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Ground of Divorce in Singapore

If you have made up your mind on the divorce, you will need to decide on the ground of divorce in Singapore.

“Irreconcilable differences” is not a ground of divorce in Singapore. The only ground of divorce in Singapore is “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” as per Section 95 of the Women’s Charter. Irretrievable breakdown of marriage in Singapore must be supported by one of the following facts.


Separation for 3 Years and Both Parties Consent to the Divorce

This is the closest to what we call a no-fault divorce in Singapore. Separation means living apart, with the intention of living separate lives. For instance, if one spouse is overseas for work engagement for a period of 3 years but parties still have the intention to live together like a married couple, this period of 3 years does not count towards the period of separation. For couples going through separation, their marriage has fallen apart and they live separate lives with minimal interference from each other. Separated couples may continue to live under the same roof, but usually in separate bedrooms. Such couples do not have sexual intimacy. They run separate households under the same roof.


Separation for 4 Years

Another example of a no-fault divorce in Singapore is a divorce based on separation for 4 years. The difference between “separation for 4 years” and “separation for 3 years” lies in the fact that you do not need your spouse’s consent for the divorce if you have been separated for more than 4 years. You can proceed with the divorce even if your spouse disagrees.


Unreasonable Behaviour

If you have not been separated for a sufficient period of time, a no-fault divorce in Singapore will not be applicable. Many couples use the fact of unreasonable behaviour to file for divorce in Singapore. While we are unable to provide a full and complete list of unreasonable behaviour for divorce in Singapore, the following list of unreasonable behaviour may provide some guidance:

1. Physical violence.

2. Verbal abuse.

3. Lack of love.

4. Lack of respect.

5. Returning home late.

6. Returning home drunk.

7. Neglect of children.

8. Lack of financial and/ or non-financial contributions towards the family.

9. Improper association with a third party.

10. Neglect/ refusal to communicate.

11. Refusal to engage in intimacy.

You may also be curious about how to prove unreasonable behaviour in divorce proceedings. You may be glad to know that there is no need to prove unreasonable behaviour in uncontested divorce proceedings. In other words, there is no need to provide evidence to the Court of one party’s unreasonable behaviour provided that both parties have an agreement on the divorce.



In some cases, one party may proceed for divorce based on the adultery of the other party. This means that the party at fault is guilty of having had sexual intercourse with a third party. The third party is named as a “co-defendant”. Adultery is not punishable under Singapore law as a criminal offence. It is a reason used to support the sole ground of divorce in Singapore- irretrievable breakdown of marriage.



If your spouse has deserted you for a minimum period of 2 years, you can rely on his/ her desertion as a fact to support the ground of divorce in Singapore.


Legal Requirements for Divorce in Singapore

Even if your marriage has “irretrievably broken down”, you will still need to fulfill the legal requirements for divorce in Singapore. Either you or your spouse has to be a Singapore citizen/ lived in Singapore for at least 3 years immediately before the filing of the divorce. You have to be married for a minimum period of 3 years.

Assuming that you fulfill the legal requirements for divorce in Singapore, you can proceed to file for divorce in Singapore.


For more information on ground of divorce in Singapore, contact us today at +6598330314 (whatsapp).

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