What is a Simplified Divorce?

simplified divorce singapore
A simplified divorce is one in which both parties agree to all aspects of a divorce. In other words, there is an agreement on the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage and all the ancillary matters. Typically, Parties should be able to obtain their interim judgement in 4 weeks.

Prior to a simplified divorce, the predominant issues that Parties must arrive at an agreement on include:

Reason for the Divorce

In Singapore, there is only one ground of divorce – being the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In order to establish this, Parties would have to utilise the facts set out in Section 95(3) of the Women’s Charter, namely:

  • That one Party has committed adultery and the other finds it intolerable to live with him/her;
  • That one Party has behaved in a manner that the other cannot reasonably be expected to live with him/her;
  • That one Party has deserted the other for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the divorce;
  • That the Parties to the marriage have lived apart for 3 years immediately preceding the filing of the divorce and the Defendant consents to a judgment being granted; and
  • That the Parties to the marriage have lived apart for 4 years immediately preceding the filing of the divorce.

Child(ren) arrangements

When it comes to the child(ren) of the marriage, parties have to agree on custody, care and control as well as access.

Custody

Custody refers to which parent will make the important long-term decisions for the child(ren), such as education, religion, etc. In the absence of strong reasons, such as sexual abuse or violence, joint custody is ordinarily awarded by the Singapore Courts.

Read more: Understanding Child Custody: Sole Custody & Joint Custody

Care and control

On the other hand, care and control refer to who the parent will be making the day-to-day decisions for the child(ren) (e.g. meals, activities, etc.) and whom the child(ren) shall live with.

Read more: Child Custody – Shared Care and Control Case Studies

Access

If one parent is to have care and control of the child(ren), the other parent should have access to the child(ren). Access can be liberal or reasonable. If Parties are able to effectively communicable and effectively co-parent, precise access timings need not be stipulated. In such situations, access to the parent without care and control can be arranged and mutually agreed upon.

Read more: Child Access: Arrangements Between Divorced Parents

Division of Matrimonial Home and Matrimonial Assets

Parties have several options when it comes to dealing with the matrimonial home, namely:

  • The sale of matrimonial property in an open market, with Parties agreeing on how the proceeds of the sale are to be divided;
  • One party may purchase the other’s share in the matrimonial home, at a price that is agreed between Parties;
  • The matrimonial home can be transferred to one party, at a price that is agreed between Parties; and
  • In cases where a HDB property is involved, if the Minimum Occupation Period is not met, Parties may have to surrender the property to the Housing Development Board.

For options ii. and iii. above, the buying/receiving Party would have to refund the CPF amount utilised by the other Party towards the purchase of property (with accrued interest).

As for the division of all other assets, Parties may decide how this is to be effected. Matrimonial assets may be divided in the following manner:

  • The assets are to be retained in Parties’ respective sole names, with joint assets (i.e. joint bank accounts) being divided in proportions that they agree upon;
  • The entire pool of matrimonial assets is split in proportions that Parties agree upon; or
  • For individual assets to be divided in a manner that Parties agree upon.

Spousal and Child(ren) maintenance

Parties must agree on the amount of maintenance the wife shall receive, if any. Spousal maintenance can be in the form of monthly payments or a lump sum.

Parties would also have to agree on their respective contributions to the child(ren)’s monthly maintenance.

Costs of the Proceedings

Parties must agree on who bears the cost of the divorce proceedings. Parties can agree to bear their own cost, or have either party bear the cost for both sides.

Get insightful advice from our Singapore divorce lawyers

As a leading matrimonial law firm in Singapore, Gloria James-Civetta & Co is equipped with the expertise, experience, and resources to give you the best advice on all aspects of family law. Get in touch with us to know learn more about the divorce process in Singapore.

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