Specialist Divorce & Family Lawyer
YEO & Associates LLC Pte Ltd.
  • Divorce Solicitors & Divorce Advice
  • Annulment
  • Cost of Divorce in Singapore
  • Grounds For Divorce
  • How to Get a Divorce
  • Divorce FAQs

Divorce Solicitors & Divorce Advice

Confidential divorce advice from an experienced lawyer

Need advice for divorce? Call us for a free 30 minute telephone appointment to talk through your situation we our lawyers will explain your options to you and how we can help.

Our lawyers at Yeo & Associates LLC are friendly, approachable and knowledgeable.

As divorce solicitors our aim is to make the process of divorce as straight-forward as possible. We will provide sound legal advice on your particular situation and explain all the options open to you.

Whilst the process of getting a divorce can be quite simple, agreeing a financial settlement, dividing property and matters involving children can be more difficult to resolve. It is important that you have access to information and advice so that you are able to make informed choices.

As one of the largest and most experienced teams of divorce lawyers in Singapore you will get expert advice throughout your case.

Having dealt with tens of thousands of divorces we know that every relationship is different and needs to be dealt with on an individual basis. That is why each client will be served by at least 2 dedicated lawyers and 1 manager to handle your case from start to finish.

Whether you need advice on the process of getting a divorce, want someone to complete and file all of the relevant paperwork or have received divorce papers from your spouse or their solicitor and need advice on how you should respond, we can help.

Annulment

How is a marriage annulled?

Annulment is a declaration by the court that a marriage was not legally valid or had become legally invalid. Under Singapore law an annulment may be granted for a number of different reasons, including if the marriage has not been consummated, if either party was already married at the time of your marriage and other more technical legal reasons.

The grounds for obtaining an annulment are not always straight-forward and you will need to discuss your particular circumstances in detail with a family lawyer who specialises in this area of law.

You must apply to the court to annul the marriage by presenting a ‘Writ for Nullity” within a reasonable period of time, and in many cases this will be within three years of the marriage.

There is no requirement to have been married for at least 12 months before applying.

 

How long does it take and how much does it cost?

If you are eligible and the case is uncontested (i.e. both parties agree to the annulment) it will take between 4 to 6 months to process.

Unlike divorce, which, if it is uncontested is usually done on paper and requires neither party to attend Court, for an annulment you will have to make a court appearance.

In a case which is uncontested and will be heard in the Family Justice Courts, we can arrange an annulment for a fixed fee of S$2,500.00 (inclusive of GST and Court fees).

In some cases, another party can oppose the annulment – this can sometimes result in your lawyer needing to obtain and produce for court of lot of additional evidence and in some instances the court case is long and involved too. In these circumstances talk to Yeo & Associates LLC about handling your case on an hourly rate basis.

Cost of Divorce in Singapore

Understanding the costs of divorce

From a legal perspective, divorce is simply the ending of a contract in law. It involves the completion of certain items of paperwork which have to be filed with the courts. The courts levy a fee for handling this paperwork, currently around S$350.00. There will also be the cost of any advice you obtain from a lawyer and their help in completing the divorce paperwork.

 

If you are divorcing someone

If you initiate the divorce you will be known as the Plaintiff. Your lawyer will need to prepare the writ for divorce and certain other paperwork on your behalf. As you are initiating the divorce you will be asked to pay the Court fees as well as your lawyers’ fees. At Yeo & Associates LLC, we do this work for a fixed fee of S$1,500.00, which includes the Court fees and GST.

 

If someone is divorcing you

If you are the Defendant in a divorce (i.e. your spouse has initiated divorce proceedings) and where the divorce is uncontested, Yeo & Associates LLC offers a fixed fee of S$500.00 to handle the divorce on your behalf. This includes Court fees and GST. You do not have to pay Court fees, this is payable by your spouse who has initiated the divorce. For more complex cases your divorce lawyer will be able to give you a clear estimate on the cost of carrying out this work for you.

 

Splitting the costs

Most people have to pay these costs themselves, although some couples going through an amicable divorce choose to split the costs between them.

