Specialist Divorce & Family Lawyer

Contested Divorce

Why contests a divorce?

Many Defendants assume that the Plaintiff cannot get a divorce if he/she ‘refuse to sign’ or simply because “I don’t want to divorce”.

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

  1. when they do not wish to be seen as being their fault in the breakdown of the marriage
  2. that they simply do not like the way the Statement of Particulars were written about them
  3. they are not willing to accept the ancillary terms proposed by the Plaintiff
  4. they attempt to make life difficult for the Plaintiff by ‘dragging’ the divorce proceedings etc

The reality is that the Family Justice Courts will consider whether the marriage has irretrievably broken down and the divorce will be granted eventually, in most cases. The reality is that the reasons behind the breakdown of the marriage or who is to blame, apart from extremely serious cases, have no impact on agreed ancillary matters. However, if the ancillary matters are not agreed between the Parties, the reasons stated in the Statement of Particulars may affect the Defendant’s rights at the Ancillary Matters Hearing. For instance, a Defendant agreed to being a violent parent to the child, such statement will be taken as an admission under Section 60 of the Evidence Act, Defendant may not get the care and control of the child.

On the other hand, the Statement of Particulars cannot be so bare that it is lack of sufficient particulars. The judge may throw the whole divorce out due to ‘no case to answer’.

If you are a Defendant, you are advised to discuss your circumstances with an experienced Divorce Lawyer, rather than to simply agree to anything that is written in the Statement of Particulars against you.

Proceeding to fight in the Divorce Trial and Fees Involved

When the Defendant receives the divorce papers with all types of allegations from the spouse, 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 divorce 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]
  • (3) 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]
  • (4) 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 Divorce Trial date
    [S$450 per session; S$4,500 to capped S$6,500 to prepare all trial papers]
  • (5) Parties (with their witnesses, if any) will attend Contested Divorce 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 Interim Judgment 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 hearing is hostile and unpleasant, especially where there are children in the marriage. 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 divorce trial is beneficial or whether practicality of costs saving shall prevail. Call us at 62203400 for a fixed fee quotation.


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