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Divorce Process in Singapore [All You Need to Know]

Divorce Process in Singapore [All You Need to Know]

Embarking on the path of divorce in Singapore is undeniably a challenging journey. It’s a rough time where emotional distress can often overshadow the legal realities underpinning the divorce procedures.

However, understanding each step of this process is crucial. It provides the groundwork for making informed decisions that protect your interests and consider the welfare of any children involved.

This article aims to guide you through the intricate divorce procedures in Singapore. By shedding light on these steps, the goal is to make this complex process more approachable and manageable.

Important Questions to Ponder for Your Divorce Process in Singapore

Important Questions to Ponder for Your Divorce Process in Singapore

Several crucial considerations should be on your radar during your divorce decision-making process.

In Singapore, the law requires parties to have been married for a minimum of three years before being eligible for divorce.

If your marriage falls short of this duration, an alternative option is entering into a Deed of Separation

This legal document allows you and your spouse to formalize terms for separation without immediately filing for divorce.

Hiring experienced divorce lawyers can be invaluable in crafting this Deed of Separation. Their expertise ensures that this document effectively outlines agreed-upon arrangements between you and your spouse.

Additionally, they can provide a structured framework for managing your lives more manageable during this transitional phase before considering divorce proceedings.

To successfully initiate divorce proceedings, you must demonstrate to the court that your marriage has unrecoverably broken down.

This can be established through various grounds, including your spouse’s involvement in adultery, displaying unreasonable behavior, or desertion.

Another faultless ground for divorce is when both parties have lived separately for the past three years. However, obtaining your spouse’s consent is necessary if you’re considering this ground.

If you and your spouse can mutually agree on the reasons behind the divorce, it opens the possibility of commencing it through a simplified track.

This means that if both parties agree on crucial aspects such as the grounds for divorce, division of assets, child custody, and maintenance, the divorce process can follow a smoother, quicker, and less contentious path.

If you have children below 21 years of age from your marriage, attending the Mandatory Co-Parenting Programme (MCPP) is essential.

MCPP, lasting about 2 hours, aims to enlighten you about the significance of co-parenting with your spouse even after the divorce.

It’s a crucial step in understanding how to navigate parenting responsibilities post-divorce.

However, if you’ve come to terms with the simplified track or mutual agreement, you’re exempt from attending the program.

If an HDB flat is part of the equation, your decisions regarding its fate post-divorce become crucial. 

You must consider how you want to handle the flat after the dissolution of your marriage.

If the Minimum Occupancy Period hasn’t elapsed, surrendering the flat to HDB might be mandatory. This period typically spans five years, during which you’re restricted from selling or renting out the flat.

However, bear in mind that surrendering the flat involves returning it to HDB without financial gain.

If your spouse happens to be an undischarged bankrupt, it’s crucial that you secure the Official Assignee’s consent before initiating any divorce proceedings.

This consent ensures compliance with legal regulations.

Without the approval of the Official Assignee, your divorce action may face legal hindrances or complications.

Pro Tip
I suggest you address this aspect early in the divorce process. The earlier you accomplish this part, the smoother your divorce proceedings will be.

Eligibility and Grounds for Divorce

Eligibility and Grounds for Divorce

In Singapore, specific grounds can serve as the basis for your petition when considering filing for divorce. The common grounds are adultery, unreasonable behavior, and desertion. 

However, another reason can be outside these grounds, like mutual agreement or faultless ground. 

Knowing these grounds helps you assess and determine the most appropriate cause to base your divorce petition on. Let’s explore them in detail:


If you discover that your spouse has been unfaithful, it can be emotionally devastating. 

In Singapore, if your spouse commits adultery and you find it unbearable to continue living together, this is considered a valid reason for seeking a divorce.

Gathering evidence to substantiate this claim is essential, including photographs, messages, or witness testimonies.

This ground for divorce emphasizes the emotional distress caused by infidelity and serves as a recognized basis for legally ending the marriage.

Unreasonable Behaviour

Sometimes, it’s not about infidelity but about behaviors that make the marriage unsustainable.

Unreasonable behavior can include a wide range of actions, from emotional and physical abuse, and neglect to addiction issues or financial irresponsibility.

If your spouse’s conduct makes it intolerable for you to sustain the marriage, this, too, constitutes valid grounds for divorce in Singapore.

Documenting specific instances or patterns of such behavior is crucial for substantiating this claim during divorce proceedings.

It’s about showcasing how this behavior has affected your emotional well-being and the viability of the marriage.

For instance, instances of emotional abuse can be highlighted by detailing specific incidents where you felt belittled, manipulated, or consistently distressed.

Documenting financial irresponsibility could involve providing evidence of reckless spending habits or failure to contribute to household expenses despite reasonable means to do so.

These examples help illustrate to the court how such behaviors have significantly impacted your emotional state and the feasibility of sustaining the marital relationship.


If your spouse or wife has left you without your agreement for a minimum of two years, it constitutes desertion and can serve as a solid foundation for initiating divorce proceedings.

This abandonment needs to be without any reasonable cause and against your wishes. 

It’s essential to gather evidence to support this claim, such as communication records, witness statements, or any other documentation proving the absence of your husband or wife.

