Jurisdiction of Court in Matrimonial Proceedings


Determining where you can file for divorce can be confusing. We often hear questions like, If I was married in Singapore, do I have to get a divorce in Singapore?” or

I got married in another country, but I’ve been living in Singapore, can I get a divorce here?

These questions revolve around something called jurisdiction, which means the authority of a court to handle a legal case. In Singapore, the Women’s Charter sets the rules. Let’s break down the key points.

Understanding Jurisdiction

To decide if you can file for divorce in Singapore, you need to know about two important terms: “domicile” and “habitual residence.”


: Domicile means the country you consider your permanent home. For instance, if you are a citizen of Singapore, it’s assumed that Singapore is your domicile unless you can prove otherwise.

Habitual Residence

: This term is all about showing that you’ve been living in Singapore for three years without any long breaks. This applies to non-Singapore citizens.

The Verdict

In simple terms, if you or your spouse consider Singapore your permanent home or have lived here for the past three years, you can file for divorce in Singapore, provided you meet other requirements.

But if you’ve left Singapore (maybe you’ve moved to another country) and no longer see Singapore as your permanent home or haven’t been living in Singapore for the past three years, then Singapore’s courts won’t handle your divorce case.

For a better understanding of domicile and habitual residence and to find out if you’re eligible to apply for a divorce in Singapore, reach out to our experienced divorce lawyers. They can assess your situation and guide you through the process.

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Gloria James-Civetta & Co handles both local and expatriate divorces. Make informed decisions by consulting our matrimonial lawyers.

Our goal is to help you find a resolution that works for you.

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