 

Beyond the divorce

Very few cases, however, involve only the divorce paperwork. In most marriages there is a marital home, money in a joint account or savings scheme, pensions held by one or both parties, and other financial issues which need to be agreed on. These can include division of household furniture, who will keep the family car, pets and so on.

In a marriage in which children are involved, there is also likely to be agreement needed as to which parent the children shall live with, and contact arrangements with the other parent.

If both parties can agree on how to split finances and/or arrangements for the children, a case can be very simple and may not require the parties to attend court. In these circumstances, your lawyer will ensure your agreement is a legally-binding document that both parties can then sign for the court’s approval.

But most people will need help from an experienced divorce lawyer to assist them in knowing what to negotiate for.

 

Can’t agree?

In some cases, a couple cannot agree even with the help of their lawyer and decide to let the Family Justice Courts deal with issues. This is when costs can begin to escalate.

It is worthwhile understanding at the outset that, in addition to the lawyers’ fees, you will need to budget anything between S$1,500 to S$2,000 for the following:

  • • Court fees.
  • • Valuer’s fees in respect of the matrimonial home, other properties, policies and assets.
  • • Fees paid to pension fund managers for transfer value figures and other calculations.
  • • Fees paid to banks and credit card companies for copy statements, if not available.
  • • Fees paid to the IRAS for copy tax documents, if not available.
  • • Fees paid to independent financial advisers for advice on how to manage your financial affairs.
  • • Fees paid to actuaries to calculate pension sharing figures.

 

Need further help or advice?

Call +65 6220 3400
for Expert Family Law Advice

 

What are your rights when you divorce?

Getting a divorce is fairly straightforward. It is the issues like agreeing a financial settlement, dividing property and matters involving children which can take time to sort out. This is why it is important to take qualified legal advice from someone specialising in family and divorce law, at an early stage.

Married couples have certain rights in law but the specifics of a case will need to be examined by an experienced family lawyer to assess any claims or liabilities if an amicable agreement cannot be reached.

These are some of the common ‘rights’ which may come into question during separation or divorce.

 

Property rights

Much here will depend on how the property is owned and whether it is in joint names. It can also be affected by any prenuptial or co-habiting agreement drawn up when you first acquired the property. Basically, if you are married you have a right of occupation. Whether or not your name is on the deeds, you have the right to live there and not to be excluded, for instance by the other party changing the locks.

If you are married and have children living with you, you may be able to secure the right to live in the property until the children have left school.

In any situation, if your partner is trying to force you out of the house you should take legal advice straight away.

 

Financial settlements

There are no hard and fast rules regarding your financial rights in the breakdown of a relationship or how a divorce settlement will be calculated.

If you are better equipped to “re-generate” your finances than the other party, you may well receive less than they do. It can appear that you are losing out because you have worked hard, but this is the way a court is likely to deal with things.

There will often be a range of possible solutions to dividing the assets, and it is important that you explain fully to your lawyer your own preferences within that range. It may be that you can come to an amicable agreement with your partner. If you can’t agree however you have the right to invite the court to decide on a division of the assets with your partner.

Your lawyer will guide you through the factors that the court may take into account, such as the age of the parties, the length of the relationship, jointly and individually held assets (including property), your income and pension provisions. Sorting out these arrangements with your former partner outside the bounds of the court will save time, money and additional headache.

If there are children from the relationship, generally speaking, the court will give priority to whoever is caring for them, and will try to address the reasonable needs of the parties for things like housing.

It can sometimes seem as though men have fewer rights than women or that Court favours women due to Women’s Charter. This will often be a result of any children living with their mother, who earns less, has a lower mortgage capacity and less pension provision than the other spouse.

 

The rights of children

The law is very clearly based upon the rights of the children, rather than those of the parents. In broad terms, it is considered to be their right to have a relationship with both parents.

If you were married, you will have parental responsibility for the children and this will give you the right to access information and make decisions on their behalf, for example about the health and education.

If the couple are not married, only the mother has automatic parental responsibility in all cases. Full details on this important issue are covered in the Parents Rights Section.

It is often perceived that fathers do not really have any rights and it can be very difficult sometimes for the courts to intervene in an effective way if the parent with whom the child is living is determined to resist there being any contact.

But the courts can and do take steps, such as changing residence arrangements. They can even send a disobedient parent with care to prison if they wilfully and repeatedly ignore an order of the Court.

