Every individual has their own aspirations and fantasies about who they want to end up with and marry. However, unfortunately, sometimes, these dreams about spending a lifetime and forever with the person you got married to go down the drain, thus, getting contested or uncontested divorce in Singapore. When you or your person officially files for divorce, the life, love, and time to give meaning to your relationship will die down along with the marriage.
Many people find themselves in this situation where they start looking for a family lawyer to get in touch with, how much divorce sessions in Singapore cost, the entire procedure duration, and the grounds acceptable in the High Court. Finding a way to take good care of yourself and your children while dealing with a difficult time has got to be the most challenging phase of the entire divorce process.
In Singapore, the spike in the divorce process has been gradually increasing over time, especially since the global pandemic started around December 2019. It is not hard to imagine that quarantine can make or break relationships, considering that most couples spend 24/7 together in the same space due to the stay-at-policies of local governments. It may lead to a baby boom or discovering that you cannot stand each other, thus, resulting in legal separation or divorce.
Read on to learn more about the stages of proceedings and grounds for divorce in Singapore.
THE 2 STAGES OF THE SINGAPORE DIVORCE PROCESS
Like any other living matter, dealing with divorce is never easy. It is one of the toughest challenges to face in your existence, whether or not you still love your partner. In Singapore, the divorce process usually goes through two stages. While dealing with the life behind the divorce, such as your career, children, yourself, family and friend relationships, and other personal endeavours, you will also need to face the two stages of the divorce process if it is a contested divorce.
THE FIRST STAGE OF DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS
In Singapore, the divorce process goes through the first stage, which is prioritising the preparation and filing of court documents, such as:
- WRIT FOR DIVORCE. This document will serve to commence the divorce proceedings formally.
- STATEMENT OF CLAIM. This document shall contain details of crucial facts all related to your marriage, including the reasons for breakdown and grounds for divorce in Singapore.
- STATEMENT OF PARTICULARS. This document shall contain an in-depth and more precise explanation regarding why the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
- PROPOSED PARENTING PLAN. This document shall contain details on the arrangement if both parties have underage children.
- MATRIMONIAL PROPERTY PLAN. This document shall contain details on the arrangement in case of an HDB flat.
- MEMORANDUM OF APPEARANCE. This document serves as a memorandum of appearance, generally sent out by the defendant (your spouse) within eight days of receiving the writ for divorce.
THE SECOND STAGE: ANCILLARY MATTERS
For uncontested divorce in Singapore, the entire divorce proceeding is seamless. The two parties basically agree on the grounds for divorce and the ancillary matters, such as property division and child custody. In a contested divorce, the hearing will tackle all aspects necessary and related to marital assets division, child care, child custody, child maintenance, and spousal maintenance. Both defendant and plaintiff must disclose their financial status, money capabilities, income sources, liabilities, assets, and expenses. These factors can help the court determine which party must shoulder the child custody, care, and maintenance.
THE 3 MAJOR REASONS WHY THE COURT DOESN’T GRANT DIVORCE
Unfortunately, there are also times when the High Court of Singapore doesn’t grant a divorce process. When the other party or both parties do not meet the legal requirements of a divorce, the judge has the power and right to deny a divorce in accordance with the Women’s Charter (Cap 353). Below are the three most common reasons why the High Court denies divorce petitions.
NOT MEETING THE JURISDICTIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN SECTION 93 OF THE CHARTER
For the High Court to have jurisdiction over the divorce proceeding, the two parties, specifically the plaintiff and defendant, must meet the criteria and grounds for divorce in Singaporespecified under Section 93 of the Charter, which are the following:
- One party must be a citizen in Singapore;
- One party is habitually resident in Singapore for a continuous period of at least three years.
NOT MEETING SECTION 94(1) OF THE CHARTER
Section 94, clause 1 of the Women’s Charter states that the parties must be at least married for three years to be able to file grounds for divorce in Singapore. The law in the country gives utmost respect and recognition to the sanctity of marriages, love, and families. The High Court cannot grant the dissolution of marriage in haste. Thus, most courts also recommend divorce mediation.
In most cases where the married couple has a marriage for less than three years, one of the two parties may apply for divorce. However, they must also meet one of the grounds for divorce in Singapore, which is a) exceptional hardship suffered by one or the other or b) exceptional deprivation on the part of the spouse pursuant.
NOT MEETING SECTION 95 OF THE WOMEN’S CHARTER
Another reason the High Court may deny the petition to divorce is not meeting section 95 of the Women’s Charter. When you file your divorce papers, you must establish that you have a legal ground (or complaint) under the Women’s Charter for divorce. Under section 95 of the Charter, the legal grounds for divorce in Singapore are as follows:
- Unreasonable behaviour;
- Desertion of two years;
- Physical and emotional detachment for three years with the consent of the spouse;
- Separation for years without consent
To Summarise Everything
Marriages are the basis of families and our society. Like life, it also comes to an end. Filing the papers and working on the grounds for divorce in Singapore while dealing with the other aspects of your life outside marriage can be challenging. However, not all marriages are also bound to last. Thus, leading to a rise in the number of marriages that end in a divorce or annulment.
For further guidance about divorce in Singapore, including the cost, procedure, and other crucial factors, reach out to Aspect Law Chambers. Call them at +65 6908 7077 or speak directly to their legal team on their webpage.