Getting a Divorce in Singapore? Here’s What You Can Expect from the Process

One of the most significant writers who had ever lived said that “A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there’s less of you.” Here, Margaret Atwood used amputation as an analogy to divorce, and it makes sense. Undergoing a surgery where you come out with only one arm or one leg means you are missing something, that you are incomplete. However, being incomplete does not necessarily mean that you would not survive. Yes, the process would hurt, but in the end, you are still alive. The divorce process in Singapore is paralleled to the time you are in surgery having your arm or leg separated from you. There is a step-by-step process that you would go through before you come out of it alive. However, when you prepare for it, you could pace yourself and it would not hurt as much as you pictured it. Preparing is beneficial, especially in a process that is so emotionally and physically draining. It is something you would need in your plans to divorce your partner in Singapore.

In this article, you will find a comprehensive guide about divorce in Singapore. It includes the legal process and the tips on how you could get through the emotional process.

The Legal Process

There is a 2-stage process for both contested and uncontested divorces in Singapore. In the first stage or the dissolution of marriage, it is in the court’s decision whether the marriage is irretrievably broken down. If so, the court grants an Interim Judgment to legally and officially dissolve the marriage.

The second stage of this procedure is called the stage of the ancillary matter. It involves the court’s decision on how the parties’ affairs should proceed. Here, affairs include spouse maintenance and child custody.

When the divorce proceedings reach its end, parties will receive a Certificate of Final Judgment. Remember that this will only happen when all ancillary matters have been settled.

The requirements of getting a divorce

Here are some requirements that you need to have before you get a divorce procedure:

  • Divorce lawyer

Essentially, you would want to seek a lawyer’s help because you will be held to the same standards in the court when you don’t have one. If you don’t know the legal, procedural, and formal requirements of conducting court proceedings, then you’d need one. You need them for the complex and lengthy proceedings, especially if you anticipate that your spouse will contest the divorce.

  • Irretrievable breakdown of a marriage

The only legal ground for divorce is you must prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Some ways you could show this is found under section 95(3) of the Women’s Charter:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. Separation
  • Applications that should be filed in court

To commence the divorce proceedings, the following documents must be completed and filed in the court first:

  1. Writ for Divorce
  2. Statement of Claim
  3. Proposed parenting plan (if you have children below 21)
  4. Proposed matrimonial property plan (if there’s a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat to be divided between parties.
  5. Acknowledgement of Service
  6. Memorandum of Appearance

Dissolution of the marriage

After all the essential documents have been filed in court, they have to be served on the Defendant or the other spouse who is defending against the divorce. The Defendant has eight days to finalise a decision whether or not to contest the divorce and/or the ancillary matters.

  • Contested divorce

The Defendant needs to file a:

  1. Memorandum of Appearance
  2. A Defence
  3. A request for a Resolution Conference or counselling session with a court counsellor

If both parties were unable to agree on the reason for divorceon their own, the case would go to court and determine if their marriage has irretrievably broken down in front of a judge. If this happens, the Defendant needs to file and serve on the Plaintiff or the other spouse who initially filed the divorce, a:

  1. Memorandum of Appearance
  2. Defence within 14 days from the deadline for the serving of the Memorandum of Appearance
  • Uncontested divorce

It is what happens when the Defendant chooses not to contest the divorce. What they would wish is to hear about the ancillary matters.

The Ancillary Matters

The Affidavits of Assets and Means is the main requirement to proceed to the hearings of ancillary matters of the divorce. In these affidavits, they must disclose all the assets/liabilities, income and expenditure. It will take up to three rounds of affidavits exchange to make them official.

In Singapore, a net value of the estate(s) amounting to more than 1.5 million dollars, your divorce case will be transferred to the High Court and be heard there.

The ancillary hearing date will be set before the court decides on the ancillary matters heard after the filing and exchange of documents.

When all is settled, both parties can apply for the Final Judgment once three months have passed since the Interim Judgment’s grant.

Getting through the emotional process

The divorce procedure in Singapore can be very difficult, no matter the reason for your separation. It could turn your peaceful world upside down. However, there are things that you can do to get through this difficult process.

  • Recognise that you have different feelings

Feelings at this time are intense, but you must know that they will pass.

  • Explore interests

Reconnect with hobbies that you have held back from before the divorce. Try painting, doing sports, or join volunteer groups in Singapore.

  • Talk to your kids

Ensure that your kids know that the divorce is not their fault. Listen to them and ease their concerns as well.

Divorce lawyer in Singapore

Whether you anticipate having a contested or uncontested divorce in Singapore, you must know how a good divorce lawyer could help you in this process. Trust that the lawyers of Lie Chin Chin can support you in these tough times!

Visit their website to hire one of them today.

Thanks for the support