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What is a maintenance hearing

A maintenance hearing is a chance for both parties to present their case to a judge. It takes place if an agreement was not reached during mediation.

The hearing usually takes place via an open court trial.

During the previous court mention, the Family Courts will inform you of the date, time and venue of your hearing. You may also check the details through the Integrated Family Management System (iFAMS).

The hearing date will usually be about 4 weeks from the last mentions date. Depending on the number of witnesses and complexity of the case, you may be scheduled for a quarter day, half day, full day or more. The hearing may start at 9.30am, 11.15am, 2.30pm or 4.15pm.

Attendance is compulsory

Both the applicant and the respondent must attend the hearing.

If you are absent without a valid reason:

  • As the applicant, your application will be struck out.
  • As the respondent, the judge may issue a warrant of arrest against you.

If there is a valid reason for your absence, the court may choose to adjourn the matter.

You may apply to change the court date through the Integrated Family Management System (iFAMS). You must request at least 5 working days in advance and include supporting documents.

For urgent cases, contact the Family Registry at fjcourts_maintpos@fjcourts.gov.sg or 6435 5471.

If the court grants your request, a new date will be arranged. Otherwise, you are required to attend the court session as scheduled.

Arriving in court for your hearing

Note
Some court sessions may be conducted virtually. The court will inform you if you do not need to attend court in person. Find out more about virtual court sessions.

If you are asked to attend court physically, you should:

  • Arrive early and find your way to the venue.
  • Confirm your case is heard in the venue you are about to enter. Inform the court officer before entering, if applicable.
  • Dress neatly and decently when attending court.
  • Speak and conduct yourself in a courteous manner.
  • Bring the required documents that you submitted to the court.

At your hearing

You (or your lawyer) will need to present your case to the judge. In general, these are the stages you may expect during the hearing:

What to expect:

  • The applicant will first present their case and evidence. This is also known as the examination-in-chief.
    • If the applicant is represented by a lawyer, their lawyer will conduct the examination-in-chief.
  • If the applicant has witnesses, they will call their witnesses to the witness stand to give evidence.

What to expect:

  • The respondent will then get a chance to ask the applicant and their witnesses questions on their case and evidence.
    • If the respondent is represented by a lawyer, their lawyer will conduct the cross-examination.
  • (If the applicant is represented by a lawyer) After the respondent or their lawyer has conducted the cross-examination, the applicant's lawyer may also ask the applicant or their witnesses further questions. This is known as the re-examination.

What to expect:

  • The respondent will present their case and evidence.
    • If the respondent is represented by a lawyer, their lawyer will conduct the examination-in-chief.
  • If the respondent has witnesses, they will call their witnesses to the witness stand to give evidence.

What to expect:

  • The applicant will then get a chance to ask the respondent and their witnesses questions on their case and evidence.
    • If the applicant is represented by a lawyer, their lawyer will conduct the cross-examination.
  • (If the respondent is represented by a lawyer) After the applicant or their lawyer has conducted the cross-examination, the respondent's lawyer may also ask the respondent or their witnesses further questions. This is known as the re-examination.

After the parties and their witnesses have been examined, each party may present to the court a summary of their case.

The judge will decide whether to make an order for maintenance to be paid, enforced or varied, or to dismiss the application. Find out about the possible orders and outcomes.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

Resources

Refer to the maintenance brochure:

Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide

2021/07/23

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