A divorce through the Singapore Family Justice Courts may be available to you if you are living outside Singapore, or are living in Singapore but originally from other parts of the world. There are added complexities to a divorce in such cases at Yeo & Associates LLC we call this an Expat Divorce.
You may need an expat divorce:
There may be other circumstances where an ‘expat divorce’ or international divorce law applies. There are some complex legal issues to consider so it always best to take advice from a lawyer experienced in issues of jurisdiction, international divorce issues, international relocation of children.
The expats have to ask where you and your spouse are ‘domiciled’ (see below) and where you are habitually resident (normally live) before they may qualify to divorce in Singapore.
Domicile is a legal concept used to link an individual with a particular legal system. It takes into account where you were born as well as where you are living now and your intentions for the future. Our lawyers will be able to advise you, whether you are eligible for a divorce through the Singapore Family Justice Courts and in straight-forward situations may be able to do this during a half hour telephone appointment.
Yeo & Associates LLC offers a special fixed price divorce service for an expat divorce in the situations described above. In cases of uncontested divorce we can handle your divorce from start to finish, preparing all the necessary paperwork, filing papers at the court and considering all issues of jurisdiction (i.e. which country’s laws apply). We have the expertise to also advise on post-divorce matters for instance, to “de-register” the divorce in the Courts different states of Malaysia; or recognise a Singapore Court Order in the Philippines where the court system only allows nullity; or resealing of a Singapore Court Order in the District Courts in China in various provinces.
Using the Singapore legal system is often much quicker, cheaper and more effective than attempting to use the local jurisdiction especially if your marriage involves HDB flats or properties in Singapore. Once the application for divorce commenced in Singapore Family Justice Courts, there are many instances expats are prevented from applying for divorce in the country to which they have moved.
Our detailed case assessment is appropriate in these circumstances to ensure you receive the best possible advice.
There are some limitations on what can be ordered through the Singapore court system for instance with regard to foreign owned property, depending on whether any potential orders for its sale or transfer are capable of being enforced in the country in which they are held. This is a highly difficult and procedural area of the law and advice should be sought from the outset to determine other ways in which such property can be dealt with, such as offsetting a party’s interest in other assets of the marriage in order that such property can be retained. That said if an agreement can be reached between the parties as to a sale or transfer of that foreign property, the Court here will approve it.
The Courts are dealing with an increased number of applications by parents who wish to relocate to another country with their child or children. We are now becoming more mobile across national boundaries and mixed nationality relationships become more common.
This is a very complex area of law as this set of questions and answers aims to demonstrate.
If there is a Custody, care and control and access Order in your favour in respect of the child concerned, you may take the child out of Singapore for a temporary period e.g. a holiday less than one month. If you want to relocate to another country permanently, you must either:
You should instruct a family lawyer who will be able to give you detailed legal advice about the right to remove your child out of the jurisdiction and deal with the application.
If a child is taken out of Singapore without the agreement from everyone who has parental responsibility or the Court’s permission via a court order, this is technically known as “child abduction”. The non-custodial parent or person with Parental Responsibility may apply to the Court to have the child returned to Singapore.
If the country where the child has been taken to has signed The Hague Convention then the child will be returned to their country of residence. If the country where the child was taken has not signed The Hague Convention then any application will be dealt with in that country’s courts.