 

Grounds For Divorce

The reasons for divorce

To apply to get a divorce under the laws of Singapore, you must have been married for more than three (3) years and you will be required to demonstrate good reasons for wanting to end your marriage. There are 5 reasons that can be used (known as facts in law but generally referred to as the grounds for divorce) which demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. You can give one of the following reasons:
 

Unreasonable behaviour

This involves showing that your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you can no longer live with them. If you are using this ground for divorce you will be required to note in the Writ for Divorce examples of their behaviour.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the court doesn’t insist on really severe allegations of unreasonable behaviour in order to grant a divorce. Relatively mild allegations such as devoting too much time to a career, having no common interests or pursuing a separate social life may suffice. Using mild allegations may make it easier to agree the contents of the petition with your husband or wife and avoid prolonged debate about the divorce grounds.

Unreasonable behaviour is now the most common ground used to apply for divorce in Singapore.

Adultery

You must prove through actual admission or through sufficient circumstantial evidence that your husband or wife has had sexual intercourse with another person of the opposite sex and that you find it intolerable to go on living with them. If a sexual liaison short of sexual intercourse has taken place, it is suggested that the unreasonable behaviour ground is used instead.

If you carry on living with your husband or wife for more than 6 months after you found out about their adultery you can’t give adultery as the reason for your divorce.

The person who has committed adultery cannot use this ground.

Three years’ separation

You have lived apart for at least three (3) years and you both agree to the divorce. Agreement must be in writing.

Four years’ separation

You have lived apart for at least four (4) years. In this instance, you do not need the agreement of your husband or wife. However, the usual Writ for Divorce procedure still applies to obtain your Certificate for Divorce.

Desertion

This is where your spouse has left you without your agreement for a continuous period of at least two (2) years. This fact is almost never used. However, in recent years, there is a surge of such cases where a spouse of another nationality returned back to his/her home country without informing the other spouse of the intention not to return to Singapore.

 

What is involved in a divorce?

Sometimes there is a misunderstanding about what actually is involved in a divorce, in legal terms. Put simply, a divorce is just the ending of the legal contract between a husband and wife.

A divorce case and the costs involved DO NOT automatically include the costs of sorting out matters in relation to children, for example getting agreement on where they will live, or the thorny issue of finances. These will be dealt with by separate legal proceedings unless an agreement is reached amicably between the two parties.

How to Get a Divorce

The Divorce Process Explained

To get a divorce you must have been married for more than three (3) years. The procedure for obtaining a divorce under the divorce law of Singapore follows a sequential set of steps with various documents completed and filed at Family Justice Courts. Problems tend to arise when documents are completed incorrectly or there is disagreement between the parties involved.

If you appoint Yeo & Associates LLC to handle your divorce, your lawyer will complete all the paperwork on your behalf, provide advice and guidance at each of the steps and where necessary handle communication with your spouse and the solicitors on the other side of your case. This is covered in our fixed price divorce service.

For help with the divorce process contact Yeo & Associates LLC and speak with one of our divorce lawyers today.

 

The Divorce Process

Step One – Filing the divorce application

This step is the request to the court to start a divorce. The application contains the details of both parties and the reason for seeking the divorce – which has to be one of the five Grounds for Divorce.

The person applying for the divorce is referred to as the Plaintiff. The other party is referred to as the Defendant. If there is a third party, they are referred to as a Co-Defendant.

The divorce application, together with the marriage certificate are sent to the Court to start the divorce process.

Step Two – Service of the application

To apply to get a divorce under the

Step Three – Acknowledging service of the application

To apply to get a divorce under the

Step Four – Confirming the facts in your application

To apply to get a divorce under the

Step Five – Pronouncement of Interim Judgment

To apply to get a divorce under the

Step Six – Application for the Final Judgment for Divorce (Certificate of Divorce)

Six weeks and one day after the Interim Judgment is pronounced the Plaintiff can apply for the Final Judgment for Divorce i.e. the Certificate for Divorce. There is a standard application form. Only once this has been granted and sealed are the parties officially divorced.

If the Plaintiff fails to apply for the Final Judgment for Divorce, the Defendant can apply three (3) months later.

