Areas of Practice
Divorce Law in Singapore
Leading Family Law Firm in Singapore
Thinking about getting a divorce in Singapore?
Divorce is difficult, but finding the right divorce lawyer for you doesn’t have to be.
At I.R.B Law, we understand that getting a divorce in Singapore can be complicated and emotionally draining. Having an experienced family lawyer can help to minimise the emotional stress to you and your family during your divorce.
That is why our team of experienced, dedicated divorce lawyers is ready to assist you. Our extensive experience as Singapore’s leading family law firm in all aspects of family and matrimonial law means that whatever your circumstances, we are fully equipped to provide you with expert legal advice on all matters relating to your divorce.
We specialise in every aspect of family and matrimonial law, including
- Prenuptial agreements
- Deed of Separation
- Personal Protection Orders
Whether you are looking for a civil or Muslim divorce, we are ready to assist you to obtain the best possible outcome. From finances and division of assets to custody of your children, our caring and professional divorce lawyers provide the expertise and personal attention that you deserve, so that you can make an informed decision every step of the way.
experienced litigators today
Our team of dedicated divorce lawyers is here to ensure that your divorce procedure is handled efficiently and fairly.
Experience in Family Law
Specialists in Divorces
Outstanding track record of Success
Personalised Care and Attention
+ What do I have to prove before I can get a divorce in Singapore?
Even if you and your spouse agree to divorce, you must meet the following legal requirements before the Court will consider your petition for divorce.
- You and your spouse must have been married for three years.
- Either you or your spouse must have resided in Singapore continuously for three years before the petition is filed.
- Your marriage must have “irretrievably broken down.”
- Your marriage must have been valid under Singapore law.
The Court will only approve a divorce application by couples who have been married for less than three years in very exceptional cases involving extreme hardship.
The Court will only accept that your marriage has irretrievably broken down if you can provide evidence to prove that at least one of the following requirements is met:
- Adultery. Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with him or her. You cannot petition for divorce based on your own adultery.
- Unreasonable behaviour. Your spouse has behaved so unreasonably that you cannot be reasonably expected to live with him or her.
- Desertion. Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of two years with no intention of returning
- Separation for three years with consent. You and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of three years AND both parties agree to the divorce. This usually means that either you or your spouse has left your marital home, though under certain circumstances, a couple living in the same home may still be considered to be “living apart.” If you and your spouse resume living together for six months or more, you may not be considered to have separated.
- Separation for four years. You and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of four years. In this case, you do not need your spouse’s consent to the divorce.
If you wish to proceed with a divorce and meet at least one of these requirements, or if you are unsure of the grounds you can claim, our divorce lawyers are ready to advise you.
+ How do I file for divorce?
If you are considering divorce, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a divorce lawyer, who will be able to advise you on the divorce procedure in Singapore, as well as your eligibility and requirements. Our divorce lawyers will then prepare all of the necessary documents for you.
There are two stages to the process of filing for divorce in Singapore. Firstly, the Court must determine whether there are grounds for divorce. Secondly, the Court issues a decision on ancillary matters, such as custody, care, and control of children; maintenance payments; and division of matrimonial assets (the couple’s shared property).
Once the Court has dealt with these ancillary matters, or after three months, you can apply for a Final Judgement. You can only remarry once you have obtained a Final Judgement.
+ What is the difference between uncontested and contested divorce?
An uncontested divorce refers to a situation where the couple has decided to divorce and both spouses agree on all of the issues relevant to the divorce. Uncontested marriages are more straightforward and less stressful, as the spouses agree to separate amicably, and the proceedings often can be conducted in the privacy of the Judge’s chambers.
Unfortunately, the breaking down of a marriage is often so complete that the couple cannot reach an amicable agreement as to how to separate from each other and divide their assets. This disagreement may lead to a contested marriage, where one spouse decides to contest the divorce by filing a defence claim. In cases like this, the divorce must go to open court, and the proceedings can last for several days.
+ What is an annulment?
An annulment is a legal procedure which cancels a marriage between a man and a woman. Annulment of 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 for the marriage, you cannot use these reasons stated above as grounds for annulment.
+ How do I contest a divorce in Singapore?
If you wish to contest a divorce in Singapore, you will need to file a Memorandum of Appearance and Divorce and if necessary, a Counterclaim. These documents will need to be sent to the Court and to your spouse’s legal team. Your lawyer can assist you in preparing these documents.
+ Are there any other requirements?
If you have a child under the age of 21, you and your spouse will need to attend mediation and/or counselling at the Family Justice Courts. These sessions are provided free of charge. You and your spouse do not need to come to an agreement on financial issues during mediation. However, you might find it helpful to have your divorce lawyer present so that he or she can advise you on whether a particular proposal by your spouse is reasonable.
