When a marriage breaks down, dealing with divorce and separation can be a difficult and distressing time for everyone involved. On top of the emotional fallout, there may be considerations surrounding children, and the division of your assets (such as property & CPF).
Ordinarily, a married couple can only get a divorce in Singapore after they have been married for at least three years. However, under certain circumstances, such as where there has been violence committed against a spouse, a divorce may be granted even when the three-year period has not passed. Alternatively, reasons may exist where a marriage may be annulled, such as where there has been wilful non-consummation of the marriage.
The usual reasons for the Court granting a divorce due to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage are; the unreasonable behaviour of one of the parties, or when parties have separated for either three years by consent or four years without consent.
Singapore law on divorce features what is commonly known as a “no-fault” divorce; this means that generally, the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage will not be taken into consideration by the Court during the division of matrimonial assets or assessment of maintenance.
Our team of divorce lawyers focus on exploring all possible outcomes for resolving your situation, and we are committed to dealing with cases in a non-confrontational, and constructive manner. Our aim is to find an amicable agreement between all parties, with court proceedings being the last resort.
In order to commence civil proceedings for divorce in Singapore, one of the parties filing for divorce is required to fulfil the requirements as follows (sections 93 and 94 of the Women’s Charter):
If you are at all unsure of your eligibility please get in touch for a free, no obligation discussion.
In Singapore, divorce through civil proceedings involves 2 steps:
Step 1: Dissolution of Marriage
Step 2: Ancillary Matters (matters regarding custody of child, division of matrimonial properties and spousal maintenance)
At the end of the Step 1, if the court decides that the divorce is successful, the court will grant an Interim Judgment, which is an order to dissolve the marriage. The Interim Judgment is a temporary judgment and it is not a final judgment.
After the court has granted an interim judgment, the court will proceed to Step 2, which is to settle the ancillary matters.
Parties are required to wait for 3 months (from the date of Interim Judgment is granted) in order to apply for converting the Interim Judgment to become the Final Judgment.
The short answer is yes, in certain circumstances it is possible for foreigners to divorce in Singapore, but there is some caveats to consider. The Singapore courts will only grant a divorce where at least one party in the marriage has a strong connection to Singapore.
There is typically 2 methods of showing this connection:
There is some underlying detail behind each of these items, and its advisable to discuss with a legal professional to ascertain your legitimacy to apply for divorce in Singapore. Please get in touch for a free initial consultation and we can advise you on your situation.
If your divorce is likely to be uncontested, i.e., both parties have come to an agreement on any contentious issues the fees will be as follows:
If your divorce is contested, i.e., both parties are in disagreement on a number of critical areas then its possible that more significant legal effort is required. In our experience, a contested divorce will cost upwards of S$5,000, but due to the level of variables, it is difficult to say.
We recommend getting in contact for an initial free consultation to discuss your situation. From this discussion, we will be able to provide you with a clear route forward and the final price for our services. You can then make an informed decision on whether you wish to proceed with IRB Law or not.
It is compulsory for the party filing for divorce to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one or more of the reasons. These are:
Adultery: The plaintiff (which is the applicant for the divorce) finds it intolerable to live with the defendant (the other party) due to them having committed adultery. Adequate evidence is required to prove the defendant's act of adultery. The plaintiff may hire a private investigator to gather evidence. If the plaintiff could not provide adequate evidence, it is advisable for them to opt for another grounds for the divorce, unless the defendant is willing to confirm that they have committed adultery.
Unreasonable behaviour: The defendant has behaved in an unreasonable manner that the plaintiff finds it impossible to continue living with the defendant.
Desertion: The defendant deserted the plaintiff for a minimum of 2 years where the defendant shows no intention or sign of returning.
Separation: The parties have lived apart for at least 3 to 4 years and both parties have agreed to divorce.
If the divorce is uncontested, an interim judgment can be made in around 1 month. After this point there is a mandatory 3 month period before the judgment becomes final.
If your divorce is contested, it may take 12 months or more depending on the nature of the dispute.
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