage divorced parents to work through issues co-operatively and harmoniously, outside of the court system. This is especially pertinent in cases where there is shared care and control of the child as it is not ideal for parents with shared care and control to seek or rely on court orders to lay down all matters and details pertaining to care of their children and arrangements after divorce. Instead, they should be working on co-parenting co-operatively, in the child’s best interest.
3. Nonetheless, we recognise that there may be cases where parents are unable to reach an agreement despite their best efforts. In such cases, they can approach HDB to discuss their options. On a case-by-case basis, HDB is prepared to exercise flexibility by waiving the requirement for the ex-spouse’s consent, in the interest of ensuring that the child has a stable housing arrangement.