Separation is a challenging time for everyone involved in a relationship. Divorces must be resolved, regardless of who initiated them or whether they are mutual. There are a few legal considerations and steps to follow when getting a divorce in Singapore. This comprehensive guide to divorce in Singapore is designed to assist you. As you learn about the legal steps, what to do if you have children or property involved, and also give your recommendations for some of the leading divorce lawyers in Singapore, you will gain a better understanding of the divorce process. When you have the support of divorce experts, completing your divorce is easier.
Grounds For Divorce In Singapore
Divorce Reasons That Are Acceptable
Singapore has one core ground for divorce, which is defined as an ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of the marriage. Four reasons can be used to prove this. Additionally, there are two pre-conditions for divorce in Singapore that must be met.
(1) Having been married for at least three years is the first requirement. This is true unless you are able to demonstrate hardship or unreasonable/cruel treatment by your spouse.
(3) It is necessary for at least one party to be domiciled (have Singapore as his or her permanent residence) when divorce proceedings begin. The parties must have lived in Singapore for three years prior to the divorce if this isn’t the case.
An irretrievable marriage breakdown can be demonstrated by one or more of the following reasons:
Adultery (if the one committing adultery does not admit to it, then there needs to be other proof).
Unreasonable Behaviour (examples include violence, drug addiction, refusal to socialize, working too many hours, gambling).
Dissertation (one party has been living away from the other for at least two years and has plans to continue to leave).
Separation (living apart for three years or more, not due to necessity). There are many ways to prove separation. The proposed law will come into effect in 2023, which will allow divorce to be granted by mutual agreement between the two parties. Simply stating ‘irreconcilable differences’ alone is not a valid reason for a marriage breakdown to warrant a divorce in Singapore. You’ll need to prove that the marriage has reached this breakdown for one or more of the reasons we have mentioned.
Family Arrangements And Child Custody
Handling A Divorce In Singapore With Children
Divorcing couples in Singapore with children need to understand custody, childcare, financial maintenance payments, as well as other family separation factors.
When a divorce occurs, custody of the child or children will either be granted solely or jointly. When a spouse is deemed unfit to care for the child, the court will award sole custody. There will be a decision regarding visitation rights. A majority of divorce cases in Singapore grant joint custody, with the main parent having control/care of the child.
The following factors are taken into account by Singapore courts when spouses contest child custody:
The current living arrangements of the child/children and whether the divorce will disrupt their stability
Each party’s financial capabilities
As far as the child/children are concerned, who has been the primary caregiver in the marriage?
The child’s wishes.
Depending on the circumstances, judges may request social welfare reports or counseling sessions to investigate the relationship between each parent and the child/children. Singapore judges can change custody arrangements, including visitation frequency and child support amount.
Singapore Divorce Financial Considerations
Singapore’s Matrimonial Assets Division
Divorce can be challenging financially. In Singapore, assets are divided according to the following:
Assets acquired during the marriage
Those acquired before the married but used by the family/both parties
Assets that were acquired before the marriage but improved upon by one or both parties during the marriage.
Among these assets are cars, homes, shares, jewelry, and cash savings.
When assets are contested, the Family Court decides how they should be divided equally. Financial agreements are reviewed by the courts based on the following factors:
Income and earning capacity of each part
Lifestyle and needs of each person
Any other financial obligations or debts
The size of the assets – the length of the marriage
Whether children are involved and their needs
Any prenuptial/postnuptial agreements made.
Divorce In Singapore: How To Get It Done
In Singapore, there are two key stages to a divorce
There are two stages involved in starting a divorce in Singapore. In the first stage, the court decides whether the marriage can be ended. The following are the steps involved:
One spouse files paperwork with the court.
File documents with the court (statement of divorce, proposed/agreed parenting plan, statement of particulars, proposed matrimonial property plan, and more).
The other spouse is then required to respond to the details of the document according to a set procedure.
Depending on all the details, the court will decide whether to proceed with the divorce or not. The second stage involves hearing ancillary matters. Both parties are required to disclose assets, liabilities, income, and expenditures. Once the court has ruled on these matters, a Final Judgment Order can be entered.
How long does it take to get divorced in Singapore?
When a divorce is uncontested and the details, such as asset division and custody, are simple, it can be finalized within six months or a year. There could be a delay of more than a year in more complex divorce cases in Singapore.
How much does a divorce in Singapore cost?
For general divorce cases where both parties agree on all terms, fees in Singapore typically range from $1,500 to $3,500. For divorces that are contested and there is difficulty reaching an agreement, the costs can rise to as much as $35,000. For more information, check out this guide.
Getting A Divorce Lawyer In Singapore
Divorce Legal Support Options
When you are undergoing a divorce without legal guidance, it can be confusing. Singapore has many divorce lawyers who handle both general and complex cases. Singapore Legal Advice features some options for Divorce and Family Lawyers in Singapore, as well as 7 Experienced Female Divorce Lawyers in Singapore.
Divorce no longer has to be an unhappy experience, and it improves self-esteem and reduces depressive symptoms. You are actually better off leaving a toxic marriage. Despite the bumps in the road, you are not alone.