Singapore Divorce Process | Divorce Proceedings Information Singapore



Divorce in Singapore is a 2-step process, being either contested or uncontested.

In the first stage, Courts will deal with the termination of the marriage itself. Here, the Court will decide whether the marriage should be dissolved. At the end of this stage, if successful, parties will receive an Interim Judgement.

In the second stage, the Court will deal with the Ancillary matters. These include division of matrimonial assets, custody of the children and maintenance of the wife and children (if applicable). At the end of this stage, parties will receive a Final Judgement.

Before you start the divorce proceedings, you need to determine if you meet the grounds to get a divorce.

For a free initial consultation, contact our Family Law Team
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The person who is filing the Writ of Divorce is called the Plaintiff. The person who is being sued for divorce is called the Defendant. If the Defendant has committed adultery, the third party is known as the “Co-Defendant”.
Before the commencement of the divorce, the Plaintiff’s solicitors will send out Standard Queries Forms to HDB and CPF Board. This will take about one (1) month. This is because HDB have rules governing the use of HDB flats and they want to make sure rules are complied with in this new arrangement.
To commence divorce proceedings, the following documents must be filed in Court:

Writ for Divorce, Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars;
  • The Statement of Claim must specify which fact (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, three years’ separation with consent or four years’ separation) you are relying on to ask the Court to grant you a divorce. The Statement of Particulars sets out in full the particulars of the facts pleaded in the Statement of Claim;
  • Proposed Parenting Plan if there are children below 21. An Agreed Parenting Plan is only filed if both parties have managed to agree on the care arrangements for the children after the divorce.
  • Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan if there is a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat to be divided between parties. An Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan is only filed if parties have managed to agree on what to do with the HDB flat after the divorce;
  • Acknowledgement of Service
  • Memorandum of Appearance
Once the Writ for Divorce has been filed in the Family Court, the same would be served on the Defendant via way of personal service, if the address of the Defendant is known to the Plaintiff.
Steps c and d will require two (2) to four (4) weeks.
If service of the papers on the Defendant fails after two attempts of service, the Plaintiff can take out an application in the Family Court for Substituted Service, i.e. by obtaining a Court Order to “post” the divorce papers on the last known address of the Defendant’s door of his premises and on the Notice Board of the Family Court. Alternatively by Registered Post to the last known address of the Defendant.
Step e will require one (1) month or thereabouts.
If the Defendant’s address is unknown to the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff believes that the Defendant is still residing in Singapore, an application in the Family Court for Substituted Service by posting the Notice of Proceedings at the last known address, on the Notice Board of the Family Court or advertising the same in the local newspaper.
Within 8 days of the date of service of the Divorce Papers on the Defendant, he/she will have to enter appearance to state if he/she is contesting the writ or contesting the ancillary matters. If no appearance has been entered by the Defendant either by himself or via his solicitors within 8 days, the Plaintiff can proceed to file an Affidavit of Service and to set down the matter for trial.
If appearance is entered by the Defendant,
  • If the Defendant is not contesting the Divorce Writ, the Plaintiff can then proceed to set down the Writ for trial on an uncontested basis. A hearing date can be received in a month’s time, and the earliest trial date can be 10 days after setting down.
  • If the Defendant is contesting the Writ, he/she will have 22 days from the date of service of the Writ or 14 days from the date of entry of appearance.(i) To file a Defence in the Family Court and serve the same on the Plaintiff. If no Defence is filed in Court by the Defendant within the stipulated time limit, the Plaintiff can proceed to set down the Writ for trial as an uncontested action. OR(ii) If the Defendant files a Defence & Counter claim, the Plaintiff will have 14 days from the date of service of Defence to file his/her Reply to Defence & to Counter claim.
Hearing of Divorce Writ:
  • If the Divorce is uncontested, a hearing date will be given by the Court, but parties attendance are usually dispensed with unless the Court requires the compulsory attendance of parties. The hearing will usually last for 5-10 minutes. The Judge, if satisfied with the case, will grant an Interim Judgment to be made Final after 3 months.
  • If the Divorce is contested, PTCs (Pre-Trial Conferences) will be conducted. The main objective of a PTC is to look into whether there are common areas where parties can agree, thus narrowing the issues. Sometimes a date for Mediation is also fixed to resolve the issues.
  • If the PTC or Mediation is not successful, a date of hearing will be given depending on the Family Court’s calendar. The duration of trial is usually one day. In contested cases, both the Plaintiff and the Defendant and the respective witnesses give evidence in Court by way of affidavit evidence and are cross-examined on their affidavits. In most cases, after a PTC (and sometimes after several conferences) the divorce Writ proceeds as uncontested leaving the ancillary matters to be contested.
Hearing of Ancillary Matters.

Questions of maintenance, custody, division of assets and costs, etc. may be adjourned to be heard in Chambers at a date to be fixed by the Registrar. The Registrar may fix a Mediation session for parties to resolve the issues amicably.

The Court will require parties to file their respective Affidavit of Assets and Means disclosing all assets/liabilities, income and expenditure. There are three (3) rounds of exchange of Affidavits. Parties are entitled to proceed with Discovery, Injunctions and Interrogatories at this stage of the proceedings.

Once parties have filed the prerequisite affidavits, parties will be required to also file the Check list, Declaration of Assets, and Ancillary Matters Facts and Position Sheet. Upon that being filed, the Court will then base on the declaration of the assets, decide if the matter would be heard in the Family Court or transferred to the High Court. The transfer only kicks in when the nett value of the estate (as per what is declared) exceeds $1.5 million.

Thereafter, an Ancillary Hearing date will be fixed to hear the respective counsels’ written and oral submissions in Court.

After 3 months from the date of making Interim Judgment, provided that the ancillary matters have been heard and the orders made, the Plaintiff can proceed to file the necessary papers to extract the Final Judgement Order.
  • D
    Refer to Defedant
  • P
    Refer to Plaintiff (the person filling the action)

First Stage

Commencement - by filling HDB Standard Query
Divorce papers filed and served
does not enter appearance
enter appearance
files Defence & Counterclaim
files Reply to Defence & Counterclaim
Status Conference
(if case is not set down promptly)
Pre-Trial Conference (PTC)
Adjourned PTC
Writ Hearing
1 month To await HDB's reply to standard Query
8 days
(Divorce not Contested)
(Divorce Contested)
14 days
14 days
Joint Confrence

Second Stage

Interim Judgement Granted
Pre-Trial Conference (PTC)
Adjourned PTC
Ancillary Matters Hearing
Final Judgement Granted
(No ancillary matters or consent orders made at divorce hearing)
(Ancillary matters to be adjourned to chambers)
Joint Confrence
If you need legal representation, kindly contact Gloria James-Civetta & Co, to get the legal advice you need.
Call us on +65 6337 0469