To get a divorce in Singapore, you have to satisfy certain pre-requisites. For example, you must have been married for at least three years and be living in Singapore.
During the process certain forms and documents have to be filed at the Family Justice Courts within a certain time and in a certain order. Problems can arise when documents are completed incorrectly or if the wrong document is filed.
A divorce can be uncontested or contested. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to the divorce as well as matters relating to custody of children, division of property and maintenance. In a contested divorce one party does not agree to the divorce or the grounds of the divorce as filed. This could protract and complicate the process.
The divorce process in Singapore comprises a two-step procedure:
The first step deals with the termination of the marriage itself. Here, the Court will decide whether the marriage should be dissolved. If it decides that the divorce should be dissolved, parties will receive an Interim Judgment.
The second step deals with ancillary matters. This involves the division of matrimonial assets, custody of children, and spousal or child maintenance. At the end of this stage, parties will receive a Final Judgment.
At Yeo Law, we have a team of experienced and resourceful lawyers poised to handle your divorce matter from beginning to end. We will complete all the paperwork on your behalf, provide advice and guidance at each step and handle communications with your spouse and their solicitors for a fixed fee.
This step consists of a request to the Court to start divorce proceedings. The application contains the details of both parties and the reason for seeking the divorce – which has to be one of the prescribed grounds recognised by law. These include adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion and living apart.
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.
Documents to be filed include a Writ, a Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars.
Once the application has been filed, it has to be served on the defendant, either personally or via other means if personal service is not possible.
The Defendant then has to decide if they want to contest the divorce and if they want to be heard on the ancillary matters involving issues arising from the marriage.
In a straight-forward case where both parties agree on the grounds for divorce and complete and return paperwork quickly, a case can take on average four to six 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 Court, this can extend the time it takes to complete a divorce.
Though it is possible to file for a divorce without engaging a lawyer, you will have to take responsibility for all legal, procedural and formal requirements of conducting court proceedings and the Family Justice Courts cannot help or advise you.
It would therefore be prudent to engage legal help to navigate this complex and often emotional process. At Yeo Law you will be able to find the help you need from our large and versatile team. Our lawyers are experienced in all aspects of divorce law and have a good track record of successful outcomes. We are also highly skilled in the art of negotiation and are known for our patience, diligence and ability to get the best results for our clients.
A flowchart setting out the steps in a typical Divorce Process is set out below.