To initiate your divorce process in Singapore, you have to be married for at least three years, and your marriage should be irretrievably broken. If the divorcing couple is in agreement with the terms of the divorce, including the division of assets and child or spouse maintenance, it is called an uncontested divorce. Failure to come to an agreement may result in a contested divorce involving the divorce lawyers of both parties.
There are five divorce models in Singapore:
- Uncontested consent divorce
- Private mediation
- 4-way lawyer negotiations
- Court litigation process
- Collaborative divorce
Choose a model based on your circumstances.
There are two stages of divorce in Singapore:
Irrespective of whether you have a contested or uncontested divorce, the stages remain the same.
Dissolution of marriage
In the first stage, the divorcing couple must show the court that their marriage has broken down beyond repair.
The person seeking divorce is referred to as the Plaintiff, while the other party is referred to as the Defendant. Before commencing the divorce procedure in Singapore, the divorce lawyer acting for the Plaintiff sends out the standard query form to HDB and CPF Board.
To commence proceedings for divorce in Singapore, the following documents need to be submitted in court:
- Writ for divorce
- The Statement of Claim which represents the facts on which you are asking the court to grant you a divorce
- The Statement of Particulars which states the particulars of the breakdown of the marriage.
- A Proposed Parenting Plan for children under 21 in case of a consent divorce
- A Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan in case there is an HDB flat which needs to be divided between both parties
- Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan if the divorcing couple has reached an agreement on what to do with the HDB flat after divorce
- Acknowledgement of Service
- Memorandum of Appearance
If the Defendant to contest the divorce, they need to do so within eight days from being served the divorce papers.
If the divorce is uncontested, the court will set a hearing date for the divorce. In the event that the proceedings are contested, parties will have to comply with the necessary timelines in ensuring that their documents are filed.
In the second stage, the court deals with ancillary matters, which include:
- Custody of the children
- Division of matrimonial assets and costs
- Maintenance for the spouse and children, wherever applicable
If the divorcing couple is not able to come to an agreement on the ancillary matters, the court will make necessary orders during an Ancillary Matters hearing.
Three months after the Interim Judgment has been granted, document known as the “Final Judgment” is issued. This document reflects that the Interim Judgment has been finalised. However, that is done provided the stage of ancillary matters is completed during this time.
Your Singapore divorce lawyer can give you valuable guidance during the emotionally testing time of a divorce. Hiring a good divorce lawyer in Singapore is prudent to save you time and effort and also to safeguard your privacy and dignity.