How To Divorce in Singapore
For those married couples in Singapore who grew weary in their current relationship status, who says, “I want to get Divorced!” here are the procedures on How to Divorce in Singapore:
Basically, stages and steps that will be shown on the following paragraphs will answer your question about divorce which is “How to Divorce in Singapore?” Primarily, there are two stages on How to Divorce in Singapore. The first stage is that the court will deal with the divorce itself next is that the court will deal with the ancillary matters. In addition, you cannot remarry until you have obtained Final Judgment. By the way, if you are the one applying for the divorce, you are the Plaintiff while the other party is called the Defendant.
Before we proceed to the procedures on How to Divorce in Singapore, we will take accounts on the requirements that should be done before filing a divorce in Singapore: the service bureaus that the court documents should be filed or sent; the process of how your case may progress through the family court; and lastly, the place where you can get the forms needed.
There are two Service Bureaus that the court documents must be filed or sent to, namely the Supreme Court LawNet and the Apollo Centre LawNet. Please be guided that the court documents must be filed or sent to the court through Electronic Filing System (EFS).
Through the Family court your case may progress generally. Here, I will show you the overview of how to divorce in Singapore. The first stage may compose of: application for divorce through filing a Writ for Divorce (happens prior to the first day at the court); status conference in chambers (happens on the first day at the court); Counselling and Resolution Conference, one of the two probability will happen, either there is a settlement or there is no settlement, incidentally, for both probability the plaintiff will still be asking the court to set down the divorce for hearing (happens most likely on the next court schedule); if it is unsettled then there will be a Pre-Trial conference in chambers followed by a contested divorce trial in the open court, on the other hand if it is settled, uncontested divorce hearing in open court will follow through; at the end is the Interim Judgment. Afterward, second stage on how to divorce in Singapore will follow. It is compose of: Ancillary Matters Pre-Trial conference in chambers that involves with the Counselling and Resolution Conference; if it is then unsettled, there will be Ancillary Matters Pre-Trial conference in chambers followed by contested Ancillary Matters hearing in chambers otherwise, there will only be a consent Ancillary Matters hearing; Final Judgment will then come at last.
As to where you can get all the forms that you will be needing in filing a divorce, you can find the divorce court forms at the back of the Women’s Charter(Matrimonial Proceedings) Rules (Cap 353, R4, 2006 Rev Ed). While the Affidavit of Assets and Means and the Declaration of the Value of Matrimonial Assets are located in Appendix B of the Subordinate Court Practice Directions.
Steps on How to Divorce in Singapore:
First Stage: Divorce Itself
Step 1: Application for a Divorce
- Writ for Divorce, Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars
- Agreed or Proposed Parenting Plan (applicable to couples with children below 21)
- Agreed or Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan, (only if there is a Housing and Development Board flat to be divided between yourself and the Defendant)
Step 2: Service of the Documents
- Acknowledgment of Service
- Memorandum of Appearance
Serve all the documents either of the ways.
- Personal Service
- Registered Post
- EFS on the Defendant’s Lawyer
Step 3: Setting Down Your Divorce Case
You may set down your divorce case as an uncontested divorce succeeding the Defendant filed a Memorandum of Appearance affirming that he or she is not contesting the legal dissolution of the marriage when the Defendant and yourself have came to terms on a divorce and the Defendant has no dispute over what you have said in your Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars. By filing a Request for Setting down Action for Trial, this can be done.
However, your divorce case is contested when the Defendant has filed a Defence, and the procedure from this point on will become more complex.
Step 4: Divorce Hearing Date
Your uncontested divorce hearing date normally takes place within three weeks of the date that you file your Request for Setting down Action for Trial. The Court will send you a letter to tell you when the hearing date and time will be. You can look up the hearing lists hearing lists hearing lists for the day on the Family Court website to confirm the location of the hearing.
The uncontested divorce hearing will be quite short, usually lasting only five to five to ten minutes. A District Judge will hear the case in open court ten minutes open court open court.
If the District Judge is satisfied that that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, he or she will grant an Interim Judgment, and adjourn the ancillary matters to be heard in chambers.
The Interim Judgment is a provisional order for divorce. It is made final, or confirmed, after three months.
This is the end of the first stage of your divorce case.
Step 1: Do you wish to contest the divorce?
If you wish to contest the divorce, you must be clear about what you are contesting.
What is it that you do not agree with? Is it:
- The legal end of the marriage? If so, you must take steps to alert the Court that you wish to contest the divorce.
- The contents of the Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars that have been served on you? If so, you must take steps to alert the Court that you wish to contest the divorce. You may wish to ask the Plaintiff if he or she will consider coming to Court for a resolution conference to try to reach agreement on the Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars.
- The Plaintiff’s claims, in the Statement of Claim, with regard to the children, maintenance or property? If you agree to a divorce, these issues can be put aside until after the divorce hearing. These are ancillary matters that are usually considered at the second stage of the divorce case.
