Divorce in Singapore
Divorce should only be the last resort, after all alternatives and options for reconciliation have been explored! This is not only about you! The divorce procedures could be a very unpleasant and traumatic affair, especially if kids are involved.
Getting A Divorce
The requirements to filing a writ for divorce are:
- Have been married for at least 3 years and marriage has irretrievably broken down
- If marriage is less than 3 years, then must prove suffered exceptional hardship or spouse has been unexceptionally unreasonable and cruel
- You or your spouse must be domiciled (treated Singapore as permanent abode) at commencement of divorce proceedings. Alternatively, either of you must be resided in Singapore for 3 years immediately before commencement of divorce proceedings.
What Is Irretrievable Breakdown?
Marriage has broken down irretrievably if any of the following is factually proven:
- Unreasonable behaviour and can’t reasonably be expected to live with defendant;
- Defendant has left plaintiff for a continuous period of 2 years without any intention of returning;
- Have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years and defendant have no objections to a divorce; or
- Have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 4 years and there is no need for consent from defendant.
When Seeking A Divorce
It’s better to consult a lawyer for advice and assistance so as to better protect your interests and rights. In a divorce proceeding, the parties involved may apply for maintenance, custody, care and control of children and access and other ancillary matters.
Hearing Of The Divorce
If the divorce is not contested, then both parties will appear in Court on appointed and the plaintiff will be required to confirm the contents of the Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars.
If the divorce is contested, both parties will appear in Court to give evidence to support claims and such proceeding could be lengthy and may be unpleasant.
The judge will grant an Interim Judgement (divorce) if satisfied that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Interim Judgment will usually be made final after all questions relating to relating to custody and/or care and control/access, maintenance and other ancillary matters have been settled.
Generally, an Interim Judgment will only be made final (commonly known as ‘Final Judgement’), 3 months from date of Interim Judgment. Only when Final Judgment is issued, then and only then can both parties marry again.
Rather than going through the divorce procedures, perhaps, could consider the following:
- Judicial Separation: no wish to commence divorce proceeding but wish to live apart permanently. Under this option, remarry is not allowed as marriage is not dissolved.
- Nullity: annul marriage in some circumstances like, marriage has not been consummated, spouse already married at time of marriage, spouse suffering from venereal disease and you are not aware and others.
- Deed of Separation: separate for a period of time before deciding on a divorce.
Divorce should only be taken as the last resort, only if all attempts on reconciliation fail. Divorce could be a lengthy and unpleasant affair if the defendant is contesting against the divorce. Also, the divorce (just like a marriage) does not only involve 2 persons, there are many other persons involved. However, if divorce is the only solution or the only guarantee for your safety, then please seek professional advice and assistance from a qualified divorce lawyer and move on.