The Divorce Process
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The Divorce Process

In Singapore, the process for a divorce is straightforward- especially if the couple have come to an agreement that their marriage should end and on the same page on the grounds for divorce, custody, assets and maintenance. This is known as an uncontested divorce.

If a divorce case involves failing to agree on some or all issues, it is called a contested divorce. That’s when the parties will engage their respective divorce lawyers.


Getting Divorced in Singapore

In Singapore, to move forward with your divorce proceedings, you have to exhibit that your marriage is beyond repair and incorrigible.

There are a few reasons that can prove so:


Adultery–The court will consider your marriage to have irretrievably broken down, where you or your spouse have committed adultery and the other party finds it intolerable to live with the offending party.

Unreasonable Behaviour – Where one partner has behaved in such a manner that the other party cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.

Desertion – Where one party has deserted the Plaintiff for 2 years with no intention of returning

Living Apart – Where you and your spouse have been living apart for 3 years, and the Defendant to the divorce action consents to divorce. If you have been living apart for 4 years or more, you do not require the consent of the other party to divorce.

Divorce in Singapore – Court Process


In Singapore, Divorce is a 2-step procedure.

In the first stage, Courts will deal with the termination of the marriage itself. Here, the Court will decide whether the marriage should be dissolved. At the end of this stage, if successful, parties will receive an Interim Judgment.

In the second stage of the proceedings, the Court will deal with ancillary matters. This includes the division of matrimonial assets (including matrimonial home), custody of any children, and any spousal or child maintenance. At the end of this stage, parties will receive a Final Judgment.



Am I eligible to seek a divorce?

Requirement for filing for a divorce in Singapore:

  1. Be domiciled in Singapore during the commencement of divorce proceedings (‘domicile’ means to treat Singapore as a permanent home) ;
  2. Residing in Singapore for a minimum of 3 years, before divorce proceedings is commenced; and
  3. Have been married for a minimum of 3 years, except where the party filing for divorce has suffered unbearable hardship or exceptionally cruel behaviour.


What is the process for filing for a divorce?

In Singapore, divorce through civil proceedings involves 2 steps:

Step 1: Dissolution of Marriage

Step 2: Ancillary Matters (matters regarding child custody, matrimonial properties divisions and spousal maintenance)


Can foreigners divorce in Singapore?

Yes with some requirements:

  1. At least one of the parties is residing in Singapore.
  2. At least one of the parties has been habitually resident in Singapore for at least 3 years immediately before applying to the court for divorce.


How much cost should I prepare for divorce in Singapore?

For an uncontested divorce- with both parties coming to an agreement:

  • No children, no house – $900
  • With children and house – $900


For a contested divorce- when there is a disagreement in terms of child custody/properties, it can go up to $5000.

It is advised that you discuss with your lawyer during your consultation to get a final and concise price for services.


What are the legal grounds for divorce?

The parties have to prove that the marriage is unrecoverable due to one or more of the reasons:

  1. Adultery: The plaintiff (which is the applicant for the divorce) finds it intolerable to live with the defendant (the other party) due to them having committed adultery. Adequate evidence is required to prove the defendant’s act of adultery. The plaintiff may hire a private investigator to gather evidence. If the plaintiff could not provide adequate evidence, it is advisable for them to opt for another grounds for the divorce, unless the defendant is willing to confirm that they have committed adultery.
  2. Unreasonable behaviour: The defendant has behaved in an unreasonable manner that the plaintiff finds it impossible to continue living with the defendant.
  3. Desertion: The defendant deserted the plaintiff for a minimum of 2 years where the defendant shows no intention or sign of returning.
  4. Separation: The parties have lived apart for at least 3 to 4 years and both parties have agreed to divorce.


How long does the divorce process take?

If it is an uncontested divorce, it can take as little as 1 month for an interim judgment and a mandatory 3 month period before the judgment becomes final.

A contested divorce may take up to 12 months or more depending on the dispute.

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