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Interests of children will be focus of Syariah Court's divorce process: Dr Yaacob

New initiatives are in the pipeline to put the children at the centre of the Syariah Court's processes involving divorce, Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said on Tuesday (May 27).

SINGAPORE: New initiatives are in the pipeline to put the best interests of children at the centre of the Syariah Court's processes involving divorce, Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said on Tuesday (May 27).

From early next year, the Court will require parents with minors to discuss their parenting plans at the counselling stage, to ensure that parents consider the best interests of their children from the onset of the divorce process, said Dr Yaacob at the CHILD (Can't Handle If Love's Divided) Seminar on Tuesday (May 27).

In August, the Court will organise a workshop to equip marriage counsellors with skills to work with divorcing couples on parenting plans post-divorce.

The Court will also collaborate with Mendaki to extend social service initiative Nadi Khidmat’s outreach at the Court towards the end of this year. Clients in need, especially those with minor children, will be provided with on-the-spot information and referral service to assistance provided by Malay/Muslim organisations and national agencies, Dr Yaacob said.

The Minister for Communications and Information noted that of the more than 1,500 Muslim divorces from 2011 to 2013, more than two-thirds of the families had children aged 18 and below, or a total of more than 2,000 minors.

"The divorce of parents hurts the family, even if it is amicable. The impact can continue with the children into adulthood.  Research has shown that those who experienced divorce as children face challenges breaking the cycle in adulthood. The last thing we want is for the legacy of tragedy to be passed on from one generation to another," he said.

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