The Fundamentals of Commencing a Divorce in Singapore
Last Updated: Sep 10, 2021
There is actually only one ground of divorce in Singapore; the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage which is to be found in Section 95 of the Women’s Charter. To prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, you must be able to prove to the Court one of the 5 facts provided for in Section 95(3) of the Women’s Charter.
Section 95(3) Women’s Charter
(3) The court hearing any proceedings for divorce shall not hold the marriage to have broken down irretrievably unless the plaintiff satisfies the court of one or more of the following facts:
(a) that the defendant has committed adultery and the plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the defendant;
(b) that the defendant has behaved in such a way that the plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with the defendant;
(c) that the defendant has deserted the plaintiff for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the writ;
(d) that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years immediately preceding the filing of the writ and the defendant consents to a judgment being granted;
(e) that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 4 years immediately preceding the filing of the writ.
To initiate divorce proceedings, you must file the following documents in Court:
(1) Writ for Divorce, Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars.
The Statement of Claim must specify which fact (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, three years’ separation with consent or four years’ separation) you are relying on to ask the Court to grant you a divorce. In the Statement of Particulars, give details of the fact that you are relying on.
(2) Proposed Parenting Plan if you have children below 21.
File an Agreed Parenting Plan if you and your spouse (the Defendant) have managed to agree on the care arrangements for your children after the divorce. (click here to find out more: Mandatory Parenting Program).
(3) Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan if there is a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat to be divided between you and the Defendant.
File an Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan if you have managed to agree on what to do with the HDB flat after the divorce.
(4) Acknowledgment of Service.
(5) Memorandum of Appearance.
While it is possible to conduct divorce proceedings yourself, it is advisable to have an experienced family lawyer guide you through this stressful period in your life. In particular, you are bound by the documents that you file in Court so it is best to seek the advise of a professional who specializes in divorce and other matrimonial matters.