After the divorce is granted, either by settlement or by way of contested divorce trial, the judge will grant the Interim Judgment.
If at this point in time, Parties are still in dispute on the terms for:
The case will proceed to Stage 2 of the proceedings. All ancillary matters must be dealt and have a conclusion to the final terms before the Court will grant you a Certificate of Final Judgement for Divorce. This Certificate of Divorce can only be extracted three (3) months + one (1) day after the date of the grant of the Interim Judgment.
The court may direct you and your spouse to attend mediation and/or counselling at the Family Justice Courts to settle as many of the contested ancillary matters as possible before the contested ancillary matters hearing. While the mediation sessions or even court hearing are taking place, you and your spouse may choose to continue to negotiate a settlement out-of-court by having lawyers exchanging proposals for settlement. There is still a possibility that all the ancillary matters can be settled, thereby avoiding the Ancillary Matters hearing.
While uncontested divorce takes about four (4) months to complete, contested divorce proceedings with ancillary matters hearing takes between twelve (12) to eighteen (18) months to complete.
You and your spouse will receive a court’s notice to attend court for the Ancillary Matters Case Conference usually within a month of the Interim Judgment being granted.
The judge at the case conference may assess whether there is still a possibility of settlement. The judge may refer the case back to mediation court or private mediators, or direct that parties attend counselling. If the high conflict case involves children, the judge may also appoint a Child Representative, which parties need to pay S$2,000 each for the representative to write a detailed report on his/her observations gathered after conducting interviews of parties and relevant persons (like school teachers etc), observing of living condition and interaction of the child with the adults at home. The recommendation of the Child Representative stated in the report makes up the main factor in the judge’s final decision who to grant the custody, care and control of the child to which parent.
Often than not, court sees the work of litigant-in-person as sparse and incoherent which fails to assist the judge. When lawyers have to deal with litigant-in-person, we argue with more ease and know what we are presenting to the court. The wining chance is much higher having litigant-in-person as opponent. The matters may be dragged longer than normal as the court often has to address the technical and administration mess that the litigant-in-person creates. For instance, the litigant-in-person forgets to file certain portion of the documents, or fill in the wrong column or that he/she writes full of complaints against the spouse but nothing on legal aspect to back his/her case.
Litigant-in-person frequently mentioned that “Your Honour, I am just a layman”, in the hope that they can be given sympathy or more leeway. However, having chose to act in person does not absolve you from having the same duty and standard to be observed in court. On the contrary, the judges had once commented on a foreign litigant-in-person who speaks only mandarin that she is a resourceful and smart woman who knows how to conduct her own case all the way to appeal court. However, whether she wins is another story.
You have only one chance to write the Affidavit of Assets and Means in your favour and there will be no amendments or further insertions after it is filed.
You should seek independent legal advice immediately when the matter goes for hearing/trial.
This is the keystone documents of all ancillary matters hearing. To win or lose a case, the contents presented in this document and subsequent replies plays major role in submitting your case to the hearing judge. Upon hearing the case, the hearing judge will decide who is the winner and loser, and whether you would be awarded what you want for the children, assets and maintenance. This document is definitely not a random script for you to write anything that comes to your mind. This Affidavit of Assets and Means is the only chance for you to present your best case with sense and strategy which can make or break your chance of winning the case.
You and your spouse will be required to disclose the assets that the both of you own in your respective Affidavit of Assets and Means (AOM), and other information including but not limited to: –
You may reply to all or parts of the statements that your spouse made in his/her first AOM. There may be allegations that you may wish to specially reply.
Summons for Discovery and/or Interrogatories- You may also take up Summons for Discovery and/or Interrogatories if you think your spouse has not been truthful or that he has not disclosed all of his/her assets or that your spouse is hiding the existence or destroying evidence of existence of assets. This summon will compel your spouse to be frank and honest in his/her disclosure failing which he/she may risk losing the case or be penalised for being not truthful to the court.
Since 2016, the Family Justice Courts amended its procedure to do away with parties filing third AOM to achieve “expeditious” process. Unless you could convince the judge that you be allowed to file a third AOM to retaliate certain new allegations in your spouse’s second AOM, if not your rights will be severely prejudiced, you will be granted the order to file your third AOM. This increase your costs as filing third AOM is not as of right and you have to specially make a summons application to court to argue why you should be allowed the chance to file the third AOM.
Aside from the Affidavits mentioned above, before a case can be presented in front of a hearing judge to be heard, all getting up papers must be prepared fully and filed. This is the most crucial and busy time of Yeolaw Divorce lawyers where he/she has to:-
The Hearing Judge will conduct the hearing and decide on the contested ancillary matters based on the evidence before it and based on the arguments presented by your lawyers. The hearing usually takes half day to conclude and your lawyers will be given a date to return to court to receive judgment. If your case has lesser contested ancillary issues and less complicated, the Hearing Judge may be able to deliver the judgment on the spot.
In some cases, the duration of the hearing will be extended to 2 to 5 days, depending on the complexity of the matter and the number of contested ancillary issues.
After the conclusion of the ancillary issues where Hearing Judge gives the final determination of all issues relating to the divorce, the Final Judgment for Divorce i.e. the Certificate for Divorce will be realised to mark the conclusion of the proceedings.
You may be satisfied or not with the Hearing Judge’s decision on the ancillary matters. You may wish to appeal against all or parts of the decision. The appeal will take place at the High Court division of Family Justice Courts and will be heard by a Justice sitting in the Supreme Court. Please read our other article on Appeal.
Yeo & Associates LLC Family lawyers have handled many ancillary hearings and have about 90% of satisfaction from our clients on the outcome. We have won numerous high profile and landmark cases in past 2 decades. Talk to us now at 62203400 to see how help our clients.