Divorce Costs in Singapore
Depending on the nature of your divorce, the costs involved could differ substantially. The following article explores the moral and legal obligations involved, and how one may mitigate certain elements to avoid unnecessary or hefty legal costs.
Costs of Engaging a Lawyer
One major concern when going through a divorce is in the costs of engaging a law firm and lawyer. While it is possible to follow through with a divorce without the services of a lawyer, the complexity, time and effort required to ensure a divorce proper may end up costing more instead, often with the services of a lawyer engaged in the later stage to rectify earlier mistakes.
Legal costs generally may be categorized into 2 parts:
- Professional service charge: fees payable to lawyers for their advice, recommendations and representation
- Disbursements: Filing fees for the required legal documents, payable to the Courts or respective agencies
For Uncontested Divorces
Uncontested divorces refer to divorces whereby both spouses agree to the terms of their divorce. Matters concerning property, joint assets, children custody and maintenance, also collectively known as ancillary matters, are amiably agreed upon and resolved.
As the processes involved with uncontested divorces are simpler and more straightforward, many Singapore family law firms offer fixed fee packages for clients seeking such divorces. These packages usually include the costs for professional legal advice and disbursements.
The following list shows the items often included in such fixed fee divorce packages:
- Writing & filing of divorce papers
- Court fees
- Bankruptcy checks
- Commissioner of Oaths
- Photocopying, postage & miscellaneous fees
- Interim Judgement
- Final Judgement
An uncontested divorce generally takes about 4-5 months to be completed.
Expected costs: $1,500 to $2,900
For Contested Divorces
A contested divorce occurs when either spouse does not agree to the terms of their divorce. Matters of contention may include ancillary matters such as child custody and maintenance. As contested divorces often require much time and effort, it is usually not the recommended mode of recourse. Many law firms do not offer fixed fee packages as well because the amount of work required, and thus costs, are dependent on long and how complex the proceeding is.
For contested divorces, lawyers are paid by the hour. This may range from $350 upwards per hour.
Expected costs for a contested divorce: From $10,000 upwards.