Establishing the Ground for Divorce - Divorce in Singapore
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Establishing the Ground for Divorce

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There is only one ground for divorce recognized in Singapore, that is, an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. What is required is that of the impossibility of reconciliation and finality in intention.

If you decide to file an application for divorce, the onus is on you to prove ONE of the five possible situations as laid down in s 95(3) of the Women’s Charter. Once proven, the burden of proof then shifts to the defendant, who is your partner, to show that the marriage has not broken down irretrievably notwithstanding the establishment of one of the situations.

However, there are two pre-conditions that have to be satisfied before you proceed to prove one of the situations. The pre-conditions are:

  1. Marriage of a minimum period of three years, unless the presence of evidence of extreme hardship or extreme depravity
  2. Be a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident (PR)

The Five Situations

The five situations that have been established to be sufficient for proving the grounds of divorce are:

1) Adultery
Requirements to establish:

– Defendant committed adultery

  • Adultery requires consensual sexual intercourse
  • Person with whom defendant had committed adultery with be identified if known OR Admitted by defendant

– Plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the defendant

  • If plaintiff continues to live with the defendant for more than 6 months after knowledge of adultery, this limb fails

2) Unreasonable Behaviour of the defendant
Requirements to establish:

– Plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the defendant due to his or her behaviour
– Court objectively determines that plaintiff, accounting for his or her personality and attributes, cannot be reasonably expected to live with the defendant
– Cumulative effect of the behaviour of the defendant towards the marriage supports the plaintiff’s application

3) Defendant deserted plaintiff for at least 2 years
Requirements to establish:

– Deserting spouse has intention of bringing the marital union to an end and there was no reasonable cause
– Deserted spouse must not have consented to the separation

4) Parties separated for a period of 3 years with consent
Requirements to establish:

– Parties have lived apart for a continuous period of 3 years prior the institution of proceedings
– There was consent to live apart for a period of 3 years

5) Parties separated for a period of 4 years without consent
Requirements to establish:

– Parties have lived apart for a continuous period of 4 years prior the institution of proceedings
– No need for consent to live apart

Note: Separation need not be physical (living in different houses). As long as parties are running separate households and do not have spousal interactions, it is sufficient to establish separation.

“Whatever your situation, our family law practitioners are here to offer you sensitive, cost effective and expert advice”
At Gloria James-Civetta & Co, we offer a free 20-minute consultation with one of our lawyers, who will explain the divorce process and any other applications to meet your needs.
Call us on +65 6337 0469
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