A divorce in Singapore may be contested or uncontested. A divorce in Singapore is also generally a 2-stage process.
The first stage of a divorce in Singapore is mainly on getting the marriage officially terminated under Singapore law. A Judge with the Singapore Family Justice Courts will decide on this matter. Upon deeming that the marriage has broken down irrevocably and suitable for divorce, an Interim Judgement will be handed out to the parties involved.
The second stage of a divorce in Singapore mainly addresses the ‘ancillary matters’. ‘Ancillary matters’ are matters concerning joint assets, properties, child custody and maintenance. The list is non exhaustive. The parties involved in the divorce will receive a Final Judgement from the Singapore Family Justice Courts upon successful completion of this stage.
Before applying for a divorce, one needs to ensure if he or she is eligible for a divorce in the first place.
First stage – Getting your marriage officially terminated
The person applying for a divorce is known as the Plaintiff under Singapore law. His or her spouse is known as the Defendant. If there is a case of adultery involved, the third party (person who committed adultery with the Defendant) is known as the Co-Defendant.
Before the start of a divorce proceeding, the Plaintiff’s legal representatives will submit Standard Queries Forms to the Housing Development Board (HDB) and Central Provident Fund (CPF). The process will take approximately a month. The reason for this process is for HDB to ensure that regulations governing joint-named flats are not flouted.
A divorce proceeding may be put in place with the submission of the following documents to the Singapore Family Justice Courts:
- Writ for divorce
- Statement of claim
- Statement of particulars
- Proposed parenting plan
- Proposed matrimonial property plan
- Acknowledgement of service
- Memorandum of appearance
Second stage – Ancillary matters
In the second stage a hearing for ancillary matters will take place. Issues regarding child custody, maintenance, joint assets and properties will be addressed during this stage. A mediation session may be set up for the parties involved to reach an amiable agreement.
Once issues on ancillary matters have been resolved, or 3 months from the date of obtaining Interim Judgement, whichever is later, the Plaintiff may proceed to submit the relevant documents to obtain the Final Judgement Order.