Step Seven – Receipt of the Final Judgment for Divorce (Certificate of Divorce)

Only once the Final Judgment for Divorce has been granted and sealed by the Family Justice Courts are the parties officially divorced. This is an important document and it should be kept in a safe place.

 

How long does a divorce take?

In a straight-forward case where both parties agree the grounds for divorce and complete and return paperwork quickly a case takes on average 4 – 6 months, and neither party has to appear in court at any stage.

If the parties cannot agree or delays are made in the completion and return of papers to the Courts this can extend the time it takes to complete a divorce.

Divorce FAQs

Divorce Questions Answered

Q. How much does a divorce cost?

A. This will depend whether you start the divorce or are responding to divorce papers. At Yeo & Associates LLC, we charge S$1,500.00 plus GST and court fees if you start the divorce and S$500 plus GST if you are responding to a divorce.

These figures assume that you both agree to divorce and that there are no disputes about the division of your finances or care for your children. Additional charges may apply if you need help to reach agreement in these things.

Take advantage of our 30 minute telephone appointment to discuss your situation. Call 6220 3400 or request a call today.

Q. Can we separate formally without getting a divorce?

A. Yes. If you have decided to separate, but do not want to consider a divorce for the time being, a Deed of Separation or Deed of Financial Agreement in Contemplation of Divorce is strongly recommended.

Such an agreement sets out what you both agree should happen to the matrimonial home, and all the other assets such as savings and investments, endowment policies and pension funds. This means that there are no ‘loose ends’ which can cause problems later. Also, maintenance for children can be agreed in such a document. The courts can enforce all aspects of a separation agreement if necessary.

Q. Will I have to appear in court to get a divorce?

A. In the case of an uncontested divorce you will not be required to appear in Court. A court appearance will only normally be necessary if you cannot agree a financial settlement and the case goes to a hearing or if you cannot agree the arrangements for looking after your children.

Q. Can I get divorced?

A. If you have been married for more than three (3) years and can demonstrate grounds for divorce you can start a divorce.

Q. How long does it take to get a divorce?

A. If the case is straightforward and you are both in agreement a divorce will normally take between 4 and 6 months. The process of obtaining a divorce is explained in “How to get a divorce”.

Q. What if I don’t agree to the divorce?

A. You can object to the grounds on which a divorce is being sought. This is known as contesting a divorce and is explained in our Contested divorce explained blog post.

It is not uncommon for people to disagree with the reasons for divorce stated on the divorce application, however this rarely results in a fully contested divorce being dealt with in court hearings. It is more common for this to be sorted out in correspondence between the parties and their solicitors. The Parties may seek to amend each other reasons for divorce to both parties’ satisfaction. However, parties should bear in mind that the Family Justice Courts retains the final say in pronouncing a divorce and should the contents be insufficient for the Court to allow the divorce, parties will have to refile the divorce application. To prevent such situation from occurring, speak to one of our specialist divorce lawyers at Yeo & Associates LLC or call 62203400 directly.

Q. What is ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in divorce?

A. Unreasonable behaviour is the most common of the facts used for demonstrating a marriage has irretrievably broken down (see Grounds for divorce). It involves giving examples of behaviours that demonstrate the relationship has broken down and you are no longer able to live together. Reasons can be as mild as refusing to spend time together or having no common interests.

Q. Does it matter what grounds are used for divorce?

A. Not really, although some of the grounds for divorce do rely on a period of separation (see Grounds for divorce). Some people think that if adultery is used as the reason for divorce this somehow influences things like where the children will live or how assets are divided. This is rarely the case.

Q. Does it matter who starts the divorce?

A. There are a number of things to consider here:

Cost – the person who starts the divorce pays court fees. If you are in agreement about getting a divorce you may choose to share all of the costs involved, therefore this would not be a factor.

Legal jurisdiction – If you or your partner might be able to apply for divorce in another country it could be very important who applies as in some countries the law allows for more favourable settlements or treats the care of children from a marriage differently. This could mean you need to be the one to start the divorce, so that you choose which country’s laws apply. We can offer specialist advice in this area – call 62203400.


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YEO & Associates LLC Pte Ltd.