Grounds for Divorce in Singapore
There are several hurdles implanted by Singapore courts, to successfully apply for divorce. This is to ensure that divorce is only looked to as a last resort. Thus, couples can only apply for a divorce after 3 years of marriage, and must show proof that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
Is the duration of your marriage longer than 3 years?
A couple cannot file for a writ for divorce within the first 3 years of marriage, as per s 94(1) of the Women’s Charter. This promotes the sanctity of marriage by ensuring that newly married couples have invested enough effort into their relationship and not rush into and out of marriage capriciously. Marriage is devalued if divorce is easily applicable within days of it.
This is unless you can prove that you are suffering from exceptional hardship or of exceptional depravity on the part of the Defendant. This must be distinguished from allegations of unreasonable behavior. Courts will not lightly allow parties to be released of their obligations in a marriage when entered into capriciously.
At the free consultation stage, our Divorce Lawyers will:
- Assess if you meet the conditions to file for divorce in Singapore.
- Go through and help you understand each step of the divorce process, through our customised divorce flow chart, so that you can familiarise yourself with the different stages of divorce.
- Answer any questions or concerns relating to the divorce process.
- Where appropriate, encourage you to consider counselling to help you get through the pending divorce process.
Allow us to take it from here.
We offer a free 30-minute consultation with one of our family lawyers.
Has your marriage irretrievably broken down?
The law provides the following facts which you can rely on to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down:-
Adultery and Intolerability: When your spouse has committed adultery, and you find it intolerable to live with him/her you can use this fact to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, if you live with your spouse for more than 6 months after the cheating incident, you can no longer rely on this ground.
You cannot reasonably be expected to continue cohabitation with your other spouse’s unreasonable behavior: This is an objective test, taking into account the individual’s subjective qualities (such as characteristics and personality, faults, attributes, behavior during marriage). If after the occurrence of the final incident you cited as the other spouse’s behavior, you still decide to live with him/her, there is a time limit of 6 months for you to apply for divorce on this ground.
Desertion for 2 years: For the ground of desertion to succeed, your spouse must have deserted you for an unbroken period of two years minimum, and your spouse must have possessed an intention to desert (i.e. to bring matrimonial union permanently to an end) during the entire period of desertion. Although spouses may live together sometime after the start of the desertion, spouses cannot stay together for more than 6 months. The period of living together will not be included in the length of desertion either. The consequence of staying together for more than 6 months is that you can no longer rely on this ground.
Living apart for 3 years with consent, or living apart for 4 years: Besides physical separation, a mental attitude averse to cohabitation on the part of one or both of the spouses is required. Thus, even though spouses may continue to stay under one roof, they cannot conduct themselves in a manner consistent with their existing marriage. To encourage attempts at reconciliation, spouses may resume cohabitation with impunity, as long as the periods do not exceed 6 months altogether.