What is maintenance

Maintenance is the provision of support (financial in nature) for wives, children or incapacitated husbands.

Some examples of common maintenance orders include:

  • Fixed monthly payments.
  • Reimbursement (repayment) of specific expenses, either in full or in part.
  • Direct payment of expenses to a service provider (such as a childcare centre or utilities provider).

Maintenance may also be backdated at the court’s discretion.

Types of maintenance applications in the Family Courts

You can apply in the Family Courts for:

  • A fresh maintenance order for a spouse, child or incapacitated husband.
    • If you are in a Muslim marriage, you can apply for maintenance from a spouse or for your child in the Family Courts in accordance with the Women’s Charter.
  • Enforcement of an existing maintenance order made by the Family Courts for a spouse, ex-spouse, or child.
  • Enforcement of a maintenance order, nafkah iddah or mutaah made by the Syariah Court.
  • Enforcement of an order made by the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents.
  • An order to vary (change) or revoke (cancel) an order made by the Family Courts.

Applications are made through the Integrated Family Management System (iFAMS).

Note
In general, both parties should be in Singapore. If a party is not residing in Singapore, the court can make a maintenance order only if the party is in selected countries .

If you are currently going through the divorce process, maintenance matters may be handled as part of the divorce proceedings (under Part X of the Women's Charter). This follows a different process from applications described in this section, which are filed through the Integrated Family Management System (iFAMS) (under Part VIII of the Women's Charter).

  • If you wish to vary a maintenance order made as part of a divorce proceeding, you cannot file through iFAMS. You will need to follow a different process (under Part X of the Women's Charter).
  • If you wish to enforce a maintenance order made as part of a divorce proceeding, you may either file through iFAMS or through a different process (under Part X of the Women's Charter).

You may wish to seek independent legal advice on your options.

Maintenance orders can be made for children as part of guardianship applications. This follows a different process from applications described in this section, which are filed through the Integrated Family Management System (iFAMS). You cannot file through iFAMS.

You may wish to seek independent legal advice on your options.

Not all maintenance applications are filed in the Family Courts. You may file your application at other places if any of the following applies to your case:

If you are...Apply with the...

An elderly Singaporean who is at least 60 years of age and wish to apply for fresh maintenance from your children.

Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents managed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

In a Muslim marriage and you wish to file for fresh maintenance from your spouse. (1)

Syariah Court.

File a maintenance application step-by-step

This is the process of filing an application to apply for, enforce or vary a maintenance order.

If you file an application, you are the applicant (also known as the complainant).

The party against whom the application is filed is the respondent. If you have received a letter about an application filed against you, find out how to respond.

Watch the video to find out more about applications for maintenance orders and enforcement orders.

Note

This process only covers maintenance applications that are:

When filing

File and serve a maintenance application

Understand the documents, fees and process to file and serve a maintenance application.

Resolving the dispute

Attend mediation

After you have filed your application, you and the respondent may be directed to attend mediation to try to resolve the case. If you reach a resolution, the case will end. If not, the case will proceed to a mention.

Resolving the dispute

Attend one or more mentions

Both you and the respondent will have to attend a court mention before a judge, who will give you directions on the next steps to take. There may be further mentions to prepare the case for a hearing.

Resolving the dispute

Attend a hearing

If you and the respondent cannot come to an agreement, you will go to trial. Your case will be heard by a judge, who will decide the outcome of the application.

After an order is made

Understand the outcomes and file an application, if needed

After the court makes an order, you may enforce it if the other party does not comply with it. If you are not satisfied with the court's decision, you may file an appeal.

2021/07/23
Note

You do not need a lawyer to file a maintenance application. However, you may choose to engage one for your court mentions or hearing. Find out where to get help.

Resources

Refer to the maintenance brochure:

Related questions

No. The court considers maintenance issues and issues relating to access to children separately. You are still bound by the court order to allow the other parent to have access to the children even if he or she is not making regular maintenance payments.


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