Step 2: Appearance
If you want the Court to hear you on any of the matters set out in the Statement of Claim, you must enter an appearance by completing the Memorandum of Appearance that was served on you with the divorce documents.
In the Memorandum of Appearance, indicate whether you are contesting the divorce itself, or the ancillary matters, or both.
You must file the Memorandum of Appearance through the EFS within 8 days of the date that the divorce documents were served on you. If you were served outside Singapore, you have 21 days to file the Memorandum of Appearance.
Please note that if you choose to ignore the divorce documents, the Plaintiff is allowed to ask the Court for a divorce hearing date by filing a Request to Set Down Action for Trial. The Court may proceed to fix a divorce hearing date, hear the case, and grant the divorce in your absence. The Court will not postpone the divorce case for you.
Step 3: Defence Filing
If you have entered an appearance, and have decided to contest the divorce, you must file a Defence through the EFS.
If you agree to the divorce, but not to what the Plaintiff has said in the Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars, you must also file a Counterclaim. You must personally serve the Defence (and Counterclaim, if you have decided to file one) on the Plaintiff, or the Plaintiff’s lawyer if there is one, within 24 hours of filing.
Once you file a Defence, or Defence and Counterclaim, the divorce becomes contested.
If the divorce is contested, both parties will be called for a Pre-Trial Conference before a Deputy Registrar of the Family Court.
The purpose of a Pre-Trial Conference is to get both parties ready for the contested divorce hearing, which will take the form of a trial in open court open court open court. The
Deputy Registrar may make orders for both parties to attend counselling with a professional Court counsellor, or to attend a resolution conference with a Judge at the Family Relations Centre.
If agreement is not possible, the Deputy Registrar will ask both parties to file Affidavits of Evidence in Chief. A contested divorce hearing is very different from an uncontested divorce hearing. A trial will be conducted before a District Judge in open court. The parties will each have to give evidence in open court, to prove their respective cases. They will also be able to call witnesses, if any, to support their case.
At the end of the trial, the District Judge will grant an Interim Judgment if he or she is satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The claims on the ancillary matters will be adjourned to be heard in chambers.
Second Stage: Ancillary Matters
An Ancillary Matters Pre-Trial Conference is usually called within a month of the Interim Judgment being granted. Both parties will be notified of the Court date by letter.
At the Ancillary Matters Pre-Trial Conference, the Deputy Registrar will ask both parties questions to see which of the ancillary matters are disputed. He or she may make certain orders to help both parties come to an agreement on the disputed ancillary matters, including orders for the disclosure of financial documents, or for parties to attend counselling or a resolution conference.
If agreement is not possible, the Deputy Registrar will ask both parties to file their Affidavits of Assets and Means Affidavits of Assets and Means Affidavits of Assets and Means, which must include all relevant supporting must include all relevant supporting documents, such as: documents
- your latest CPF statement on contribution to Public / Residential Housing
- your latest CPF statement showing balance in ordinary and special accounts
- a valuation of the matrimonial property
- documents evidencing payment of renovation costs and furnishings for the matrimonial property
- statements of house mortgage instalment payments by cash
- your bank book (all pages with entries) or latest bank statement for each bank account
- a copy of each insurance policy in sole or joint names
- any documents evidencing other assets
The hearing of the ancillary matters is usually conducted in chambers, meaning that only the parties who are directly involved in the matter may attend. All the evidence will be in the Affidavits of Assets and Means. The Judge does not usually take oral evidence from you if you have already filed your Affidavit.
$1.5 MILLION OR MORE WORTH OF MATRIMONIAL ASSETS
Please note that if either party declares that the gross value of the matrimonial property to be divided is S$1.5 million or more, your case must be transferred to the High Court for hearing.
You would make such a declaration when the Deputy Registrar asks you to complete the Declaration of the Value of Matrimonial Assets in the prescribed Declaration of the Value of Matrimonial Assets form. The Deputy Registrar will normally ask both parties to complete the declaration at the final Ancillary Matters Pre-Trial Conference.
FINAL JUDGMENT (Last Part on How to Divorce in Singapore)
Three months after the Court has granted an Interim Judgment, you may proceed to apply for the Certificate of Making Interim Judgment Final, or Final Judgment. This will confirm your divorce, and conclude all Court proceedings.
If you are the Plaintiff, apply for your Final Judgment through the EFS / LawNet Service Bureau.
If you are the Defendant, you must first apply for the Court’s permission to apply for your Final Judgment. Apply by summons, with a supporting affidavit explaining why you, and not the Plaintiff, have had to apply for the Final Judgment.
This is the comprehensive and detailed steps of on how to divorce in Singapore. If you are planning to get divorced, then you can provide your own print out of the steps on how to divorce in Singapore. Putting the article, How to Divorce in Singapore, in mind will greatly help you hence this will provide you a smooth and worry free Divorce process.