Issues in a Contentious Divorce in Singapore


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Issues in a Contentious Divorce in Singapore

A divorce is an emotionally difficult process and understandably so. Parties to a divorce not only have to deal with the end of a marriage and relationship, they also have to worry about other issues such as finances, where to live, and how the divorce might affect the children.

It does not help that some divorces tend to be more acrimonious than others. If your divorce is a highly contentious and stressful one, do take note of what the commonly disputed topics are:


1. Whose fault is it?

No one likes to be blamed for the failure of a marriage. As such it is common for parties to go through the divorce proceedings trying to prove that the dissolution of the marriage was due to the fault of the other party.

To reduce acrimony and to save both parties time and costs, it is advisable to water down the particulars of fault so that your spouse will be more agreeable to the divorce. Alternatively, to remove the fault component completely, parties may consider a separation of 3 or 4 years before filing for divorce.

The Singapore Courts will usually encourage parties to look beyond who is at fault and instead find common ground to allow the divorce to proceed with as little acrimony as possible.


2. Custody of children

The topic of custody, care and control, and access to children is undoubtedly the most difficult issue to deal with during a divorce.

In many contentious divorce cases, it is common for parties to fight for the custody of the children. Whilst most parents do so because they believe they are the better parent; others fight for custody simply out of spite towards the other parent. In such situations, it is helpful to have a good divorce lawyer, one who is able to mediate and encourage parents to act in the best interests of the children.

In Singapore, it is increasingly common for marriages to involve a non-Singapore resident – i.e. either between a Singaporean and non-resident, or between two non-residents. When a foreigner is involved, the issue of which country the child shall live in after the divorce will often arise. It is important to note that a parent shall only be allowed to relocate overseas with the child when consent of the other parent is sought. In the absence of the said consent, permission must be sought from Court. When determining matters pertaining to custody, care and control, and access to children during a divorce, the paramount consideration for the Singapore Courts is the welfare and best interests of the children.

As international and cross border divorces involving children are often highly complex, it is crucial to engage a divorce lawyer with the skill, compassion, and patience to assist parties in reaching an agreed outcome.


3. Spousal and Child Maintenance

Maintenance is considered a form of financial support. Under Section 69 of the Women’s Charter (Cap. 353) you can apply for maintenance:

  • For your child, from the other parent, if he or she neglects or refuses to provide the child with reasonable maintenance;
  • For yourself, from your husband, if you are a married woman whose husband neglects or refuses to provide you with reasonable maintenance;
  • For yourself, from your wife, if you are an incapacitated husband whose wife has neglected or refused to provide you with reasonable maintenance; or
  • For yourself, from your parent, if you are over 21 and you are still a full-time NSman or student.

As spousal maintenance can be paid over many years, the need to pay maintenance and the amount to be paid is usually argued upon heavily between parties undergoing a divorce.

Whilst most parties to a divorce are usually agreeable to provide maintenance for their child, disputes often arise when one party has been defaulting on payment and/or not paying an equal share. The fact that the maintenance sum is usually paid directly to the parent having care and control of the child further complicates the issue of maintenance as the paying party may feel that his/her ex-spouse is not using the monies for the child’s benefit and living expenses.  


4. Division of matrimonial assets

In contentious divorces, the division of matrimonial assets is a difficult issue that parties have to deal with. It is important to note that though the Singapore Courts divide matrimonial assets in a “fair and equitable” way, what is fair and equitable in the eyes of the law may not always seem fair and equitable to the parties involved.

It is common for parties to worry about not having a place to stay after the divorce. As such, when it comes to the division of the matrimonial property, it is often not easy for parties to come to an agreement with regard to who should retain ownership of the property and/or how the sale proceeds of the property should be divided.

In Singapore, it is common for couples to own either a HDB flat or a private property. If the matrimonial property is a HDB flat, parties must consider if the flat can be sold, whether it has to be returned to HDB, or if either party can retain the ownership of it. This issue is further complicated if the party who intends to retain the HDB flat is unqualified to retain it or lacks the financial means to service the mortgage.

In our experience with large and complex divorce cases, the most challenging and difficult cases usually involve private companies, trusts, assets in multiple jurisdictions and assets that are hidden. To ensure that the valuation of these assets is as fair and precise as possible, divorce lawyers will need to work closely with accountants and valuers. In such situations, it is important to have a good divorce lawyer, one who is able to articulate clearly what your share of assets should be, while taking into account the law, the circumstances of your case, and also both your direct and indirect contributions.




We understand that a divorce can be a daunting process. If you are going through a divorce, stay calm, be mindful of the commonly disputed topics above and engage the services of a good divorce lawyer. It may be tough now, but you will find yourself in a better place in time to come.


Contact Quick Divorce today

The divorce lawyers at Quick Divorce can help you to achieve a quick and friendly uncontested divorce if you wish to avoid a contentious divorce in Singapore.  Call us at 6854-3111.

