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TEN v TEO and another appeal [2020] SGHCF 20

Outcome: Appeal dismissed


1 The Wife and Husband cross-appealed against the decision of the district judge on custody, care and control and access, and maintenance in relation to their daughters, who were 16 and 13 years of age (the “Children”). Both parties sought sole custody and sole care and control of the Children. The Wife alleged that the Husband had engaged in extensive parental alienation which caused the Children to reject her. 

Court’s Decision:

2 The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals but made specific orders: at [65]

3 It was, and remains, the responsibility of the parent with care and control, to facilitate the reunion between the child(ren) and the other parent. The law does not “force” children to love a parent, even in functioning families, children may be closer to one parent than the other and may even have conflicts with a parent. The law does, however, expect a parent not to engage in alienating behaviour, and to support the reunification efforts as far as he or she can. If a parent has been facilitative and the children still, for whatever reason, continue to reject the other parent, that is another matter: at [43]

4 An order for sole custody of a child is only made in exceptional circumstances, such as where one parent physically, sexually, or emotionally abuses the child. Acrimony alone is not sufficient to justify a sole custody order. Generally, an order for sole custody would have the consequence of depriving children of the guidance and input of the non-custody parent in major issues affecting their upbringing: at [48] and [50]

The full text of the decision can be found here

This summary is provided to assist the public to have a better understanding of the Court’s judgment. It is not intended to be a substitute for the reasons of the Court. All numbers in bold font and square brackets refer to the corresponding paragraph numbers in the Court’s judgment.

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