+ Is the divorce procedure different for Muslim marriages?
Yes. Muslim divorce in Singapore is managed by the Syariah Court and follows Islamic custom. Please see our page on Muslim divorce in Singapore for more information.
What we can do to help
Safeguard your finances
One of the biggest concerns in a divorce is to safeguard your financial contributions or entitlements. It is a legitimate concern to protecting the future financial interests of both you and your children, and prevent your spouse from obtaining an unfair claim of maintenance. Regardless if your case is a divorce or an annulment, we will strive to ensure that you receive the outcome that you deserve. We know how harmful an inequitable financial settlement can be. That is why we will always defend your interests to negotiate a fair settlement, so that you do not need to worry about losing what you have worked hard to gain.
A Fair Division of Assets
Married couples naturally acquire joint assets like houses, automobiles, and stocks. These assets will generally have to be divided between both parties following a divorce. If an asset has been acquired before marriage, it will not be regarded a joint asset unless it has been regularly used and enjoyed by both parties and/or the children during the period of marriage, or it has been significantly improved upon by either one of or both parties during the course of the marriage.
We know that in stressful situations like divorce, tensions run high. This is why we will fight for you to ensure that you do make the mistake of settling for less because you deserve to keep what is rightfully yours. Whether you have been the homemaker caring for your children and the household, or the sole breadwinner working hard for the family, we will ensure that you receive due recognition for the roles you have played throughout the marriage. Our lawyers will guide you with expert advice so that you can protect your assets and preserve what you have earned through the course of the marriage.
Shield your children
At I.R.B. Law, we understand that conflict between parents can be stressful and emotionally damaging for children. That is why we work hard to ensure that divorce proceedings do not result in a traumatic experience for your child. In particular, we fight to make sure that you get full access to your child. There are four different types of custody arrangements under Singapore law. In deciding between these options, the Court applies a welfare principle to make decisions that are in the best interests of the child or children.
- Split custody – custody of one child is granted to one parent, while custody of the other child is granted to the other parent.
- Sole custody – one parent is granted complete custody of child and becomes responsible for important decisions concerning the child. This option is usually employed when the relationship between the parents has broken down so severely that their lack of cooperation between would have a negative impact on the child’s wellbeing. Alternatively, it may be employed when one of the parents is unfit or unwilling to care for the child.
- Joint custody – both parents are responsible for important decisions concerning the child. This option requires that the parents are able to cooperate and reach decisions amicably.
- Hybrid custody – one parent is granted custody over the child but must consult the other parent on matters relating to the child’s wellbeing.
Your child’s welfare is our most important consideration. Our Singapore divorce lawyers are committed to protecting your child’s interests both during and after the proceedings by ensuring that they are properly cared for through a reasonable divorce maintenance agreement and with visitation schedules. We will make certain that your child is protected and continues living in a safe environment. Our expert divorce lawyers will guide you at every step through the divorce proceedings and make certain that the negative impact on you and your family is minimized.
Both parents are obligated to provide for divorce maintenance of their child, regardless of whether the child is residing with you. If you are unsure about whether you could claim divorce maintenance – for yourself or your child – our dedicated divorce lawyers can provide you with comprehensive advice so that you know which rights you are entitled to.
Often, where the breakdown of a marriage is imminent, or when divorce proceedings are ongoing, parties make the mistake of not paying adequate divorce maintenance, or not paying divorce maintenance at all to the spouse or the children. Some don’t even realise that they can claim any divorce maintenance during this period, even though they have the right to do so. Our lawyers will provide you with comprehensive advice and information on your rights as a spouse and as a parent.
At IRB Law, we believe that violence should never be tolerated, least of all within a marriage. Domestic violence refers to the physical or psychological abuse of one’s spouse or family and is never acceptable. If you, or a member of your family, are a victim of violence, our lawyers are ready to assist you by applying for a Personal Protection Order (PPO). This is a court order which restrains an aggressor from using violence against a family member. If the aggressor breaches this order, he or she will be guilty of an offence punishable with up to $2000 in fines or up to six months in prison, with higher penalties for repeat offences.
On the other hand, we also understand the injustice of being wrongly accused of inflicting violence. Because we firmly believe in justice and fairness for all, we provide services to help defend you when a PPO has been wrongfully filed against you. Domestic violence can have a traumatic and lasting impact on you and your family. Let our experienced lawyers guide you through protecting yourself and your family.
I.R.B. Law is recognised as a team of leading Singapore divorce lawyers with a track record of success in resolving matrimonial disputes. Our lawyers have over a century of a combined experience as litigators and are ready to assist you with your matrimonial dispute.
We firmly believe that everyone should be entitled to a second chance and be allowed the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and live life anew. Should you be in a position where you may need our assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.