Reciprocal Enforcement Of Maintenance Orders

Always revitalising and evolving


About the project

The Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee examined whether the Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Act (Chapter 168, 1985 Revised Edition) (‘MO(FE)A’) and the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act (Chapter 169, 1985 Revised Edition) (‘MO(RE)A’) required reform, taking into account changes in family relationships and personal mobility; national spousal and child support systems; ease of asset relocation and secretion which complicates the identification of the maintenance debtor’s assets; other operational difficulties in the cross-border recovery of maintenance; and the convergence, if any, of international opinions on maintenance of spouses and child support.

The Committee concluded that the MO(FE)A remained a sound and tested structure for the reciprocal enforcement of maintenance orders within the Commonwealth, but should be improved to ensure that it could operate more cheaply, efficiently and fairly. On the other hand, the MO(RE)A required a thorough overhaul, including the introduction of provisions limiting the jurisdiction to make reciprocal maintenance orders and requiring the courts to have regard to applicable law if raised by the maintenance debtor as a defence.

Project status: Completed

  • The report was published in October 2012.
  • When the MO(RE)A was enacted in 1975, it contained a provision, section 19(1), which repealed the MO(FE)A. However, that provision was not brought into force together with the rest of the Act. Through the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) (Commencement) Notification 2016 (S 607/2016), the Government decided to bring section 19(1) into force with effect from 1 January 2017, thus repealing the MO(FE)A.
  • The report was cited in Debbie Ong, “Financial Relief after Termination of Marriage” in International Issues in Family Law in Singapore (Singapore: Academy Publishing, 2015) at paragraph 6.86.

Areas of law

 Family law


Click on the image above to view the report

Last updated 11 June 2019


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