The Complexity of Divorce
Divorce is a legal procedure to end a marriage as defined in the Family Law that is being practised in Singapore. Divorce is not so simple when viewed through the lens of reality. While most of the grounds for divorce are disheartening, most are reasonable enough to end the marriage. In the Singapore divorce process, matters such as child custody, division of matrimonial assets, and other concerns that seem to give weight to “separation” are settled via this process. Our family lawyers at Aspect Law Chambers LLC are very patient and understanding when it comes to giving legal assistance to our clients who want to file a divorce, whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce.
Discussing the Singapore Divorce Process
The first question to be answered is whether the Singapore Court has jurisdiction over the case before divorce proceedings can be started. Either of the parties must have a residence in Singapore (domicile) at the time divorce procedures are filed, or they must have been habitually residing here for at least three years prior to filing for divorce for the Singapore Courts to have jurisdiction to hear the case.
Stage 1 of the divorce procedure will start once the jurisdiction is established. The party seeking the divorce must first specify the grounds for the divorce. The only basis for divorce in Singapore is the marriage’s irretrievable dissolution. There are four legally accepted reasons that support the irretrievable dissolution of marriage that are discussed in this article.
When the irretrievable breakdown of marriage has been granted by the court, the divorce process will reach stage 2 which is about the ancillary matters. A divorce’s ancillary issues concern the upbringing, supervision, and custody of children, as well as their custody, support for the wife and/or kids, as well as the distribution of marital assets. In this stage, the court will collect and examine evidence to come up with a decision on the ancillary matters. When a final decision is reached, the court will rule over the divorce case.
You might occasionally hear about uncontested divorce or “simplified divorce.” In this case, both parties have consented to the divorce’s grounds and all of its ancillary issues. This can make the court proceedings faster and will save you from high divorce costs. You may want to consult a lawyer when opting for uncontested divorce so that both you and your partner can have equal and legal rights over your matrimonial assets and child custody.
Below are the grounds for divorce to prove the irretrievable breakdown of marriage:
- Adultery: When one party is proven to commit infidelity and the other party finds it unbearable to live under the same roof with the latter, the court will consider it an irretrievable breakdown of marriage. To establish the accusation for adultery, sufficient proof is needed to be presented in the court.
- Unreasonable behaviour: It may be considered a ground for divorce when one party behaves in such a way that makes it intolerable for the other party to continue living together.
- Desertion: Is when one party has abandoned the other for at least two years against the other party’s wishes and has shown no indication that he plans to return or support the deserted family.
- Separation: The parties have either consented to live apart for three years or have done so for at least four years.
Contested vs Uncontested Divorce
There are two types of divorce under the Singapore divorce process – contested and uncontested divorce. The path to court trials will vary as each has its own sets of procedures.. For instance, a contested divorce is a more complex matter to deal with and therefore will take a longer time to process. Reason being if one party contests the divorce, the grounds for divorce will be tried. There will then be a need to prove to the court that the divorce is indeed necessary. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce happens when both parties agree that the divorce shall proceed. In this case, the trial will proceed with dividing the matrimonial properties and discussing the child custody along with other court orders that must be abided by by both parties. Do note that even after the divorce stage is cleared, parties will have to move on to the ancillary matter stage.
Divorce Cost in Singapore
One of the most common concerns among those who are planning to file for divorce will be the cost. This decision comes with a cost and at times, the cost of divorce may even hinder you from filing the legal procedure. Getting a divorce in Singapore can cost a fortune. From application to post-judgement ordeals, combined with the emotional and psychological burden may deter couples to proceed further.
We understand this dilemma here at Aspect Law Chambers LLC. Thus, in order to compensate for the divorce cost, we ensure that you get what you pay for. Apart from providing you with competitive lawyers that will represent you in court and fight for your favour, we are offering packages that can make the divorce cost manageable for you.
Talk to us today for more information regarding the divorce process.
How common is divorce in Singapore?
According to the annual reports from the Ministry of Social and Family Development for the three consecutive years starting 2019, the rate of contested and uncontested divorce in Singapore have been high. More and more couples from varying economic statuses are applying for divorce and are succeeding in dissolving the marriage.
What is the commonality among couples getting divorced in Singapore?
Based on the tally from both the Courts and the Ministry of Social and Family Development, it shows that most couples undergoing the Singapore divorce process are those who have been married between 5-10 years. This is perhaps due to the fact that the couple must have been married for 3 years before a divorce is allowed.
What are the common reasons for divorce in Singapore?
It is kind of surprising that the most common reasons for divorce are not the ones covered in the grounds for divorce in Singapore. Based on the annual report for 2021, the most common reason for divorce these days is that women have more economic freedom and do not need to endure an unhealthy relationship. This reason is followed by financial disagreement and infidelity (which is the only one of the three that falls on the grounds for divorce).
What assistance can one get when considering a divorce?
We understand that undergoing the Singapore divorce process can be straining for one’s mental and psychological health. Thus, before deciding on filling out a form for your divorce application, it is always recommended to get an intervention such as family counselling or legal counselling. There are many government agencies and NGOs islandwide that are offering such services.
How does one get to apply for uncontested divorce?
Uncontested divorce in Singapore offers a lot of convenience should both parties agree that the marriage must be dissolved. For one, the process for uncontested divorce is shorter than the contested one. Additionally, uncontested divorce costs less in most cases. However, you and your partner must agree with the divorce for it to be uncontested. Learn more about the difference between contested and uncontested divorce.
What do you need to consider before getting a divorce?
Before even attempting to get a form for the divorce application, it is wise to think of the three main considerations for married couples namely, the grounds for divorce, children’s welfare and the wife’s maintenance. Below are the full details of each consideration:
- Is your reason for the divorce valid?
The validity of the divorce must be based on the grounds for divorce such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion and separation. You must also be married for at least three years to apply for a divorce.
- What will happen to the children?
Some of the considerations for the children’s welfare include custody (who will make the decisions for them while they are of minor age), care and control (who will take care of them on daily basis), maintenance and access.
- Are you willing to support your wife after the divorce?
Whether the wife will get financial support from her husband after the divorce will be based on the court decision. Thus, you will need the support of a good divorce lawyer to help you attain the desirable result.
Can I file divorce for any kind of marriage in the Singapore court?
Couples who are married through the Registry of Marriage in Singapore are eligible to apply and undergo the Singapore divorce process. However, if you are married under the Muslim Law, you must apply your case to the Syariah Court for it to be processed and judged. Learn more about the coverage and limitations of the Singapore divorce process today.
Divorce Amidst the Global Pandemic
Although the data still shows a high percentage of divorce, in the year 2020 when the peak of the global pandemic started, the Ministry of Social and Family Development has reported a lower rate of divorce compared to the previous year. The ministry is eyeing the Covid-19 pandemic and the limits in the government agency’s mobility during the time as the reason behind the numbers. Expenses for health and daily living during the pandemic may also be a reason, couples were opting to postpone the decision due to the divorce cost.