Family

Nature of dispute

Legal wrangles over family matters are not only expensive and protracted, they can also take an emotional toll on the parties involved. Family disputes include divorce, division of family assets, spousal and children maintenance, custody of children (including international child abduction cases), inheritance, and wills and probate.

How we can help

SMC has two schemes to help family members resolve domestic disputes amicably. They are the Family Mediation Scheme (FMS) and the Collaborative Family Practice (CFP).

Both FMS and CFP function primarily as alternatives to court litigation. They help reduce legal fees, time and resources spent in contesting legal issues in court. They also assist to create a safe, non-confrontational and informal environment for divorcing couples or disputing family members to reach the most suitable and favourable arrangements for their family as compared to a court decision arising from an acrimonious litigation.

Family Mediation Scheme

Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third-party, the mediator, facilitates the disputants’ negotiation process for a private and amicable settlement.

Individuals who face problems with division of matrimonial or family assets, spousal maintenance, custody of children (including international child abduction cases), and wills and probate can apply for SMC’s Family Mediation Scheme (FMS).

The Scheme seeks to encourage conciliation to end family discord, smooth out domestic conflicts and foster long-term family ties. The emotional turmoil faced by family members are also minimised while the costs are kept low.

Under this Scheme, SMC will appoint experienced mediators with family law expertise from its family panel.

SMC is also the service provider for family cases ordered by the Family Justice Courts (FJC) to attend private mediation. For more information on court-ordered mediation, follow the link to the FJC Practice Directions here.

Fees

Parties will have to pay SMC’s administrative and mediation fees below.

FAMILY MEDIATION SCHEME

Administrative fees

$267.50 per party. The administrative fee is non-refundable

Mediation fees

$2,732.50 per party per day regardless of the quantum in dispute

* The figures above are in Singapore dollars and inclusive of GST.

Please note that if parties choose their own mediator(s), the selected mediator(s) may charge his/her commercial rates and the above mediation fee will not be applicable.

For more information, please refer to the Family Mediation Scheme rules and fees on the Documents & Forms page:

Collaborative Family Practice

An alternative scheme for individuals with matrimonial discord is the Collaborative Family Practice (CFP), which is supported by the Family Justice Courts and Law Society of Singapore. CFP is a pre-action process and takes place before the start of any divorce or matrimonial proceedings. Both parties must also agree to participate in CFP before SMC can assist to take the matter forward.

Under the CFP scheme, specially trained CFP lawyers and family specialists such as financial advisors and child experts work with parties to negotiate an agreement that suits the family.

A unique feature of this process is that CFP lawyers cannot represent their clients in future litigation if the settlement is not reached. This gives a greater incentive for feuding parties and their lawyers to settle their disputes through the CFP process.

Unlike matrimonial disputes that end up in court, CFP is a much less stressful and less hostile process. The Family Justice Courts will prioritise these cases to have their agreements recorded and processed. It provides parties with a confidential and less formal avenue to negotiate issues peacefully, which can help maintain the well-being of any children involved.

Fees

Parties pay the fees below charged by CFP lawyers when they are appointed through SMC.

COLLABORATIVE FAMILY PRACTICE

CFP lawyer’s hourly rate (appointed by SMC)

$428 per hour per party

* The figures above are in Singapore dollars and inclusive of GST.

Party-selected CFP lawyer(s) will be entitled to charge his/her commercial rates.

The duration of the process is subject to the number of issues and complexity of the dispute. 

The CFP lawyers will advise on suitability and estimated total number of hours for the CFP process during the initial consultation which will be conducted free-of-charge. A deposit based on the estimated costs will be collected (by the lawyer) once the lawyers and parties have entered into a CFP Participation Agreement. 

For more information, please refer to the Collaborative Family Practice application form on the Documents & Forms page and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page:

A comparison table of the different schemes can be found below:

 

Family Mediation Scheme

Collaborative Family Practice

Nature of dispute

Family disputes including matrimonial disputes, wills and probate.

Matrimonial disputes only.

When should process take place

May be commenced at any stage by the parties, regardless of whether legal proceedings have commenced.

This is a “pre-court” process. It must take place before any court action has been commenced.

Process

Mediators with family law expertise will be appointed by SMC to assist parties to facilitate the negotiation process.

 

The mediators will not impose a decision on the parties or provide legal advice; instead, the process allows parties to consider and mutually agree on the terms of the settlement.

CFP lawyers will be appointed by SMC to assist parties in negotiating an uncontested divorce settlement before they commence formal legal proceedings in court.

If settlement is reached, parties will still need to formally file for divorce with the Family Justice Courts. The Family Justice Courts will prioritise these cases to have their agreements recorded and processed.

Parties may choose to retain the CFP lawyers for the filing of an uncontested divorce.

Cost

Administrative fee: $267.50 per party.

Mediation fee: $2,732.50 per party per day.

$428 per hour per party where SMC refers the CFP lawyers.

Parties may choose to retain the same CFP lawyers for the filing of an uncontested divorce and will need to check with the CFP lawyers directly for their commercial rates for their services.

Duration

Subject to the complexity and number of disputing issues.

Of cases that settle (about 70%), over 90% of SMC mediations conclude within a day.

If the matter does not involve complex issues and is straightforward, CFP can generally be completed within 4 meetings (each lasting about 2 hours).

* The figures above are in Singapore dollars and includes GST.

 

To begin a dispute resolution process

  • 1
  • 2

    Download the Family Mediation Scheme Request for Mediation form here.

  • 3

    Send the completed form to SMC by fax at +65 6333 5085 or email to enquiries@mediation.com.sg.

  • 4

    Payments should be made either via cheque or bank transfer. Cheque to be made payable to “Singapore Mediation Centre”.

  • 2

    Download the Collaborative Family Practice application form here.

  • 3

    Send the completed form to SMC by fax at +65 6333 5085 or email to enquiries@mediation.com.sg.

  • 4

    Payments should be made either via cheque or bank transfer. Cheque to be made payable to “Singapore Mediation Centre”.

For more information, please contact SMC at