This section provides a brief summary of the procedures for filing an application for custody, care and control or access to a child under the Guardianship of Infants Act.


The information provided below is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. The Family Justice Courts cannot provide legal advice or assist with drafting the contents of any document.   ​


Important note: This section only deals with applications made under the Guardianship of Infants Act.  Custody, care, control and access issues may also be dealt with as ancillary matters in divorce proceedings.  For more information on divorce proceedings, please refer to the Divorce section of this website.



1. Starting proceedings

To start proceedings under the Guardianship of Infants Act, you must file the following documents in Court:

  • Originating Summons

  • Affidavit in support of the Originating Summons

If you are filing the Originating Summons, you are called the Plaintiff. The person against whom you are filing the Originating Summons is the Defendant.

You must exhibit your Marriage Certificate to your affidavit if you are or were married to the Defendant.

If there are Syariah Court divorce proceedings between you and the Defendant, you must file the following documents with your Originating Summons:

  • a Syariah Court commencement certificate; or
  • the parties’ written consent to the commencement of proceedings in the Family Justice Courts, and a Syariah Court certificate of attendance

You will need to pay the appropriate filing fees for all documents filed in Court.


2. Service  

Please go to the Lawnet & Crimsonlogic Service Bureau to file your documents. If your documents are in order, the Family Justice Courts Registry will accept your documents for filing. Copies of your documents will be affixed electronically with the Court seal and the sealed copies will be given to you.

Serve the sealed copies on the defendant. This is to alert him or her that you have started these proceedings in Court.

You must serve the sealed copies in one of the following ways:

  • by personal service, which means that the documents must be handed to the Defendant directly by someone authorized to do so, such as a process server; or
  • by E-Litigation on the Defendant’s lawyer, if he or she has one, but only if the Defendant’s lawyer indicates on the documents that he or she accepts service on behalf of the Defendant.


3. Electronic filing

Please note that all court documents must be filed to Court using the E-Litigation (e-Lit) system. You can file documents through E-Litigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau. There are two Service Bureaux in Singapore:

Supreme Court LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau at 1 Supreme Court Lane, Level 1, Supreme Court Building, Singapore 178879, Tel: (65) 6337 9164, Fax: (65) 6337 9980, Email:

Chinatown Point LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau at 133 New Bridge Road, #19-01/02 Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413, Tel: (65) 6538 9507, Fax: (65) 6438 6350,

For more information on the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau, you may wish to visit the e-Litigation website. The staff of the Family Justice Courts will be able to direct you to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau located at Chinatown Point, but will not be able to give you any specific information on the procedures and charges administered by the Service Bureau. 


4. Your first Court hearing

Your first Court hearing is likely to be a Case Conference before an Assistant Registrar of the Family Justice Courts. Both you and the Defendant will be notified of the Court date by letter.

A Case Conference is conducted in chambers — meaning that the hearing is closed to the public, and only those directly involved in the matter can attend. You do not have to attend a Case Conference yourself if you have a lawyer. Similarly, if the Defendant has a lawyer, his or her lawyer will attend the Case Conference.

At the Case Conference, the Assistant Registrar will check if all the necessary documents have been filed in Court. If the Defendant is contesting your application, he or she will have to file an affidavit in reply. 

If there is a possibility for an amicable resolution, the Assistant Registrar may refer the case for mediation or counselling. 


5. Originating Summons hearing 

If an amicable resolution of your dispute is reached after attendance at counselling, or after a Family Dispute Resolution Conference, a consent order may be recorded before a District Judge in chambers. This formally ends the Court proceedings.

If amicable resolution is not possible, the Originating Summons will proceed for hearing before a District Judge in chambers. The District Judge will make his or her decision on the affidavits that have been filed in Court. It is not necessary for you or the Defendant to give oral evidence before the District Judge.

After hearing both sides, the District Judge will rule on your application, and make the necessary orders. This formally ends the Court proceedings. 


5. Appeals

If you are not satisfied with the District Judge’s order, you may appeal to a Judge of the High Court.

If you wish to appeal, you must do so by filing a Notice of Appeal. The Notice must be issued within 14 days of the District Judge’s order. You must then serve the Notice on the other party within 7 days of it being issued. You may wish to refer to the Family Justice Rules for further details.  

Please note that court staff cannot help you with your appeal papers.



Last updated on: 2/1/2015 11:10 AM