If you’ve never been through a divorce in Singapore before, you might get most of your ideas about how the divorce works from friends, family members, or movies or novels. But the reality of divorce can be quite different from the stories you’ve heard. Here are three divorce myths that many people believe, but aren’t true.
Myth #1: Divorce is always hostile
Most novels or movies involving divorce inevitably include a dramatic courtroom scene or
extreme levels of nastiness between the couple. This perception of divorce can lead many people to fear initiating proceedings. But the truth is that although divorce is an emotional journey, it does not have to be high conflict.
Many couples opt for an uncontested divorce in Singapore and decide to work together to end the marriage as amicably as possible. A Singapore divorce lawyer trained in mediation or collaborative divorce can help these couples work through any problematic issues such as spousal and child maintenance, child custody, and the division of matrimonial assets. The benefit of dissolving your marital union without hostility is that you’re likely to experience less stress, save money, and move forward with your new life happier and faster.
Myth #2: Women (or men) get a greater share of the matrimonial assets
Both women and men often believe that Singapore divorce courts favor the opposite sex when it comes to the division of matrimonial assets. Homemakers particularly fear that they will end up with a lesser share of the assets because they haven’t made as much of a financial contribution as their spouse.
In reality, Singapore courts are mandated to divide any contested marital assets in a “just and equitable” manner between the two parties. In determining what constitutes an equitable division, courts take into account the specific circumstances of each individual family, measuring factors such as: each party’s financial contribution toward the assets, the non-financial contributions each party made toward the family’s welfare, the size of the assets, needs of any children, and the length of the marriage.
Note that equitable division does not mean an equal division. The court doesn’t divide the assets 50/50 but calculates a split that is fair to both parties.
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Myth #3: Fathers can’t obtain custody of children.
It’s very common for people to believe that courts are strongly biased against fathers in custody disputes. But Singapore courts have no presumption that mothers should have sole custody or care and control of children. Rather, courts examine the best interest of the child in determining the ideal custody arrangement. In particular, the court assesses:
- the primary caregiver of the child
- the current living situation
- the child’s wishes
- the parent’s wishes
- the child’s age
- the parent’s financial capabilities
In most cases, Singapore courts award joint custody to the parents. This means that both parents share in the responsibility to make major life decisions for the children, particularly regarding education and health. Courts understand the value of both parents being involved in the child’s life and encourage parents to work together for the child’s benefit when possible.
However, courts usually award “care and control” of the children to one parent. The parent who has “care and control” over the person with whom the child lives and has responsibility for the everyday decisions in the child’s life, such as whether the child can watch television or what the child eats.
While it’s true that mothers often obtain care and control over young children because they are usually the primary caretakers, fathers can also gain care and control, especially if they were the primary caretaker or if the court otherwise determines that it is in the child’s best interest to live with the father.
The parent who does not have care and control of the child is almost always awarded access to the child so that they can remain an integral part of the child’s life.