If you have lived with your spouse for 6 months after discovering of his/her affair, you can no longer use adultery as the reason for your divorce

Adultery as a Ground for Divorce - man and woman distraught after discovering one has committed adultery



Strictly speaking, there is only one ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.  Adultery is one of 5 facts relied on to prove the breakdown.  If you intend to rely on adultery as the basis of your divorce, you should understand the legal position.  We address some of them.


Can i use adultery if I have strong suspicions my spouse is committing adultery?  He behaves secretly all the time and comes home very late.

Suspicions of adultery is not sufficient to prove that your spouse has committed adultery.  For adultery to be used as a reason for divorce, you must prove to the court that your spouse had extramarital sex.  If you cannot prove adultery, but you have evidence that your spouse flirted or is physically close to someone else, you may rely on the alternative ground of “unreasonable behaviour” for your divorce.


Must I get actual proof of adultery?

It is almost impossible to catch someone “in the act.”  Hence, you are not required to provide evidence to prove that adultery took place.

If there are no actual photographs, how do you convince the court that adultery did take place?  This can be achieved by inference.  Usually, it will be sufficient evidence if you have a private investigator who reports that your spouse and the other person checked into a hotel, or your spouse spent the night in the other person’s house.

You can also prove adultery if your spouse confessed to it, or if you find incriminating emails.


I don’t know the name of the person he is committing adultery with. Can I still file for divorce?

The law  does not require the other person be named or identified.   You can still proceed to file for divorce based on adultery.  We also do not encourage you to name the ‘other person’ as it does not help you in your ancillary claims.


What about ‘cheating’ over the Internet?

As stated earlier, in order to qualify as “adultery”, there must be an actual, physical sexual relationship.  If your spouse is engaging in “distance relationship” with someone, it will not be considered as adultery.


Is it adultery if the extramarital sex occurred only a single time?



Can i file for adultery any time ?

If you have lived with your spouse for 6 months after discovering his/her affair, you can no longer use that adultery as the reason for your divorce.


Do I win more assets if I can prove adultery?

This is perhaps the greatest misconception regarding adultery law, and many aggrieved spouses are disappointed when they find out the legal position.

Many people have the mistaken belief that if they can prove that their spouse has committed adultery, the court will give them a greater share of the assets or that they will win care and control of the children.  This is not true.  When it comes to issues of children custody and division of matrimonial assets, the courts do not generally look at who was at fault.   Singapore does not focus on blame and fault in ancillary issues.

Generally speaking, as proving adultery will not advance your legal position with regards to children custody, division of matrimonial assets and maintenance, you should focus more on resolving the divorce instead of trying to find blame.

This is perhaps the reason why adultery is not so commonly cited as the reason for divorce.  There is little point in spending your resources in proving adultery as it has little or no impact on ancillary issues.



Unreasonable behaviour in Singapore  

Adultery as a Ground for Divorce





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