SINGAPORE – It will be more convenient and affordable for court users to file various family court applications, such as that for deputyship powers and for child maintenance, through an electronic case management system.

For example, it will be easier, cheaper and faster to apply for deputyship powers under the Mental Capacity Act Module under the integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS).

The Family Justice Courts’ (FJC) Presiding Judge Debbie Ong announced its launch at the Family Justice Practice Forum 2019 on Wednesday morning (Oct 2).

Under the Mental Capacity Act, a deputy is a court-appointed individual, often a family member, who is granted specific powers to make decisions for the welfare of the person who lacks mental capacity.

The new system allows for straightforward and uncontested deputyship applications to be filed using a simplified track.

Under this simplified track, an applicant can go to the iFAMS portal from the convenience of their home to apply for certain deputyship powers, such as to withdraw money from the bank account of the person who has lost mental capacity to pay for his expenses.

It cost $40 to file an application under iFAMS.

Before this iFAMS module, applicants would have to travel to a CrimsonLogic Service Bureau, which is located at the Supreme Court Building and at Chinatown Point, to file the application.

And it cost between $150 to $200 to file an application for a similar case under the old system.

Besides, the processing time is now faster. With the iFAMS system, it takes within three weeks from the time an application is filed to when an order is issued, down from between two to three months under the old system.

Those going through a divorce will also find it easier to file certain applications pertaining to their divorce.

For example, those who defaulted on their maintenance payments and were ordered to pay up have to bring their proof of payment to court.

But under the iFAMS Remote Show Payment module, they can take a picture of their proof of payment, such as a bank transfer, and submit it through the portal.

This new iFAMS module will be piloted from this month for six months for some cases, such as those who cannot attend court as they are travelling overseas for work.

Then, there is the iFAMS Offer to Resolve Module where parties can make fresh applications for maintenance or to vary the maintenance sums in some cases.

Under this module, a spouse can apply for maintenance, say for their child’s upbringing, with the sum requested. The former spouse can accept the sum requested for or make a counter-offer, for example.

Couples can still do this negotiation through their lawyers, but the new online module, which is in its pilot phase, offers them the convenience of making these applications themselves and saving the legal fees.