Glossary on Singapore Divorce, Nullity, Separation, Adoption and Family Law



A person who starts the divorce proceedings and. This person then becomes “a party” to the proceedings. Once papers are sent to the other person(s) involved or their lawyer, they are referred to as the Defendant (to the application).




Voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other but one or both of whom is or are married.

It is a fact that may be used to prove the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage and therefore secure a jJudgment of divorce. Adultery can only be committed between […]




A decree of nullity is a legal statement asserting that a marriage is not valid. This is available in circumstances where a marriage is void or voidable. Unlike divorce, it is not necessary to have been married for three years to obtain a Judgment of Nullity.


Voidable marriage


A marriage that is missing one or more of the normal elements of a marriage. A voidable marriage exists until a decree of nullity is obtained.

Voidable marriage2016-02-09T16:52:28+08:00

Void marriage


A marriage which is not valid and is treated as though it never existed.

Void marriage2016-02-09T16:51:09+08:00

Unreasonable behaviour


Is a fact which may be used to prove the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage and secure a divorce.

Unreasonable behaviour2016-02-09T16:50:42+08:00

Non-matrimonial property


Property that is unlikely to be shared between the parties on the breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership unless it is required to meet needs. Generally non-matrimonial property is:

  • Acquired by one party before the marriage
  • Acquired by one party by gift
  • Inherited by one party
Non-matrimonial property2016-02-09T16:47:16+08:00

Matrimonial property


Generally speaking, all property acquired by the parties after the marriage, unless it is non-matrimonial property. Non-matrimonial property is usually property inherited by a party or received by that party as a gift, as well as pre-marital property.

Matrimonial property2016-02-09T16:46:25+08:00

Matrimonial home


The house that a married couple occupy together, as their main home.

Matrimonial home2016-02-09T16:45:37+08:00



In the context of family, maintenance (also known as periodical payments) comprises regular income payments to support a former spouse, a child or dependant parent.


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