Living separate lives does not necessarily mean parties are physically living in separate locations. Since parties are likely to still have some overlap in their lives (for example because of children), a deed of separation is a useful agreement that is entered into between a husband and wife to set out and manage each party’s rights and obligations in relation to the marriage, such as:
A deed of separation is not a Court document, and cannot be filed in Court. Signing a deed of separation does not mean that parties will be “automatically divorced” in the future either. There are a number of practical reasons why a couple may wish to have a deed of separation:
(a) Parties have decided to divorce but they have not been married for at least 3 years
Singapore law prescribes that generally, a couple has to be married for a period of at least 3 years before they can get a divorce. Sometimes people do not wish to wait that long before going on with their separate lives.
(b) Parties have decided to divorce but they do not wish to do so yet
Even in cases where the marriage has been for more than 3 years, parties may decide to stay married legally because of the children or HDB property (you may only sell in the open market after the minimum occupation period).
(c) You may not have decided to divorce, but wish to live apart for a period of time
A party is still considering divorce but wants to have evidence that the period of separation has commenced.
(d) To establish proof that parties were actually separated
Should a party decide to get a divorce, a deed of separation will serve as documentary proof that those parties have in fact separated from a specified date.
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