Adultery Or Improper Association?


In Singapore, you may seek a divorce on grounds of adultery, proving the breakdown of their marriage through evidence like confessions or catching a spouse in the act.

If evidence is lacking, divorce can be pursued based on improper association, showing an intimate relationship that makes living together intolerable due to the spouse’s behavior.


You can file for a divorce on grounds of adultery and prove that this has caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

When a person commits adultery, he/she voluntarily engages in sexual intercourse with any person other than his/her spouse.

You can prove that your spouse has committed adultery by his/her confession, catching him/her red-handed, seeking evidence from private investigators or confirming the birth of a child during the marriage who is not related to you.

In some situations, the aforementioned is not necessarily required if you can show that there was inclination and opportunity to commit adultery on the part of the alleged spouse.

The plaintiff has to show that-

“Association of the parties was so intimate and their mutual passion so clear that adultery might reasonably be assumed as a result of an opportunity for an occurrence”– (Ross v Ross 1930)

Once this is established, you must show that it is intolerable for you to live with your spouse.

However, the claim for adultery can be rejected if you continued to live with your spouse for more than six months upon learning that he/she had committed the misconduct.

You must file for divorce on the grounds of adultery within six months from the discovery of the extra-marital relationship.

Improper Association

It is sometimes challenging to procure evidence for the purposes of proceedings on the ground of adultery.

In the event that there is a lack of evidence in the form of proof or confession, the spouse can prove that the marriage has broken down on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour due to the improper association on the part of the alleged spouse.

This can be done by proving in court that the relationship between the spouse and the third party was so intimate that adultery could have been assumed – on reasonable grounds – if there was a chance for the act to be committed.

Read More: Establishing Unreasonable Behaviour in Singapore

As such, you will need to prove that it can no longer be reasonably expected of you to live with your spouse due to the act of improper association, that there is a lack of tolerance to live with the spouse owing to the personalities and character traits of both parties and the behaviour of the alleged spouse.

Read more: Adultery FAQ

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