What you NEED to know about Divorce & Annulment in Singapore

What you NEED to know about Divorce & Annulment in Singapore

Sometimes when your marriage becomes too difficult and the person you once fell in love with is now the source of your heartaches. You have tried counselling and trying to talk matters out, but all those attempts can’t seem to save your marriage. You realise that your marriage may be on the rocks, and you’re thinking of a way out of it.


In Singapore, there are two ways in which one can legally end a marriage – annulment and divorce. There are however several differences between the two.

Divorce in Singapore

A Divorce in Singapore is the ending of a valid marriage between a man and a woman where both parties return to single status with the ability to remarry. In Singapore, there is only one ground for Courts to grant a divorce and that is the marriage must have broken down irretrievably. The breakdown of marriage means that your marriage must be in a position where it can no longer be saved.

Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage in Singapore

Irretrievable breakdown of marriage has to be proven, and there are five (5) ways to do this. They are:


1. Adultery: If your spouse has committed adultery and that you find it intolerable to live with him or her any longer, you can file for a divorce against them. Veritable evidence such as text messages or photos is required to prove your spouse’s adulterous behaviour.

2. Unreasonable Behaviour: Unreasonable behaviour in a Court of Law can be held to include any act, active or passive, or failure to act, of your spouse. If your spouse has behaved in such a way that you find it unreasonable to live with them, you can file for a divorce. Some examples of unreasonable behaviour include domestic violence, compulsive gambling habits, drug addiction or constant verbal abuse by your spouse.

3. Desertion: You will need to prove that your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least two (2) years immediately before the start of your divorce proceedings and that he or she has clearly stated that they intended to desert you.

4. Separation for 3 Years: Where both parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least three (3) years, with the consent of both parties.

5. Separation for 4 Years: Where both parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least four (4) years immediately preceding the start of the divorce proceedings. In this case, consent by the other party is not necessary.

Annulment in Singapore

An annulment, on the other hand, is a legal procedure which cancels a marriage between a man and a woman. Annulling a marriage will be as though the marriage had never existed nor was it valid. Some of the grounds that people will claim for an annulment are as such:


• Your spouse was married to another person before the current marriage
• Refusal to consummate the marriage duties
• Failure consummating the duties owing to incapacity
• Mental ailment that makes one party not to fit for marriage
• The woman is pregnant with another man’s child
• Your spouse had an STI before the marriage took place


If you were aware of any of these ground before the marriage but still pursued the marriage, you cannot use these reasons stated above as grounds for annulment.

What is the Difference?

While both (Divorce and Annulment) aims to end a marriage, divorce is the termination of a marriage whereas an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was not valid from the beginning. The result of a divorce changes your legal status from married to divorcee, whereas in the annulment of the marriage from married to spinster/bachelor.


Also. Divorce in Singapore requires you to have been married for a minimum of 3 years before you can file for one. So, if your marriage has not passed the 3-year mark, you may want to consider filing for an annulment instead.

How Can We Help You

Filing for a divorce or an annulment 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 and every stage of your divorce or your separation.


Contact us today to receive advice on how your divorce proceedings can be 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 hello@irblaw.com.sg or call us at 6298 2537 to 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 in relation to 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.