There are a few preliminary points to be ascertained
before filing a divorce Writ in Singapore.
Firstly, the jurisdiction issue- whether the applicants
are Singapore citizen or resident in Singapore (for more than 3 years).
A foreigner married in a foreign country may also file for divorce in
Singapore if either party qualify under the domicile or habitual
resident clause, assuming that the ground for irretrievable breakdown
has also been satisfied.
Secondly, the parties must have been married for more
than 3 years. For parties who are married for at least less than 3
years, leave will only be granted under certain circumstances.
Thirdly, whether one of the five reasons which have
caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage stated in section
95(3) (a ) to (e) of the Woman's Charter has been satisfied. The most
commonly used reason is unreasonable behaviour, which encompass
behaviour such as violence, gambling, intimate association with third
parties, insufficient payment of maintenance, the use of vulgarities or
abusive language, or even reluctance to engage in sexual intercourse
without valid reason. For adultery, the burden of proof appears to be
higher, and invariably requires a private investigator's report, even
if the hearing is uncontested. The other reasons are desertion and
separation. The Court does not order costs to be paid by the Defendant
in the case of a Divorce Writ filed on the basis of separation.
It is unwise to conduct or defend the proceedings
yourself, especially if the matter is heavily contested, as the rules
of procedure and evidence are complicated. Certain evidence may not be
admissible, or if admissible, may not carry weight.
If you are unable to afford a lawyer, you should seek
legal aid (if you qualify), at the Legal Aid Bureau.
The Family Justice Courts Website provides a very
detailed write up on the procedure at www.familycourtof
In a nutshell, your divorce lawyer will have to
ascertain certain information from HDB (for those with a HDB flat) and
the CPF Board prior to commencement of proceedings. The Proceedings are
started by filing a Writ for divorce and a Statement of Claim
electronically. You would also have to state your preferred mode of
dealing with the flat, your arrangement for care of the children.
After the documents are filed and served on your spouse,
he or she will decide within 8 days whether to contest the divorce or
otherwise, for a Writ served in Singapore. The Family Justice Courts
may exend time for the filing of a document called a Memorandum of
Appearance. Thereafter the spouse who wishes to contest the divorce
will have to file a Defence within 14 days. Sometimes, a Counter Claim
Therafter the Court would arrange for the parties or
their solicitors to attend a Status Conference, or a
If the divorce is uncontested, the matter would be fixed
For contested hearings, the trial may last several days.
For cases wherein violence has been committed by the spouse, a doctor
may be called to testify and admit the medical reports, neighbours or
friends may be subpoena to testify in the proceedings. Children who are
mature enough to give a lucid account of what they saw or heard may
To seek legal help for your intended divorce, call us at
6534 1328 or submit the form
below for an appointment.
We have to conduct a conflict search before the said
Kindly do not
e-mail us with any confidential information until we have conducted a
conflict search confirming that we are not acting for your spouse.