Not too long ago we talked about a petition that was started by an advocacy group called the Family Justice Reform Singapore for a change in Singapore’s family justice system.
Part of the petition includes a call for the government to undertake a review of the Republic’s family justice framework to ensure that it protects the interest and welfare of families in Singapore, and deliver positive outcomes for children and families caught in divorce.
One such father who had signed the petition, reached out to TOC with his own personal struggle with this issue.
Maxim K, a 33-year old man from Russia had a child with a Singaporean lady. Unfortunately, according to the father, the relationship went sour before their daughter was born and the Singaporean lady refused to include Maxim’s name in their daughter’s birth certificate. This has left the father with many problems when trying to see his daughter and maintain a relationship with her.
Maxim told us that despite his name being left out of the birth certificate, he had sent money to cover the delivery costs and continues to support the family financially. He has also kept trying to be a part of his child’s life.
“For first 3 years, I came to Singapore to visit my child more than 10 times. Sad to say, my relationship with my daughter has suffered because of the continued actions by my ex-partner and her family to alienate me. The last time I saw my child was in July of 2016”, he told TOC.
Since 2016, Maxim has been totally cut off from his daughter’s life. He tells us this was provoked when he refused to pay the $200,000 in cash that his ex had demanded to include his name in the birth certificate, and the $300,000 she had demanded in order to allow him to see his daughter.
Maxim apparently reached out to the Singaporean government but they were less than helpful, only advising him to settle the matter in court.
Unfortunately, the legal fees in Singapore are astronomical. Apparently, a few lawyers had quoted $7,000 - $10,000 just to get the paper work started. He was also told that the final costs could run up to $100,000. This differed greatly from where he came from. In Moscow, Maxim tells us the costs of family legal proceedings would be between $1,000 to $5,000.
“I understand that the standards of living in Singapore and Moscow may be different, but I find a such a huge multiple shocking! In my opinion, such overpriced legal fees literally result in an injustice and violate the right of one to protect his or her own interests,” he said.
What is happening to Maxim is not an isolated event, surely. Parents are denied access to their children everyday due to conflicts between two parents. Using a child as a bargaining chip is both immoral and harmful to the child. Every child deserves the opportunity to have a healthy relationship with both parents.
According to Family Justice Reform Singapore, 96% of children affected by divorce in this country lose a meaningful relationship with one biological parent because of the Court’s refusal to grant Shared Care and Control. This is something they're hoping to change. You can sign the Family Justice Reform petition here.