The Two Stages in Divorce
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The Two Stages in Divorce

Stage 1 – Dissolution of marriage

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

  1. Adultery: The Plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the Defendant due to the Defendant has committed adultery. Adequate evidence is required to prove the Defendant’s act of adultery. The Plaintiff may hire a private investigator to gather evidence.
  2. Unreasonable behavior: 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 either agreed to live apart for 3 years or failing which, have lived apart for at least 4 years.


Stage 2 – Ancillary Matters

There are three issues of ancillary matter to deal with in a divorce:

  1. Care and control, and custody of children including access to children
  2. Maintenance of Wife and/or children
  3. Division of matrimonial assets



The three issues to be discussed and decided of the children involved are:

  1. Custody; and
  2. Care and Control
  3. Access

Custody involves major life decision of the children; education, religion, medical treatment, relocation etc. If both parties are unable to come to a resolution on custody, the Court usually decides on joint custody to both parents.

Care and control refer to the main caregiver to the child and the parent whom the child will primarily live with after the divorce.

Access is given to the parent who does not obtain care and control. Access can come in many forms such as supervised, reasonable, liberal etc.



The husband is duty-bound to pay for both wife and children ‘s (up to the age of 21) maintenance during and after the marriage. Although maintenance for children of the marriage is required, it may not be required for the former wife in certain situations- short marriages or wife is capable of supporting herself (well-earned).

The amount of maintenance can be negotiated and agreed between both parties. In a circumstance that they are not able to agree, the Court will decide on the amount based on a number of factors, such as the standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage, parties’ income (current and projected future), the length of the marriage, household expenditure, etc.

In determining the above factors in Court, each party will have to produce the relevant proof of their contributions, such as by way of bank statements, invoices, etc.


Division of matrimonial assets

Upon a divorce, the matrimonial assets are to be divided amongst the parties, having regard to the direct (i.e. monetary) contributions to the acquisition of that asset, as well as indirect contributions, such as:

  1. the extent of the contributions made by each party in money, property or work towards acquiring, improving or maintaining the matrimonial assets;
  2. any debt owing, or obligation incurred or undertaken by either party for their joint benefit or for the benefit of any child of the marriage;
  3. the needs of the children (if any) of the marriage;
  4. the extent of the contributions made by each party to the welfare of the family, including looking after the home or caring for the family or any aged or infirm relative or dependant of either party;
  5. any agreement between the parties with respect to the ownership and division of the matrimonial assets made in contemplation of divorce;
  6. any period of rent-free occupation or other benefit enjoyed by one party in the matrimonial home to the exclusion of the other party;
  7. the giving of assistance or support by one party to the other party (whether or not of a material kind), including the giving of assistance or support which aids the other party in the carrying on of his or her occupation or business;


Uncontested divorces

A simplified uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on the terms- ancillary matters, children custody, properties division and maintenance of wife/children,

An uncontested simplified divorce only takes place when both aspects- dissolution of marriage and ancillaries- are agreed upon.

If the spouses decide to go for a simplified uncontested divorce, they can file for the said divorce by appointing lawyers who will then file the signed papers to the Family Justice Court via the elitigation module. 

An administrative divorce hearing will be convened within a month and both parties may extract the interim judgment of divorce after.

This saves a lot of money and time compared to a contested divorce proceeding.


Requirements for a Simplified Uncontested Divorce in Singapore

The list of prerequisites for filing for both contested and uncontested divorce in Singapore is the same. It includes the following requirements:

  • Marriage should be at least 3 years, and;
  • One of the spouses should have strong ties with Singapore by being either a citizen or being domiciled in Singapore or reside in Singapore for at least 3 years.
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