You just got married and it isn’t working out – must you wait three years before ending it? No, you might not have to.
Under Singapore law, parties (who satisfy the jurisdiction requirement) have to wait three years from the date of marriage before they can commence a divorce. However, in the event that the reason why “it isn’t working out” is because of any of the reasons below, you and your spouse can get the marriage annulled at any time (even before 3 years and more so as soon as possible): –
- that the marriage has not been consummated owing to the incapacity of either party to consummate it;
- that the marriage has not been consummated owing to the wilful refusal of the defendant to consummate it;
- that either party to the marriage did not validly consent to it, whether in consequence of duress, mistake, mental disorder or otherwise;
- that at the time of the marriage either party, though capable of giving a valid consent, was suffering (whether continuously or intermittently) from mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2008 of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage;
- that at the time of the marriage the defendant was suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form;
- that at the time of the marriage the defendant was pregnant by some person other than the plaintiff
An annulment would be straightforward and expeditious where the other party agrees to the ground of annulment, therefore, it is best if both parties can agree to the annulment.
In the event that the other party contests the ground of annulment, the party who makes the application has to be ready to defend the application with proof. Evidence to prove each ground of annulment is different and your lawyers will be able to advise you on the evidence required.
From our experience, the most common annulment ground is usually when one party alleges that the other has wilfully refused to consummate the marriage despite his/her attempts at consummation.
Once a marriage has been annulled successfully (this includes a three-month period after the Court approves the annulment), it would be taken that it never existed, i.e. your status is single as opposed to divorcee after a divorce.
The whole annulment process, from the moment you engage solicitors, to getting an annulment is usually about 4-6 months.
Documents to File
There are various documents to file for an annulment and this includes: –
- Writ of Nullity
- Statement of claim for nullity
- Statement of particulars
- Affidavit of evidence in chief
- Acknowledgement of service
- Memorandum of appearance (defendant)
- Request for setting down action for trial
- Request for set down (parties’ attendance required)
- Draft consent order
In addition to these documents, parties also need to appear in open Court before a Judge to answer some questions before they are able to obtain an annulment.
The process may be challenging even if it is not contested due to the documents involved as well as attendance in Court and it may be best for you to engage a lawyer for this. You may wish to consider contacting us for further information on our annulment services.