When parents separate or divorce it is usually in the best interests of their children if the parents can agree to some form of co-parenting arrangement, where both parents continue to play an active role in their children’s lives. 

However, in the UK there is no real requirement for parents to work together to put such an arrangement in place. Other countries, however, take a different approach. Singapore, for example, recently announced that it was extending its Mandatory Parenting Programme (MPP) to include divorcing parents with children below 21-years-old.

The MPP aims to help parties understand the importance of co-parenting and the practical issues arising from a divorce, which would have an impact on their children. Parents learn how to prioritise their children’s needs, make informed decisions about the divorce and ancillary matters, and make greater efforts to reduce the level of acrimony between them.

When it was first introduced, divorcing parents with children under the age of 14 were required to attend the programme before filing for divorce, unless they were able to agree on the divorce and all ancillary matters. The latest amendment to the scheme has extended it to include divorcing parents with children under the age of 21.

Once parents have completed the programme they receive a certificate – if they don’t have this certificate they are unable to file for divorce.

Around 2,500 applicants have attended the MPP since its implementation in December 2016. Over 95% of the participants apparently said they were more aware of the impact of divorce on their children in terms of financial, housing and practical needs post-separation. Similarly, more than 95% of the participants agreed on the need to prioritise their children’s interest over their own.

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