Divorce Lawyer In Singapore

There’s no denying the fact that divorce and other forms of family disputes can be exhausting for all parties involved. When you consider the fact that courts may not resolve certain issues, the whole process can feel overwhelming and stressful.

This is why it can be essential to not only find the ideal divorce lawyer for your case, but also educate yourself on how these disputes work. So, what do you need to know about divorce and the services available to help you get through it?

A brief explanation of how divorce works

To put it simply, a divorce is a legal procedure that terminates a marriage. When a judge grants a request of this kind, they will hand down an Interim Judgment of Divorce (more commonly known as an Interim Judgment), which marks the end of the first part of the process. This is because, while you have been deemed eligible, there are other issues that need to be addressed.

These are known ancillary matters, and they can involve several different things. Some of the most common ones include asset division, financial support and custody over children. These will be taken care of once the Interim Judgment has been granted. Once these matters have been handled, the court will grant the Final Judgment form. 

The two stages of divorce

Typically, both contested and uncontested divorces are a 2-stage process. The first half incorporates the different parts of the marriage’s termination, with the main one being the court’s decision on whether or not the decree is necessary. Both parties will receive their Interim Judgment only once this is done.

The second part of the process is ancillary matters, which we discussed earlier. Essentially, this stage is required to tie up all the loose ends and ensure that everything is settled. The final requirement is for both parties to receive a Certificate of Final Judgment Form and from here, the marriage has been officially and legally ended.

How do you apply for a divorce in Singapore?

The situation you are facing may not be the easiest, but it is possible to get a divorce. The proceedings can’t go through unless the couple has been married for at least 3 years, and are either citizens or have lived in Singapore for 3 years.

To apply before this amount of time has passed, you will need to have proof that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. A few factors that can allow a divorce to be granted earlier than the usual 3-year period include:

Other factors, like separation for a significant amount of time, can also be used by the court to determine whether or not a couple qualifies for divorce. In certain situations, you may even be able to apply for an annulment (which will not only end the marriage, but completely erase it).

It is worth noting that you can’t apply for a divorce in the FJC (Family Justice Courts) if you and your partner are Muslims or were married under Muslim law.

What do you need to know before getting a divorce?

One particular aspect that you may want to consider is that from the 21st of January 2018, those that don’t agree on a divorce and its terms and have a child under 21 years old will have to attend the MPP – Mandatory Parenting Programme. This is simply a consultation by the Ministry of Social and Family Development for parents before they file a divorce application.

The court can also direct couples to go to counselling and mediation to try and help both parties to reach a more suitable compromise. This could be a good way to settle any disputes that could cause complications during the procedure later on.

Mediation can be a good option for many couples that can’t otherwise reach an agreement, as well as offer them a chance to control the speed of the decision and work through their thoughts and feelings before going to court.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How are assets split in divorce, Singapore?

The good news is that, when it comes to dividing the assets between two individuals in a divorce, the main objective of the court is to make sure that all parties involved are treated fairly.

There are a few factors that the court may use to determine how assets are distributed; ranging from any agreement that the parties made about how the division of assets should be handled upon divorce, to the extent of contributions made toward the welfare of the family in general monetary terms (by each party).

What fees are involved with a divorce in Singapore?

2. What fees are involved with a divorce in Singapore? For the most part, the costs associated for an uncontested divorce in Singapore can be fairly inexpensive, generally ranging between $1,500 and $3,500. The fees may be quite a bit higher for a contested divorce (where both spouses are not happy with at least one term), and can be anywhere between $10,000 and $35,000.

It’s also worth noting that your lawyer’s GST and disbursements may be included in, or charged on top of, the initial fee quotation. Other related expenses can include consultation and the mandatory parenting programme, so it’s worth keeping these in mind.

Who gets custody of a child after a divorce in Singapore?

the court will issue joint custody to both parents, with primary care and control given to the mother. This is done to ensure that both parents play a role in their child’s life and development.

Of course, the welfare of the child will be one of the most important factors used to determine which parent the child should live with (and there are typically more things to consider too, such as the maternal bond between the mother and child, as she is often the primary caregiver during marriage).

Can a child decide who gets parental custody?

While it’s uncommon for a child to be given the choice of which parent they want to live with, their wishes may be taken into consideration – particularly if they’re mature and above the age of 10. Another point that may be worth mentioning is that siblings will generally not be separated. This isn’t always the case, as some parents may come to an alternative agreement, but most courts will aim to keep children together.

Will a divorce in Singapore take long?

The duration of the application process and court proceedings can often vary substantially between an uncontested and contested divorce. For the former, the process can often take at least 4 months to conclude, whereas the latter can take at least 18 months.

When it comes to saving time and hassle, it can be worth trying to come to an agreement that everyone is happy with.

How long after a divorce can you remarry in Singapore?

In most cases, those who want to remarry soon after divorce won’t have to wait too long at all. In fact, you can do so once you’ve obtained the Final Judgment Form, which you can apply for three months after an Interim Judgment (as long as the ancillary matters have been dealt with).

What happens in the case of international divorce?

An international divorce occurs when one or both parties are foreigners or where the marriage wasn’t held in Singapore. In these situations, the process can often be a little more challenging and it’s often best to get a good lawyer to help navigate through the complexities of the situation.

Many of the usual procedures will apply in an international divorce; from matrimonial jurisdiction (which will generally be the same), to assets (all of which, even those located overseas, can be divided by Singapore law if they are matrimonial assets).

Can you apply for an annulment in Singapore?

An annulment completely erases the marriage from existence (legally speaking), as a divorce may end the marriage but still acknowledge its existence. The procedure for an annulment can be different from a divorce, with one factor being that to annul a marriage you need to prove that it’s either void or voidable.

This could be if the marriage isn’t solemnized properly or even if it is between parties of the same gender. Additionally, for a marriage to be voidable, it has to be invalid yet able to exist unless annulled by one party.

Don’t forget to choose the right lawyer for your needs

Getting a divorce is rarely going to be an easy and stress-free situation. Combine this with the different procedures and legal requirements involved, and there’s no doubt that it can be an emotional and complicated event. Because of this, it can be essential to work with a lawyer who can help you throughout the journey.

With many years of experience in the industry and a rich understanding of the divorce process and its complexities, you can rely on our team of professionals to assist you.