Living Apart from Your Spouse

Living-apart (Demo)

What does Living Apart mean for divorce based on 3 or 4 years separation?

The meaning of living apart in the context of separation as required under Section 95 of the Women’s Charter to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

There are two dimensions in the concept of “living apart”:

  • the physical and
  • the mental

This position was impounded in the case of Deepak Govindran Kirpalani v Rita Kishinchand Bhojwani [2006] SGDC 173 reiterates that there must be a mental element that turns the physical separation into the “living apart” that is required by s 95(3).

The requisite mental element is that the parties must live in separate households by choice and not due to necessity.

For example, parties cannot rely on the period of time that they have lived physically apart due to one party being posted to another country for work purposes.

However, if parties choose to live apart by choice, attempts by either party to salvage the marriage do not of themselves cause the living apart to lack the mental element.

What if parties reconcile for a short period of time during the period of separation?

Section 95(7) contemplates that parties may resume living together, perhaps with a view to salvaging the marriage, but, if that period does not exceed six months, the fact of living together does not prejudice the plaintiff’s case in relying on the fact of living apart.

Read more: The Grounds for Divorce Revised

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