The law on getting a divorce in Singapore is governed by the Women’s Charter and common law. Here are some common questions that we get on getting a divorce in Singapore.
How long must I be married before I can apply for divorce in Singapore?
You must have been married for at least 3 years before you can file a Writ for divorce on the ground that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. If you are married for less than 3 years, you cannot file for divorce unless you you have obtained permission from the court. The court will only grant this permission if you have suffered exceptional hardship or if your spouse has been exceptionally cruel. It is not common for the courts to give permission.
Must I have some connection to Singapore?
You or your spouse must treated Singapore as your permanent abode (in legal terms, “domiciled”) at the commencement of the divorce proceedings. Alternatively, either of you must have resided in Singapore for 3 years immediately before the commencement of divorce proceedings. Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents are presumed to be domiciled in Singapore, so only non-Singaporeans and non-PRs need to prove domicile.
How do I show ‘irretrievable breakdown” in marriage.
The Court will only grant a divorce if you can prove that the marriage has “broken down irretrievably.” To prove this, you must show one or more of the following facts:
The Defendant (the person being sued) has committed adultery with another person (the Co-Defendant) and the Plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the Defendant.
The Defendant has behaved in such a way that the Plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with him/her.
The Defendant has deserted or left the Plaintiff for a continuous period of 2 years without any intention of returning.
Separation for 3 years
The Plaintiff and Defendant have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years and the Defendant agrees to a divorce.
Separation for 4 years
The Plaintiff and the Defendant have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 4 years. No consent is required from the Defendant.
Once you have obtained your divorce, and if there is no agreement on children, property and maintenance issues, the court process moves to the second stage. This is the stage where the court decides on ancillary issues such as children custody, property division and money issues.
Getting a divorce in Singapore
The legal system is fair, robust and plays an active role in encouraging couples to settle their differences. Divorce cases are not allowed to fester and drag on. The laws are fair and recognise that both men and women play important roles in the family setup. It is therefore not surprising that Singaporeans who live abroad and foreigners who are eligible choose Singapore as the forum to get their divorce. .
At PKWA Law, our team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore divorce lawyers by respected independent legal publications such as Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review, Global Law Experts and Doyle’s Guide to Singapore Family Lawyers.
Keen to discuss more? Kindly contact PKWA Law for your free consultation with our lawyers.