Before getting a divorce, you may wish to consider the possibility of reconciliation. The effect it may have on you and your children can be distressing.

Getting a Divorce

There are several requirements to fulfill before a Court will grant a divorce:

  • You must have been married for at least 3 years. However, with permission from the Court, you may proceed to file a Writ for divorce before 3 years of marriage if you can prove that a) you have suffered exceptional hardship or b) if your spouse has been exceptionally unreasonable and cruel.
  • You or your spouse must be domiciled in Singapore or either of you must have resided in Singapore for 3 years immediately before the commencement of divorce proceedings.

What is Irretrievable Breakdown

To prove that marriage has broken down irretrievably, the Plaintiff must establish one or more of the following :-

  1. Adultery

    The Defendant has committed adultery with another person (the Co-Defendant) and the Plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the Defendant. Usually a private investigator report will be required.

  2. "Unreasonable Behaviour"

    The Defendant has behaved in such a way that the Plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with him/her.

  3. Desertion

    The Defendant has deserted the Plaintiff for a continuous period of 2 years without any intention of returning.

  4. Separation for 3 Years

    The Plaintiff and Defendant have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years and the Defendant agrees to a divorce. If both parties remains living under the same roof, it is required to establish that both are living in separate household.

  5. Separation for 4 Years

    The Plaintiff and the Defendant have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 4 years. No consent is required from the Defendant. If both parties remains living under the same roof, it is required to establish that both are living in separate household.

Matrimonial Issues

In a divorce proceeding, the parties may apply for:

  • maintenance;
  • custody, care and control of children and access; and
  • other ancillary matters (for example the division of matrimonial assets, including the matrimonial home).

In deciding on the division of matrimonial assets, the Court will take into many factors including: Example

  • the extent of contributions made by each party in moneys, property or work towards the acquiring of the assets and non-financial contributions made by parties;
  • any debts owing by either party which were contracted for this joint benefit; and
  • the needs of the minor children (if any) of the marriage. Please see article on Custody and Maintenance for more information.

Hearing of the Divorce

If the divorce is not contested, the Plaintiff will be given a day to appear in Court and will be required to confirm the contents of the Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars.

If the divorce is contested, both the Plaintiff and the Defendant will be required to appear in Court to give evidence to support their claims. Such proceedings are usually lengthy and may prove to be unpleasant. After hearing the evidence of the parties, the Judge will decide on the disputes and claims of the parties.

Once the Judge is satisfied that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, the Judge will grant an Interim Judgment (Divorce), which is an interim divorce order.

An Interim Judgment will usually be made final after ancillary issues (eg. custody and/or care and control/access, maintenance) have been concluded. Generally, an Interim Judgment will only be made final after 3 months from date of the Interim Judgment. Only when the Certificate of Making Interim Judgment Final ("Final Judgment") has been issued by the Court can either party marry again.

Documents required:-

  1. Marriage Certificate (if you do not have it, please let us know and we have to apply for an extract copy)
  2. latest CPF statements (public housing and ordinary account)
  3. your NRIC.
  4. any other document that you think may be relevant