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Since the publication of the first edition of Elements of Family Law in Singapore in 2007, there have been further developments in the law, both in statutory form as well as case law. This updated second edition follows the original, largely discussing, the developments and its impact on the state of the law currently. The author has striven to improve upon the discussion of the core principles in each topic in this edition.
The Court of Appeal leads the judiciary in its continuing effort to ensure that pristine common law principles are interpreted to serve local needs and circumstances as they should. The High Court has clarified the dominating role of the Women’s Charter in formation of marriages. The separate parts of the law regulating parents and their children are better rationalised to uphold the unique position of parents over other adults who may be interested in the well-being of someone else’s child. The Court of Appeal affirmed and clarified the law regulating marital agreements including pre-nuptial agreements. In the area of division of matrimonial assets, the Court of Appeal has delivered several significant decisions clarifying the law as based upon the concept of deferred community of property where equal credit should be accorded to nonfinancial contribution to acquisition as financial contribution, expounding the purposive interpretation of what properties are matrimonial assets and explaining its view of how to achieve the just and equitable proportions of division as mandated by the statutory provision.
Amongst significant statutory developments is the enactment of the International Child Abduction Act 2011 which enforces Singapore’s commitment in acceding to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. New provisions for the better enforcement of orders of financial provision, whether of maintenance or division of matrimonial assets, after termination of marriages are also explained.