Is Annulment the same as Divorce?
No, annulment is not the same as divorce. A divorce dissolves a marriage without denying that the marriage took place. Parties who are successfully divorced are known as “divorcees”. There is only one ground for divorce which is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage which can be proven through the grounds of adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion, or separation. On the other hand, annulment dissolves a marriage denying its entire existence. An annulment means that the couple was never married in the first place and declares that the marriage was null and void. The marital status of the parties after a successful annulment returns to “single”. One has to prove that the marriage was void or voidable to annul a marriage.
Do I have to be Singaporean to file for an Annulment Proceeding?
One does not need to be a Singaporean for the annulment of a void or voidable marriage. However, the married couple should be living in Singapore at the time of commencement of the annulment proceedings.
What is the Deadline to Apply for an Annulment?
For marriages that can be categorized as Void, there is no deadline to apply for an annulment.
For marriages that can be categorized as Voidable, the deadline to apply is within three years from the date of marriage. However, if the allegations are on the grounds that the marriage is unconsummated due to the inability of either party or willful refusal, then there is no deadline to apply for an annulment.
How much Time does the Entire Process Take?
If the other party does not challenge the claims for annulment, then the process would take 4 to 6 months for the Certificate of Nullity to be granted. The Applicant will be required to appear before the Court once. However, if the other party contests the claims for annulment, the process would take longer to reach a conclusion depending on the complexity of the case.
What Happens to the Child(ren) after Annulment?
For Voidable Marriages – A child(ren) born out of Voidable marriages which are annulled is a legitimate child(ren).
For Void Marriages – A child(ren) born out of Void Marriages which are annulled is a legitimate child(ren) if, at the time of solemnization of the marriage, the parties believed that their marriage was valid.
What happens to your HDB flat Post-Annulment?
HDB rules stipulate that the flat must be surrendered to HDB if the buyers of the flats fail to satisfy at least 5 years of stay before disposing of the flat. Thus, if the Writ of Nullity is filed within the first 3 years of marriage, it is probable that the HDB flat has to be surrendered.
What to do after Unsuccessful Annulment of Marriage?
In case of marriage for less than 3 years, one can apply for permission to file for divorce early by proving exceptional hardship or depravity. Parties can also sign a Deed of Separation to live apart from each other until 3 years of the marriage have passed and can then file for divorce.
What is a Void Marriage?
1) Marriages between two Muslims registered or solemnized under the Women’s Charter.
2) Marriages between people of the same gender unless one of them has undergone a sex reassignment procedure.
3) Marriages between certain types of relatives.
4) Marriages where either party is underaged.
5) Marriages that are not properly solemnized.
6) Marriages to people who are already legally married to another under any custom, law, religion, or usage.
What is a Voidable Marriage?
1) Due to the incapability of either party, the marriage has not been consummated.
2) Due to the willful refusal of either party, the marriage has not been consummated.
3) Due to duress, mistake, mental disorder, or any other reason, either party did not validly consent to the marriage.
4) While the marriage took place with valid consent, either party was suffering from a mental disorder to an extent that they were unfit for marriage.
5) Either party was suffering from a transmissible sexually-transmitted disease at the time of the marriage.
6) At the time of marriage, the wife was already pregnant by another man.
What do you need to do for the Annulment of Marriage?
1) Filing a Writ of Nullity – Either of the parties can file a Writ of Nullity to commence the annulment proceedings.
2) Submitting other Documents – Either party will need to submit a few more documents which are:
(a) Statement of Claim – Indicating the alleged grounds for annulment.
(b) Statement of Particulars – Backing your claims with the facts to prove them.
(c) Proposed/Agreed Parenting Plan – Stating the proposed or agreed arrangements for your child(ren).
(d) Proposed/Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan – Stating the proposed or agreed arrangements concerning HDB Flats.
3) Interim Judgment – After submitting all the required documents the Court may grant an interim judgment.
4) Settling Ancillary Matters – After the Court grants an interim judgment, the next step is to settle ancillary matters i.e, division of matrimonial assets, custody of the child(ren), and quantum of maintenance.
5) Judgment of Nullity – After the ancillary matters have been settled, the Court may grant the final Judgment of Nullity stating that the marriage is annulled successfully.
Will the Court grant Annulment after just One Instance of Consummation?
Willful non-consummation means that the other party stubbornly and intentionally refused to allow sexual intercourse (particularly penetrative sex) without any valid reasons. Thus, the Court will not grant an annulment if there was even one instance of consummation.
Required Evidence for Annulment?
The evidence required for annulment depends on whether the ground for annulment is categorized as Void or Voidable. One will have to produce evidence supporting their claims. For example, if the marriage is Voidable on the ground that either party is incapable of consummating the marriage, a medical report of such must be provided as evidence before the Court.