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VDX v VDY and another appeal [2021] SGHCF 2

Outcome: Orders below varied


1 The parties filed cross-appeals following a District Judge’s decision to vary the care and control of a child of the marriage, “C”. The appeals involved two issues: (a) which parent would have care and control of C during dinner time on Chinese New Year’s Eve (“Reunion Dinner”); (b) when the Father should return C to the care and control of the Mother after the end-of-year school holidays (the “December holidays”). 

Court’s Decision:

2 The Family Division of the High Court affirmed the DJ’s decision on care and control for the Reunion Dinner but varied the care and control arrangements following the December Holidays to reflect changes in the child’s school term.

3 The court has the power to vary the care and control of a child where there has been a material change in the circumstances of the case (see s 128 of the Women’s Charter). To that end, the welfare of the child will be the court’s paramount consideration (see s 125(2) of the Women’s Charter): at [25].

4 No decision on the specific care and control arrangements as to the Reunion Dinner and the December Holidays would materially affect the welfare of C. The dispute between the parties concerned, at most, a few days of care of C with either parent every year: at [26].

5 But what would significantly affect C’s welfare is the parents’ conflicts and the spirit in which they carry out the care and control arrangements. Carrying out the arrangements with the intent to ruin the time that the other parent has with C would undermine C’s welfare. While carrying out the arrangements with a supportive and cooperative spirit would promote C’s welfare: at [29].

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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