Preparing for a Divorce in Singapore
The issue of divorce would seem to require no introduction. Not all relationships can stand the test of time. For better or worse, divorce is a very common event in this day and age. A total of 7,522 couples in Singapore ended their marriage in 2015, an increase of 2.9 percent from the previous year, according to an annual report on marriage and divorce statistics.
Whether you have experienced a divorce directly or knew someone who had gone through the ordeals of a divorce, it can become a painful and challenging process for those involved.
When is the Right Time to Contemplate for a Divorce?
Divorce is both an emotional journey and a legal process. It is best to keep the two aspects of divorce separate whenever possible.
From a legal perspective, a divorce is the dissolution of marriage by a Court and ensuring that all ancillary matters such as child maintenance or property are. The rational legal processes of a divorce contrast greatly with the chaotic and emotional aspects that come along with a divorce.
However, if you find yourself in such a situation where your marriage has gone south, you would probably be asking to yourself, what would I need to know to be prepared for a divorce?
Is Your Marriage a Civil Marriage or Syariah Marriage?
Firstly, before preparing any documents, you will need to know that there is a difference in how a couple wed under civil marriage proceeds with a divorce, as opposed to a Muslim couple married under Syariah laws. Under section 35 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), the Syariah Court in Singapore has the jurisdiction to hear and determine cases that concern marriage, divorce, and other related matters. This means that any divorce application for a Muslim marriage will be heard the Syariah Court. Muslim law will be applied to the divorce cases heard by the Syariah Court.
A divorce application for a civil marriage, on the other hand, will be heard in the Family Court, which is part of the State Courts. The Women’s Charter governs the law on divorce for civil marriages in Singapore. Regardless, aside from the procedures of the Court, the type of documents that you will be required to prepare are relatively the same.
What Must You Prepare Before You Commence a Divorce?
Preparing all the necessary documents before the commencement of the divorce is critical. Of course, documents for personal particulars such as your identity card, child’s original birth certificates (if any) and marriage certificate will be required to verify your identity and your relations with your spouse and child.
You should also prepare to disclose any joint marital assets and liabilities between you and your spouse, financial account records or income tax returns. Ideally, these documents should demonstrate that you have significantly contributed financially during the marriage as compared to your spouse. These documents are important as they provide proof to the Court when deciding how to split the matrimonial assets and ancillary matters. Marital assets between you and your spouse would include the family car, savings, cash balance in the couple’s Central Provident Fund (CPF), businesses and jewellery, etc.
You will also be required to send out Standard Queries Forms to the Housing Development Board (HDB) and the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board. These forms will be part of your Matrimonial Property Plan, which will be documented together with your divorce papers. Without them, you will be unable to file for a divorce.
It would be good to for both you and your spouse to prepare and agree upon a proposed property payment plan (payment of outstanding loans and its division based on contributions to purchase price) and a proposed parenting plan (will involve matters with regards to custody, care and control of children if you have children below 21 years of age) as it will help accelerate the legal processes and minimize any disputes that could arise later on.
Also, you will need to prepare your reasoning to show that your marriage has broken down. To apply for a divorce in Singapore, you will need to prove to the Court that your marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down.’ This could be due to your spouse committing adultery, domestic violence, suffering a drug addiction or constant verbal abuse on you to name a few. You can find out more on the requirements to apply for a divorce in Singapore here (add a previous article link add links).
Why is it Important to Have a Good Lawyer
Unless you have divorced a numerous amount of times, you should seek out advice on how to handle your divorce. There are some crucial aspects of a divorce that you might not have considered, or are even aware of. A good divorce lawyer will be able to assist you in this. Preparing documents such as the Writ of Divorce, Statement of Claim or a Statement of Particulars at times will require the input of an experienced lawyer so that your divorce proceeds without any further hassle.
When preparing the paperwork, it is important that you meet up with the lawyer to obtain an estimate of how much your divorce hearing might cost you and ascertain the likely outcome of the hearing. Without an expert’s advice guiding you, your spouse might be the one who walks over you and leave you suffering with the short end of the stick.
How we can help you
Filing for a divorce and divorce procedures in Singapore are delicate issues and may be too technical for you to fully understand alone. We understand that going through such an event in your life is difficult and emotional. Worry not, at I.R.B. Law; we have experienced divorce lawyers who are well versed in family law proceedings in Singapore. We will be able to guide you through the process and explain to you each stage of your divorce or your separation.
Do contact us to receive advice on how your divorce proceedings can be best handled so that you can focus on getting back up on your feet. Our first consultation is usually free as we wish to focus on you and not on your wallet. Do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 6298 2537 to and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced lawyers today.
The information contained in this article is provided for general information only and may not reflect current status about applicable law, cases, settlements or judgements. Nothing contained on this website or article is intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be construed as I.R.B Law LLP agreeing to provide legal services to you. You acknowledge and agree that your use of this website shall not create a lawyer-client relationship with I.R.B Law LLP.