Marriage Annulment: An Overview

Jeremy Cheong

Jeremy Cheong


+65 8800 8074

Picture the scene – you’ve just got married, but you’re discovering that things just aren’t working out. Do you have to wait a whole three years before ending things? The answer is – no, you may not have to.

Before they can commence a divorce, parties (who must satisfy the jurisdiction requirement) need to wait three years from the date of marriage, according to Singapore law. But, if it ‘isn’t working out’ for one of the reasons listed below, you and your spouse can have the marriage annulled at any time – meaning you don’t have to wait three years, and it can be done much more quickly.

  1. The marriage has not been consummated, due to either party being incapacitated and unable to consummate it;
  2. The marriage has not been consummated because of the deliberate refusal of the defendant to do so;
  3. Either party to the marriage did not give their valid consent to it – whether due to duress, mental disorder, mistake or otherwise;
  4. At the time of the marriage, either party, though capable of validly consenting, was suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder – as set out by the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2008 – of a kind or extent which rendered them unfit for marriage;
  5. At the time of the marriage the defendant was suffering from a communicable form of a venereal disease;
  6. At the time of the marriage, the defendant was pregnant by a person other than the plaintiff.

If at all possible, it is best if both parties agree on the grounds of the annulment, as in that case it can be a straightforward and relatively quick process.

If one party contests the grounds of the annulment, then the other party making the application must be prepared to defend their application using proof. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the specific evidence needed, as each ground for annulment needs to be proved using different evidence.

In our experience as legal practitioners, the most common ground for annulment is where one of the parties alleges that the other has wilfully refused consummation of the marriage, despite his or her efforts to consummate it.

Following a successful annulment (which includes the 3 month period after the Court has approved the annulment), the marriage is treated as if it never existed – i.e. your status reverts to ‘single’ as opposed to ‘divorced’, as would be the case following a divorce.

In total, the whole process of annulment (from the moment you engage solicitors, to getting the annulment granted) usually lasts between 4 and 6 months.

Document to File for an Annulment

Various documents must be filed for an annulment to be granted, including:

  • Writ of nullity
  • Statement of claim for nullity
  • Statement of particulars
  • Acknowledgment of service
  • Affidavit of evidence in chief
  • Memorandum of appearance (defendant)
  • Request for setting down (parties’ attendance required)
  • Request for setting down the action for trial
  • Draft order of consent

As well as filing the above documents, parties must also appear in open Court in front of a judge, so they can answer questions, as part of the process of obtaining an annulment.

You might want to consider contacting us for further information about our annulment services, as the process may be challenging. Even if the annulment is not contested, it may be best for you to engage a lawyer due to the documents involved and the attendance in Court.

Jeremy Cheong

Jeremy Cheong


+65 8800 8074

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