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Frequently asked questions

Am I eligible to seek a divorce?

In order to commence civil divorce proceedings in Singapore, one of the parties filing for divorce is required to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Be domiciled in Singapore during the commencement of divorce proceedings (‘domicile’ means to treat Singapore as a permanent home).
  2. Residing in Singapore for a minimum of 3 years, before divorce proceedings are commenced; and
  3. Have been married for a minimum of 3 years, except where the party filing for divorce has suffered unbearable hardship or exceptionally cruel behaviour.

Please get in touch if you are unsure about your eligibility situation.

What is the divorce procedure?

A civil divorce in Singapore involves 2 steps:

Step 1: Dissolution of Marriage

Step 2: Ancillary Matters (covering aspects such as custody of child, division of matrimonial properties and spousal maintenance)

At the end of the Step 1, if the court decides that the divorce is successful, the court will grant an Interim Judgment, which is an order to dissolve the marriage. The Interim Judgment is a temporary judgment and it is not a final judgment.

After the court has granted an interim judgment, the court will proceed to Step 2, which is to settle the ancillary matters.

Parties are required to wait for 3 months (from the date of Interim Judgment is granted) in order to apply for converting the Interim Judgment to become the Final Judgment.

Can foreigners divorce in Singapore?

In certain circumstances it is possible for foreigners to divorce here, but the Singapore courts will only grant a divorce where at least one party in the marriage can display a strong connection to Singapore.

This typically means one of 2 possible options:

  1. At least one of the parties is domiciled in Singapore.
  2. At least one of the parties has been habitually resident in Singapore for at least 3 years immediately before applying to the court for divorce.

There is other detail and considerations behind each of these, and thus it is advisable to discuss your situation with a lawyer to better understand your legitimacy for applying in Singapore.

What are the legal grounds for divorce?

It is required that the party filing for divorce proves that the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one or more of the following reasons:

Adultery: The plaintiff (which is the applicant for the divorce) finds it intolerable to live with the defendant (the other party) due to them having committed adultery. Adequate evidence is required to prove the defendant’s act of adultery. The plaintiff may hire a private investigator to gather evidence. If the plaintiff could not provide adequate evidence, it is advisable for them to opt for another grounds for the divorce, unless the defendant is willing to confirm that they have committed adultery.

Unreasonable behaviour: The defendant has behaved in an unreasonable manner that the plaintiff finds it impossible to continue living with the defendant.

Desertion: The defendant deserted the plaintiff for a minimum of 2 years where the defendant shows no intention or sign of returning.

Separation: The parties have lived apart for at least 3 to 4 years and both parties have agreed to divorce.

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