december trip Singapore toddler mum

SINGAPORE: A woman posted her concerns about having kids without marriage on social media. She asked, “Would it be unwise to have kids without getting married?” She explained that her partner firmly believed that marriage only benefited women, especially in Singapore, and was against tying the knot. Despite this, both of them wanted children. She admitted that she hadn’t given marriage much thought until considering the prospect of having kids.

This sparked several questions for her: Besides the father not being able to take paternity leave and family care leave, what other downsides were there to being an unmarried mom? Did Singaporean men generally share her partner’s sentiments of avoiding marriage, even when children were in the picture? She shared that the risks of parenthood were beginning to dawn on her, especially considering how tiring it could be. She wondered if being unmarried would limit her partner’s ability to care for the kids.

She also mentioned that her partner had unusual and somewhat cynical views on relationships and marriage. Her family situation was complicated, as she had been disowned for her interracial relationship, which was also why she was living with her partner.

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One Reditor, lesspylons, pointed out that having kids out of wedlock could put your family at a financial disadvantage due to the loss of housing benefits, subsidies, and inheritance rights. They compared the situation in Singapore to Nordic states, where people tend to get married eventually, even if they initially have kids before marriage.

Another user, Duepomegranate, mentioned that in many other countries, couples don’t need to get married immediately. After living together or having a kid together for some time, they’re treated as common-law married, which gives them almost all the rights and responsibilities of marriage. However, Singapore doesn’t have common-law marriage provisions.

On the other hand, Redditor Ramikade shared a story of a friend who opted for marriage but eventually got the downside. She shared that her friend dated a guy for a decade, married him, and separated in just eight months because he cheated almost immediately.

According to Gloria James-Civetta & Co, in Singapore, the Ministry of Social and Family Development encourages families to have children within marriages by offering benefits like the Baby Bonus cash gift, housing support, and tax breaks.

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But what if you’re not married?

Law about having kids without marriage

Under the common law rule of legitimate status, a child’s relationship with their parents is considered legitimate only if they are born within a valid marriage. However, Singaporean law has evolved to address the rights of illegitimate children, though some differences still exist.

Unmarried parents can seek financial help from each other, and the law doesn’t distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate children when it comes to guardianship and custody. Children of unmarried parents born after September 2016 are also eligible for government support through the Child Development Account (CDA).

However, some legal distinctions remain. For example, intestate succession laws exclude illegitimate children from inheriting their parents’ estate unless specified in a valid will. The Registration of Births and Deaths Act specifies that the child’s surname shall be that of the mother if the father is not an informant of the birth. The child’s citizenship can also be affected if their relationship with one parent is not considered legitimate.

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Housing benefits can be challenging for unmarried parents, and tax reliefs may not be as generous as those provided to married mothers.

To legitimize the relationship with their child, unmarried parents in Singapore have two options. They can either get married, which involves specific legal requirements, or they can adopt their own biological child, removing the label of illegitimacy.

So, would it be unwise to have kids without getting married? Having kids without marriage remains a subjective question with varying opinions, legal considerations, and personal circumstances. /TISG