Singapore Divorce FAQ

Singapore Divorce FAQ

Singapore Divorce FAQ on issues relating to Singapore Divorce by Loh Eben Ong LLP, Singapore Divorce Lawyers. This Singapore Divorce FAQ explore issues relating to divorce proceedings, nuptial agreements, ancillary matters, separation and children of the marriage. Singapore Divorce FAQ

Singapore Divorce FAQ

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Divorce Proceedings (13)

There is only one ground for Divorce, i.e. that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. To prove this, you must show one or more of the 5 factual situations:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Separation for 3 years with consent
  • Separation for 4 years without consent


By Adultery, this means that your spouse has committed adultery, and you find it intolerable to live with him or her.

Unreasonable Behaviour

For Unreasonable behaviour, it means that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her.


By Desertion, it means that your spouse has deserted you for at least two years.

3 Years’ Separation with Consent

For 3 years’ Separation, it means that your spouse agrees to the divorce, that you and your spouse have been separated for at least three years.

4 Years’ Separation without Consent

For 4 years’ Separation, it means that  your spouse does not agree to the divorce, that you and your spouse have been separated for at least four years.

You will be granted a divorce only if a Judge of the Family Justice Courts agrees that your marriage has ended. In other words, the Judge must hold the opinion that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. (Reference section 95 of the Women’s Charter)

It usually comprise of 2 parties, namely,

  • the Plaintiff (the spouse filing the Application; and
  • the Defendant (the other spouse)

If the Divorce is based on the factual situation of Adultery, the 3rd Party may be named in the Application (Writ for divorce) and he or she is known as the “Co-Defendant”.

Singapore courts generally have jurisdiction over proceedings for divorce, judicial separation or nullity of marriage only if either of the parties to the marriage is:

  • Domiciled in Singapore at the start of proceedings
  • Habitually resident in Singapore for at least three years before the start of proceedings.

No writ for divorce can be filed unless at the date of filing, 3 years have passed since the date of the marriage. There are exceptions, for example, a writ for divorce can be filed before 3 years years have passed on the grounds of exceptional hardship suffered by the claimant or exceptional depravity on the part of the defendant.

Foreign Marriages

A foreign marriage may be treated as invalid for lack of capacity or other grounds of invalidity under the law of the place where the marriage took place. Formal validity of a foreign marriage is governed by the law of the place where the marriage was carried out.

A foreign marriage is valid under Singapore law if both parties have capacity to marry under the laws of their respective country.

Foreign Civil partnerships

Singapore does not recognise civil partnerships. Marriages between persons of the same gender are void under the Women’s Charter.

Mediation is currently available in Singapore to resolve family disputes. Mediation can be conducted by a judge-mediator at the Family Resolution Chambers (or Maintenance Mediation Chambers, for maintenance issues) for disputes relating to:

  • Divorce
  • Custody, care and control of children
  • Maintenance
  • Division of matrimonial assets.

Contested divorce and ancillary matters hearings take a long time, are much more costly, and can be acrimonious. It is best for you, your spouse and your children if you are able to agree on how to move forward with a divorce, and come to certain consensus.

The Family Relations Centre of the Family Court is dedicated to helping you and your spouse come to an amicable arrangement on the divorce and ancillary matters. You can make a request for a Resolution Conference with a Judge of the Family Relations Centre.

You can also make a request for counselling at the Family and Juvenile Justice Centre of the Family Court.

It is advisable to consider if you wish to remain married to your wife, and also the ancillary issues relating to the children, property and maintenance.

You should not oppose simply because of emotion, pride or anger, as opposition to a divorce will lead to unwanted consequences, such as  acrimony, emotional distress, increased legal costs and expense.

If you wish to defend the divorce, you should ensure that you followed the proper court procedures by defending the divorce. You should file a Memorandum of Appearance and a Defence within the relevant time period.

If you simply ignore the Court case, the Court may decide the application without you. You may find that your marriage has been legally ended, and that certain orders have been made on the children, property and maintenance. These orders will still be binding on you even if you were not at the Court hearing.

If you only wish to deal with the ancillary matter, you should file the Memorandum of Appearance indicating which issues you wish to be heard on. After the Interim Judgment, the Court will call an Ancillary Matters case conference, and ask you to file an Affidavit of Assets and Means.

You may proceed to commence your Singapore divorce application, but you will need to serve the relevant court papers on your spouse (the Defendant) in accordance with the relevant rules of Court.

If you have been married for less than three years, and want to apply for a divorce, you must get the Court’s permission to make your divorce application, called leave of Court.

Leave of Court will be given if you can prove that:-

  • you have suffered exceptional hardship during your marriage, or
  • your spouse has behaved with exceptional depravity, meaning that he or she
    has behaved unusually badly

The Court will consider whether it is still possible for you and your spouse to reconcile. The Court will also consider the interests of your children, if there are any.

You must apply for leave of Court by Originating Summons. The Originating Summons must be supported by an affidavit.

Yes, you need to satisfy the following:-

  • Domicile
  • 3 years’ restriction
  • monogamous marriage

You may prepare your own divorce documents and file through a eLitigation service bureau, or engage a lawyer to represent you.

As there are complex court procedures and documents, it is advisable that you engage a lawyer, but if you can’t afford a lawyer, you may wish to approach the Legal Aid Bureau for assistance.

To commence the divorce proceedings, you will need to Writ for Divorce, Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars in the Family Justice Courts. Please also not that the Courts cannot give you any legal advice on the divorce law or the procedures.

The Family Justice Act 2014 established a comprehensive new structure, known as theFamily Justice Courts, to adjudicate on and resolve all family law matters. The FamilyJustice Courts consist of the:

  • Family Courts
  • Youth Courts
  • Family Division of the High Court.

These courts handle all family-related proceedings including divorces, children and parental rights, juveniles and youths, probate, succession and mental capacity proceedings.

For the Plaintiff to commence the Divorce Proceedings in Singapore, he or she will need to file the following documnts to the Court:-

  1. Writ of Divorce
  2. Statement of Claim
  3. Statement of Particulars
  4. Matrimonial Property Plan
  5. Parenting Plan

All documents for the divorce proceedings have to be filed electronically through your lawyers or a service bureau. After filing of the above documents, the Plaintiff will serve on the Defendant.

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Singapore Divorce FAQ

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