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If you are considering filing for divorce in Singapore, you need to be aware of the following things:
To be eligible for divorce in Singapore, you must have been married for at least 3 years. You can only apply for a divorce before completing 3 years if you can prove exceptional hardship or cruel behavior on your partner’s part.
Another eligibility criterion is that you must be domiciled or be a habitual resident in Singapore for at least 3 years when you begin your divorce proceedings. Alternatively, you must have been a Singapore resident for at least 3 years before you begin your divorce procedure in Singapore.
Stages of the divorce procedure
Divorce can be either contested or uncontested. If you and your partner agree to all the terms of a divorce before filing, it is an uncontested divorce. However, if you do not agree on all the terms of the divorce, it becomes a contested divorce.
Whether you have a contested or an uncontested divorce proceeding, it will have two stages:
Stage 1: Dissolution of marriage
In this stage, the court decides if the marriage has broken down beyond repair. If the court decides that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, an interim judgement is granted for the dissolution of marriage.
Stage 2: Ancillary matters stage
Ancillary matters deal with the division of matrimonial assets, child issues, and spousal maintenance.
Upon settling the ancillary matters, the divorcing parties get a Certificate of Final Judgement which concludes the divorce proceedings.
Related Article: The Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?
Here is the roadmap to Singapore divorce:
- Determine that you are eligible before you decide to get a divorce in Singapore.
- You need to establish the grounds for seeking a divorce. Adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion, and separation are the grounds for divorce in Singapore. Unreasonable behavior includes physical and/or mental abuse, including behavior where you cannot be reasonably expected to tolerate to continue to live with your spouse.
- You need to file for a divorce irrespective of whether it is a contested divorce or an uncontested one. When you file for divorce, you also need to submit details to substantiate your grounds for divorce. Your divorce lawyer would be able to guide you through the necessary paperwork.
- You have to sign and submit all the necessary documents at the Family Justice Court to start your divorce proceedings.
- In the case of Simplified divorce, the court sets a hearing date within 4 to 6 weeks of filing. The court gives an “Interim Judgment” for the termination of the marriage if all the documents are in order to satisfy the court that the marriage has broken down irretrievably
- In the case of contested divorce, parties must go through the mediation to agree on the terms of the divorce if there are children under the age of 21.
- The court will schedule case conferences to move the case forward on the resolution of the ancillary matters will give directions for the next steps to be done.
- Once you and your partner have resolved the ancillary matters, the court issues the “Certificate of Final Judgement” finalizing your divorce.
Related Article: Glossary of Family Law Terms in Singapore
Podcast: How to initiate Divorce in Singapore
Going through a divorce can be an emotionally testing time. A good Singapore divorce lawyer can use their expertise to minimize the stress for you. Your divorce lawyer can not just help navigate the complex process but also guide you regarding vital family matters.