A divorced couple in Singapore went to court to fight over who their 13-year-old son gets to have his reunion dinner with.
Divorced couple shared joint custody over youngest son
The dispute between the estranged couple has been going on for around one-and-a-half years, reported Lianhe Wanbao.
The couple got married in 1987 but ended their 25-year union in 2012.
During their marriage, they had four children together, of which their eldest had already passed away. Their two daughters were no longer minors, and did not require the court to decide custody.
Both were given joint custody of their youngest son, 13.
Their son would spend time with his father during weekends and school holidays at the end of the year, and live with his mother for the rest of the time.
Dispute over who gets to eat reunion dinner with son
This arrangement went smoothly for several years, until the parents' relationship became increasingly hostile around 2019.
After the two fell out, the woman filed an appeal to the court to adjust the terms of the joint custody.
Her appeal included a request to allow both parents to take turns spending time with their son on the eve of Chinese New Year.
She explained that she had not been able to make proper arrangements to spend time with her son during this period with her ex-husband ever since they got divorced, and hoped to be able to spend time with her son during the festive period.
However, her ex-husband was unwilling to budge, and insisted that their son ought to stay with him from the eve of Chinese New Year to the second day of the festive period, and have his reunion dinner with his paternal relatives as well.
The man argued that their son should spend more time with other relatives during his developmental years.
He added that his ex-wife was unable to provide that for their son, as her reunion dinners did not include other relatives.
Judge ruled for son to eat reunion dinners with both separately
Eventually, the family court judge ruled that their son should have his reunion dinner with both parents.
The judge specified that their son can have dinner with his mother until 8:30pm on the eve of Chinese New Year, before handing him over to his father for the rest of the night
The judge explained that this arrangement would allow both sides to spend time with their son.
Dissatisfied with ruling, father thinks son would be "too full" for second dinner
However, both parents were dissatisfied with the verdict, and later appealed to the High Court.
According to the Chinese daily, the man was unhappy with the court's decision, arguing that his son would be "too full" after eating his first reunion dinner, and would not be able to stomach another meal afterwards.
The appeal was rejected by the High Court, ruling that there was nothing wrong with the family court's verdict.
Judge advised parents to compromise
The High Court judge advised that both parents should cooperate with each other to work out a compromise rather than risk ruining the festive period for their son.
The deterioration of relations between the parents has hindered their ability to privately work out a suitable care-taking schedule for their child, the High Court said, adding that it is the court's responsibility to protect the child's interests when it decides the time each parent gets to spend with the child.
The judge stressed that the arrangement of schedules by parents during holidays and festive periods should be resolved as peacefully and civilly as possible, to avoid affecting the child.
The parents' appeal to the High Court was eventually rejected after consideration, advising the parents to compromise and settle the matter reasonably, and not let their child spend the festive period unhappy.
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