What are some valid reasons for divorce in Singapore?
There is only one ground of divorce in Singapore- the irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Valid reasons for divorce to support the ground of divorce in Singapore include:
2. Separation for a period of 3 years (with consent of both parties).
3. Separation for a period of 4 years.
Legal Requirements to File for Divorce in Singapore
Before we discuss the valid reasons for divorce, you will need to know that to get a divorce in Singapore, the following legal requirements need to be fulfilled.
1. You will need to be married for a minimum period of 3 years. In some cases where you have suffered exceptional hardship or there is exceptional depravity on the part of your spouse, you may be able to file for divorce within 3 years of marriage.
2. Either you or your spouse has to be a Singapore citizen or resided in Singapore for at least a period of 3 years immediately prior to the commencement of divorce proceedings.
If spouse A has committed adultery and spouse B finds it intolerable to continue living with spouse A, spouse B can file for divorce using the reason of spouse B’s adultery. Usually, spouse B would hire a private investigator to gain evidence of spouse A’s adultery as spouse A is unlikely to confess to the adultery.
For a divorce based on unreasonable behaviour in Singapore, spouse A has to prove that spouse B has behaved in such a way that spouse A cannot be reasonably expected to live with spouse B.
In divorce cases involving unreasonable behaviour, the following are some examples of unreasonable behaviour:
1. Refusal to communicate.
2. Constant verbal abuse.
3. Deprivation of sexual intimacy.
4. Returning home late persistently.
4. Refusal to engage in socializing activities.
5. Gambling habits.
6. Drug addiction.
There are many more examples of unreasonable behaviour.
If spouse B deserted spouse A for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately before filing the divorce, spouse A can file for divorce using the reason of desertion.
Spouse A needs to show that parties have been living separately and spouse B has the intention to desert spouse A. For instance, spouse A can show that spouse B does not have the intention to return.
Separation for a Period of 3 Years
Spouse A has to prove that parties have been living apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years and that spouse B consents to the divorce. In some cases, spouse A will exhibit parties’ deed of separation as evidence of parties’ separation. It should be noted that the separation should be by choice and not out of necessity (such as work/ study commitments).
If parties reconciled and lived together for a period of time in between the period of separation, and the period of reconciliation and living together does not exceed 6 months, parties can still rely on the fact of separation for a period of 3 years to file for divorce. However, the time they spent together after reconciliation does not count towards the period of separation.
Separation for a period of 4 Years
If parties have lived apart for a minimum period of 4 years, spouse B’s consent is not required.
Irreconcilable differences is not a valid reason for divorce in Singapore. To get a divorce in Singapore, you will have to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down based on one of the valid reasons for divorce in Singapore (i.e. adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion or separation).
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