Specialist Divorce & Family Lawyer

Contested Nullity

Why contests a Nullity?

The typical reasons where Defendants may choose to contest the nullity are as follows: –

  • They did not think that the marriage is void or voidable
  • That they wish to wait until 5-year Minimum Occupation Period to hold the a new HDB flat and sell it for a profit after a divorce
  • They think that the Plaintiff is lying that the marriage has not been consummated, i.e. that parties have not have sexual contact since the registration of the marriage
  • they attempt to make life difficult for the Plaintiff by ‘dragging’ the nullity proceedings when they feel angry about the Plaintiff may have an affair right after marriage

In nullity trial, the Family Justice Courts will consider whether actual evidence and facts to decide whether the Plaintiff is speaking the truth in her application. The Plaintiff and the Defendant will be cross-examined by respective lawyers and at times, evidence of sexual contact between the spouses like sex videos and messages of sexual nature may reveal in courts. If there are no evidence of that sort, Parties will answer sensitive questions on their sexual history and details of sexual intimacy.

If the Judge presiding the trial refuses to grant the nullity after the trial, the matter will be dismissed and the issues of ancillary and HDB flat will not be entertained. If the Judge agrees that the marriage is void or voidable, the Order of Nullity will be granted.

Ancillary Issues after Nullity Order Granted

However, if the ancillary matters are not agreed between the Parties, the matter will proceed to Ancillary Matters Hearing for the judge to hear the case and order an Ancillary Matters Order.

If you are a Defendant, you are advised to discuss your circumstances with an experienced Family Lawyer.

Proceeding to fight in the Nullity Trial and Fees Involved

When the Defendant receives the Writ for Nullity papers with of allegations from the spouse that he/she refuses sex since marriage, or other reasons to void the marriage, he/she might have the impulse to fight the spouse “all the way”. Unless parties can resolve their differences by way of court mediation or private negotiation between the parties with their respective lawyers, the contested Nullity process has to be adhered to: –

  • Defendant will have to file his Defence and Counterclaim within 22 days from the date of service of the Writ for Divorce. Only in this document would the Defendant be accorded his legal rights to answer to allegations and counter sue the spouse as the person who breaks the marriage down
    [for Defendant- from S$2,500 to capped S$3,500 depending on complexity and length]
  • Plaintiff to file Reply to Defence and Counterclaim within 14 day from the date of receiving the Defence and Counterclaim
    [for Plaintiff- from S$2,500 to capped S$3,500 depending on complexity and length]
  • Defendant to file Final Reply within 14 day from the date of receiving the Reply to Defence and Counterclaim
    [for Defendant- from S$2,500 to capped S$3,500 depending on complexity and length]
  • Pre-Trial Conferences will be convened for Parties and/or respective lawyers to prepare getting up documents like Affidavit-of-Evidence-in-Chief and other trial papers. Until all relevant trial papers are filed, the judge will direct for a Nullity Trial date
    [S$450 per session; S$4,500 to capped S$6,500 to prepare all trial papers]
  • Parties (with their witnesses, if any) will attend Contested Nullity Trial in the Family Justice Courts to be cross-examined by each other’s lawyers. The trial may last from one (1) to many days. The Judge shall determine whether to grant the Nullity after the trial and who to grant the divorce to as the ‘winner’.
    [S$4,000 per day and subsequent days at S$2,000 per day or part thereof]

The above contested trial is hostile and unpleasant. The costs of proceedings are time-consuming and costly as it involves many documents and days in court; and ‘loser’ pays costs to the ‘winner’.

At Yeolaw, we provide common-sensical guidance to our clients to assess whether a full-blown contested Nullity trial is beneficial or whether practicality of costs saving shall prevail. Call us at 62203400 for a fixed fee quotation.


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