Maintenance of Parents Bill

Bill No. 13/1994

Read the first time on 23rd May 1994.
An Act to make provision for the maintenance of parents by their children.
Be it enacted by the President with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows:
Short title
1.  This Act may be cited as the Maintenance of Parents Act 1994.
2.  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“applicant” includes a person in whose favour a maintenance order has been made under the provisions of this Act;
“child” includes an illegitimate, adopted and step-child;
“respondent” includes a person against whom a maintenance order has been made under the provisions of this Act.
Parents’ right to apply for maintenance
3.  Any person domiciled in Singapore who is unable to maintain himself adequately may apply to a District Court for an order that one or more of his children pay him a monthly allowance or a lump sum for his maintenance.
Joinder of respondents
4.  A respondent may serve notice in the prescribed form on other persons liable to maintain the applicant joining them as respondents in the action.
Maintenance orders
5.—(1)  The court may make a maintenance order if it considers that it is just and equitable that the respondent should maintain the applicant.
(2)  When ordering maintenance for the benefit of an applicant, the court shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case including (but not limited to) the following matters:
(a)the financial needs of the applicant, taking into account reasonable expenses for housing and medical costs;
(b)the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the applicant;
(c)any physical or mental disability of the applicant;
(d)the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the respondent;
(e)the expenses incurred by the respondent in supporting his spouse or children.
(3)  If the court is satisfied upon due proof that the applicant abandoned, abused or neglected the respondent, it may dismiss the application or may reduce the quantum of maintenance ordered by such amount as may be just.
(4)  The onus of proving abandonment, abuse or neglect shall be on the respondent alleging it.
(5)  Where there is more than one respondent the court may apportion the maintenance among the various respondents in such manner as may be just.
Power of court to order security for maintenance
6.—(1)  A maintenance order may provide for the payment of a lump sum or such periodical payment as the court may determine.
(2)  The court may, in its discretion, when awarding maintenance, order the respondent to secure the whole or any part of it by vesting any property in trustees upon trust to pay the maintenance or part thereof out of the income from that property.
Duration of orders for maintenance
7.—(1)  Except where an order for maintenance is expressed to be for any shorter period or where any such order has been rescinded, a maintenance order shall expire —
(a)if the maintenance was unsecured, on the death of the applicant or the respondent, whichever is the earlier;
(b)if the maintenance was secured, on the death of the applicant.
(2)  Where a maintenance order was made against more than one respondent, the death of a respondent does not affect the liability of the others to continue paying maintenance to the applicant. The applicant may apply to court to re-apportion the liability among the surviving respondents.
Power of court to vary orders for maintenance
8.—(1)  The court may vary or rescind any subsisting order for maintenance, whether secured or unsecured, where it is satisfied that the order was based on any misrepresentation or mistake of fact or where there has been any material change in the circumstances of the applicant or respondents.
(2)  An application for variation of a maintenance order may be made by —
(a)the applicant;
(b)a respondent; or
(c)in respect of secured maintenance, the legal personal representatives of a respondent.
(3)  Where a maintenance order was made against more than one respondent, the court may re-apportion the maintenance upon an application to vary the maintenance order.
Maintenance payable under order of court to be inalienable
9.  Maintenance payable to any person under this Act shall not be assignable or transferable or liable to be attached, sequestered or levied upon for, or in respect of, any debt or claim whatsoever.
Enforcement of maintenance orders
10.  Maintenance orders made under this Act may be enforced in the same manner as maintenance orders for wives and children are enforced under the Women’s Charter, and the provisions of that Act [Cap. 353] shall apply mutatis mutandis to enforcement of orders made under this Act.
Applications on behalf of incapacitated applicants
11.  Where an applicant is unable to make an application under this Act (whether by reason of physical or mental infirmity or for any other reason), such application may be made on his behalf by —
(a)any member of his family;
(b)any person in whose care he resides; or
(c)any other person whom the applicant has authorised to make such application.
12.  The Minister may make rules generally for carrying out the provisions of this Act.