If you are on this page, you may be wondering about how to file for divorce in Singapore.
The divorce procedure in Singapore is broken down into 2 stages. In stage 1, the Court will determine if the marriage has irretrievably broken down. If it has, the Court will dissolve the marriage. In stage 2, the Court will decide on the ancillary issues such as division of matrimonial assets, quantum of maintenance and children’s custody. There could be slight variation to the divorce procedure in Singapore.
1. In simplified, uncontested divorces in Singapore, the parties’ agreement to the divorce and ancillary issues are filed together at the same time.
In this article, the focus is on stage 1.
Prior to filing for divorce, you will have to satisfy the legal requirements of divorce in Singapore. The conditions to be met are:
1. At least 1 party has to be a Singapore citizen/ or resident in Singapore for a period of at least 3 years immediately prior to the filing of divorce in Singapore.
2. Parties must have been married for at least 3 years.
3. The marriage must have irretrievably broken down.
To demonstrate the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, you must rely on one of the following reasons:
1. Adultery of your spouse. If your spouse does not confess to the adultery, you will have to gather evidence such as text messages and video evidence to prove the adultery of your spouse. It may be helpful to engage a private investigator to gather such evidence.
2. Unreasonable behaviour of your spouse. There is no complete list of unreasonable behaviour for divorce in Singapore. However, some examples of unreasonable behaviour include:
a. Family violence.
b. Verbal abuse.
c. Negative habits such as gambling and alcoholism.
d. Lack of love and concern.
e. Improper association with a third party.
3. Separation for 3 years (with consent from both parties to divorce) and separation for 4 years. A deed of separation in Singapore will be very helpful in proving separation.
4. Desertion by your spouse. If your spouse has abandoned you (despite you wanting to continue with the marriage), desertion is valid cause for divorce in Singapore.
Documents to Prepare
To kick off the divorce procedure in Singapore, you will need to do the following:
1. Attend the mandatory parenting programme if you have at least 1 child under the age of 21 and your divorce is contested. After completion of the 2-hour consultation session, you will be issued with a certificate of completion which makes you eligible to file for contested divorce in Singapore. The objective of the mandatory parenting programme is not to dissuade you from filing the divorce, but rather, it serves to prepare you for co-parenting post-divorce.
3. Extraction information on your CPF contributions towards the purchase of your HDB flat via the CPF’s website.
Your divorce lawyer will need to prepare the following documents:
1. Writ of divorce. This document is used to start the divorce procedure in Singapore.
2. Statement of Claim. This document will provide the personal particulars of the parties and the children. It will also indicate your claims on the divorce and the ancillary issues.
3. Statement of Particulars. This document provides the details on the breakdown of the marriage.
4. Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan (for those with a HDB flat). This document will provide the particulars of the matrimonial HDB flat and the proposed arrangements on the HDB flat.
5. Proposed Parenting Plan (for those with children under the age of 21). This document will provide the current parenting arrangements and proposed parenting arrangements post-divorce.
The divorce papers will be served on your spouse personally or by substituted service (e.g. by registered post or email). In the event that your spouse cannot be found, you may have to make an application for substituted service (by registered post, email, newspaper advertisement).
Following service of the divorce documents, your spouse will enter appearance in Court indicating his/ her decision to contest/ not contest the proceedings. Shortly after this, a request can be made for parties to attend mediation to attempt to resolve the matters amicably, should both parties consent to attend mediation.
Otherwise, the matter will proceed to trial and the Family Justice Courts will make a determination on whether the marriage has indeed irretrievably broken down.
If you have further questions on the divorce procedure in Singapore, you may wish to contact us at +6598330314 (whatsapp) for more information.
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