Mutual Separation

In cases where you and your spouse have been living separately for three years with mutual consent, this qualifies as joint separation and is another valid ground for divorce.

This separation should be voluntary and agreed upon by both parties without any coercion.

Maintaining evidence or documentation of this separation period, such as lease agreements or utility bills under separate names, is essential to support your claim during the divorce process.

Divorce Process in Singapore

Divorce Process in Singapore

The process for obtaining a divorce in Singapore generally follows a straightforward path.

Let’s now delve into the specifics of the divorce process in Singapore to guide you through the necessary steps and considerations.

File a Writ for Divorce at the Family Justice Courts.

When you initiate divorce proceedings, the first step is to file a Writ for Divorce at the Family Justice Court.

This document serves as the formal start of the legal process and is crucial in outlining the grounds for divorce.

You’ll need to provide detailed information about the reasons behind seeking a divorce, whether it’s adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion, or mutual separation.

Alongside citing these grounds, including proposed arrangements for matters like division of assets, maintenance, and child custody is essential.

Accuracy and clarity in these details can significantly impact the subsequent proceedings.

Include a proposed agreed parenting plan.

If you have children, drafting a comprehensive parenting plan accompanying the Writ for Divorce is an integral part of the divorce process.

This plan is pivotal as it addresses critical aspects concerning the well-being of your children.

It should encompass custody arrangements, specifying who the children will primarily reside with, the division of caregiving responsibilities, and provisions for visitation or access by the non-residential parent.

Additionally, the plan should cover decisions about education, healthcare, and other significant aspects of the children’s lives.

Presenting a well-thought-out and mutually agreed-upon parenting plan can significantly streamline the legal process and prioritize the children’s best interests.

The term “matrimonial assets” includes everything acquired during your marriage.

You and your spouse might have shared financial investments, properties, businesses, savings, and more, all tangled up within the marriage.

The division of marital assets and maintenance is one of the most intricate aspects of your divorce process in Singapore. 

Now, the aim isn’t merely splitting everything down the middle. It’s about achieving equitable distribution, which doesn’t always mean a 50/50 split.

When deemed necessary, the Court has the authority to grant maintenance for the wife and children.

The determination of this amount hinges upon a multitude of factors, ensuring a fair assessment:

  • The court evaluates the financial needs of the recipient and the resources available to meet those needs, considering both present requirements and future contingencies.
  • Each spouse’s income and potential earning capacity are examined. This includes not only their current earnings but also their capability to generate income in the future.
  • The lifestyle maintained during the marriage serves as a reference point. The court ensures that the standard of living, to a reasonable extent, is upheld post-divorce.
  • Age plays a role in determining maintenance, especially concerning the ability to secure employment or financial independence.
  • The length of the marriage influences the assessment. Longer marriages warrant different considerations compared to shorter ones.
Consult a legal counselor regarding access arrangements.

In  Singapore, when it comes to your children, their well-being stands as the foremost priority in the eyes of the High Court.

The court typically considers granting either sole or joint custody, a decision critical in shaping your child’s future.

If joint custody is granted, you and your ex-spouse will jointly make significant decisions affecting your child’s life, such as education and religious upbringing.

However, the parent granted care and control will shoulder the day-to-day responsibilities, ensuring the child’s immediate needs are met.

This arrangement aims to balance decision-making between both parents while ensuring a stable environment for your child.

On the other hand, access arrangements play a crucial role in maintaining a meaningful relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent.

These arrangements outline the frequency, duration, and mode of visits, allowing the child to sustain vital connections with both parents.

Engaging in constructive discussions with your ex-spouse to create a parenting plan that prioritizes your child’s well-being can ease the transition and promote a healthy co-parenting dynamic.

Furthermore, seeking legal guidance and considering your child’s perspective can aid in formulating arrangements that truly serve their best interests.

Attend the divorce trial and final judgment.

In the event that you and your spouse find yourselves unable to see eye to eye on the terms of your divorce, a contested divorce trial becomes the inevitable path forward.

A contested divorce arises when both you, as the plaintiff, and your spouse, the defendant, cannot find common ground on one or more critical aspects of the divorce proceedings.

This trial allows both parties to present their evidence and arguments before the Court.

Every piece of information and supporting documentation becomes crucial in shaping the final decision. The judge meticulously assesses the presented evidence before reaching a verdict.

You should attend the initial ruling, known as the Interim Judgment, as this marks the legal termination of the marriage.

However, it’s essential to note that this isn’t the ultimate conclusion of the process. The Court then delves into ancillary matters that demand resolution.

These include the pivotal aspects of asset division, child custody arrangements, and issues pertaining to maintenance.

Only after addressing these supplementary matters and reaching a comprehensive resolution does the Final Judgment come into play.

You and your spouse should attend this final trial together.

It’s the moment when all legal ties between you and your former spouse are officially dissolved, marking the conclusion of this challenging and emotional journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Being familiar with these crucial stages can empower you as you navigate the divorce process in Singapore.

All you need to do now is to take note of all of these steps and prepare your documents.

But if you’re still entangled with the complex process of divorce, an experienced divorce lawyer can offer invaluable support, ensuring your needs and concerns are strongly advocated.