5 reasons why you need a good lawyer in a simplified uncontested divorce




In Singapore, parties can consider simplified uncontested divorce proceedings if an agreement on the divorce and ancillary matters has been reached. This means that parties have agreed on the reason for the divorce, as well as matters pertaining to the children, division of the matrimonial home and assets and/or maintenance.


It is common for parties proceeding with a simplified uncontested divorce to engage a good divorce lawyer.

If you and your spouse are considering divorce on an uncontested basis, or if your spouse has already engaged a lawyer to commence divorce proceedings on an uncontested basis, this article may help shed some light on why you should engage a good divorce lawyer to represent you in a simplified uncontested divorce:


  1. Know your rights

Even if you and your spouse have reached an agreement with regard the divorce and ancillary matters, you would not know if your rights are being protected or whether the proposal is a fair one, if you do not know the law. In such a situation, you could be placed at a significant legal disadvantage if you are not represented by a competent divorce lawyer or if you have no legal representation at all.


Clearly, it is of utmost importance to engage a good divorce lawyer, such that he/she is able to advise you on the law and what you are legally entitled to. A good divorce lawyer is one who will listen to your case, provide you with sound advice, and ensure that your rights are protected before arranging for you to sign the divorce papers.


  1. Properly drafted documents

Poorly drafted terms in a divorce court order may pose various problems even after the divorce has been finalised, further complicating matters for parties. There have been many instances of parties finding themselves in an undesirable situation where the terms that were detailed in the court order lack clarity or are unworkable after a divorce. In such situations, one party would then have to apply to court to vary the court order after the divorce. This could be with regard to the division of the matrimonial property, access to the children, maintenance sum etc. This would in turn lead to extra incurred costs and also prolonged and unnecessary stress for parties.


Evidently, rather than engaging any lawyer for your divorce proceedings, it is crucial to engage a good divorce lawyer who is able to ensure that relevant documents are drafted precisely and clearly, and in accordance with the law as well as parties’ intentions.


  1. Knowledge on the law

Having a good divorce lawyer handle your case means that the lawyer is likely to have extensive experience in handling various types of family law matters (uncontested divorce, contested divorce, child custody matters etc.), as they manage such cases on a daily basis. This lawyer would be familiar with and highly knowledgeable about the legal documents required for a divorce as well as the court process.


As the law is ever changing, it would be prudent to engage a lawyer who specializes in family law to ensure that you will be advised on the law and its recent developments. A good divorce lawyer will also be able to help identify issues that parties may not necessarily have discussed or considered, ensuring that parties are not missing anything material. This may prevent potential issues from arising after the conclusion of the divorce proceedings, saving parties time and costs in the long run.


  1. Peace of mind

Divorce, whether contested or uncontested, can be emotionally draining and stressful for parties. A good divorce lawyer is one who will hear your case, provide you with sound advice and guide you through the legal process, ensuring that your rights are protected. Engaging a good divorce lawyer affords you the peace of mind that you are not being taken advantage of by your spouse, even if you have little knowledge of the relevant law.


  1. Costs

Engaging a good divorce lawyer does not necessarily mean you need to spend a fortune on legal fees. In fact, having legal representation may help you save money on legal fees in the long run. As mentioned above, an experienced divorce lawyer is able to identify potential issues that may arise between parties, and thus preventing a need for a variation of the divorce court order in the future.


Quick Divorce

Simply put, it is crucial to have legal representation by a good divorce lawyer in a divorce, whether contested or uncontested. At Quick Divorce, we offer a free one-time consultation. Please contact us at 6854-3111 to find out more.

PKWA Law has been recognised as one of “Singapore’s Best Law Firms” in 2021 by the Straits Times.  Our lawyers are also consistently ranked as leading family lawyers by respected publications such as the Asian Legal Business, Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific and Doyles‘ Guide.

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An uncontested divorce is the alternative to going through a trial in court.  An uncontested divorce is much less expensive than a contested divorce and allows both parties to end their marriage amicably and quickly.

In Singapore, a majority of divorce cases are uncontested divorces.  

In uncontested divorces, spouses must come to an agreement on all issues raised by the divorce. This means important decisions like how assets are split or how custody is managed must be made together and agreed and signed by both parties in the Court Order.  This means that you must be able to talk to your spouse and come to an agreement on all issues.  Contrast this with a contested divorce, in which both spouses are not able to agree on ancillary issues and litigate in court for the judge to decide.


When do you go for a contested divorce?

A contested divorce is suitable only if you have an exceptionally complex case or have a spouse who is completely uncooperative.  It is also quite common for a divorce to be contested if there are large assets to be divided or where both parties want custody of the children.


Requirements of an Uncontested Divorce

Some of the basic requirements you will need to get an uncontested divorce are;

  • You must have been married for at least 3 years.
  • You must have a valid ground for divorce.
  •  .You must be a Sinaporean, or a PR. If you are not a Singaporean or PR, you must have lived in Singapore for at least 3 years.

    Contact QUICK DIVORCE SINGAPORE at 68543111 for your free first consultation today.