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Is There A Time Period To File For Divorce Based On Adultery?

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Is there a time period to file for divorce based on adultery?

If you have found out that your spouse has committed adultery, and you intend to rely on that as a ground for your divorce, you must file your divorce within 6 months if you are still living with your spouse.

The reason is simple – if you continue to live with your spouse for more than 6 months after discovering your spouse’s infidelity, the law presumes that you have condoned the adultery.

Of course, the legal presumption may not be right in every case.  More often than not, a spouse continues to live together with the straying spouse because of the impact leaving may have on the children.

In such a situation, you can only rely on adultery if your spouse strays again.  Alternatively, you may have to consider filing for divorce based on other grounds such as his unreasonable behaviour.

The standard of proof for adultery is quite high. You will need to show a confession or more commonly, a private investigator’s report. If you do not have the necessary proof for adultery, you can still file for divorce based on unreasonable behaviour.

It sometimes happens that your spouse may commit adultery within 3 years of getting married. In such a case, you may have to wait until you have been married for 3 years before filing for divorce unless you can get the court’s special permisssion to file for divorce within 3 years. Such permission is rarely granted and you should be prepared to wait until your marriage crosses 3 years.

 

Related Articles:

Adultery under Singapore Divorce Law – 10 things to know

Adultery and Unreasonable Behaviour: Do they affect how marital assets are divided?

Adultery and unreasonable behaviour are only pertinent to whether the court decides to grant the divorce itself, and are not considered when it comes to the division of assets

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It’s common to hear the terms ‘adultery’ or ‘unreasonable behaviour’ crop up in the vocabulary of divorce. While either might contribute to the breakdown of a marriage, and do come into play when filing for divorce, this is a separate consideration from the division of marital assets.

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When commencing divorce proceedings in Singapore, there is one sole ground upon which the divorce petition can be based: the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The parties then need to prove that the marriage has so broken down by establishing one of five reasons, which is where adultery and unreasonable behaviour come in.

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However, despite their suggestions of fault or wrongdoing, or either party’s personal feelings on the matte, adultery and unreasonable behaviour actually have no bearing on how the court divides assets in a divorce. Rather, the law stays clear of the dangerous waters of moral judgement: instead, a structured formula is applied, based on the ratio of each party’s direct financial contributions to the marital assets and their indirect contributions to the marriage. The two are then averaged out, with each component carrying an equal weightage, and apportioned between the parties accordingly. Although the court has a broad discretion over the process, guided by a list of statutory factors, neither adultery nor neither adultery nor unreasonable behaviour feature on this list.

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As such, adultery and unreasonable behaviour are only pertinent to whether the court decides to grant the divorce itself, and are not considered when it comes to the division of assets – a process that cannot be an exact science, but has nonetheless has little room for decisions underscored largely by emotion. Regardless of any lingering hurt or resentment, or with whom any fault might lie, playing the ‘blame game’ in divorce carries little benefit.

Adultery and Divorce under Singapore Law – 10 Things to know

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Adultery and Divorce under Singapore Law – 10 Things to know

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In Singapore, adultery is one of the five grounds that can be used to prove a marriage has broken down irretrievably.

Here are 10 things you should know about adultery and divorce in Singapore.

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1. There must be sexual intercourse

This refers only to sexual relationship with another person who is not your spouse. If there is no sexual intercourse, you cannot rely on adultery as a ground for divorce. Instead, you may file for divorce for unreasonable behavior based on ‘improper association.”

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2. You must also show that is intolerable to live with your spouse, and it is linked to the adultery

This is usually not difficult to prove. You need to show that as a result of your spouse’s extra marital relationship, you find it intolerable to live with your spouse.

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3. What evidence is required?

Usually, there will be no direct evidence of the extra marital relationship.You should engage a private investigator to collect evidence of adultery. Alternatively, you can show incriminating evidence of the relationship, or if there is a lovechild or if there is a confession made.

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4. If you do not have strong evidence of adultery, you can still file for divorce based on unreasonable behavior

You can still file for divorce by citing “improper association” if evidence of adultery is hard to come by.

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5. You cannot use adultery as a reason for divorce if you continue to live with your spouse for 6 months

If you know about your spouse’s extra marital relationship, but continued to live with your spouse for 6 months, you will not be allowed to cite adultery as the ground for your divorce.

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6. Do you need to name the “other person” in the divorce?

It is not necessary. We do not advise you to ‘shame’ and name the other party. You do not get a better settlement by involving the other party (see next point below).

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7. You do not get a better outcome from the Court even if you prove adultery

As a general rule, the Singapore Family Justice Courts do not look at who is at fault in deciding on children, property or money issues. Therefore, if you are the defendant in an adultery case, you will not be “punished”. Likewise, if you are the plaintiff in an adultery case, you do not get a better outcome for children, property and money issues. The Singapore Courts are governed by the relevant rules in the Women’s Charter and fault is not a factor when it comes to children, property and money issues in a divorce.

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8. What then can I get even if I prove adultery?

The Court may order your spouse to pay your Private Investigator fees and the costs of the divorce.

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9. Can I claim anything from the “Other Party”

No, apart from legal fees and private investigator fees.

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10. How common is adultery in Singapore

Between 2004 and 2014, based on data from the Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS), 1.3 per cent to 2.1 per cent of those who filed for divorce under the Women’s Charter cited adultery as the main reason. However, this does not paint the true picture because many will cite ‘unreasonable behaviour” as the reason for divorce due to a lack of evidence or not wanting to escalate the divorce proceedings.

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ABOUT PKWA LAW

At PKWA Law, our team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore divorce lawyers by respected independent legal publications such as Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review, Global Law Experts and Doyle’s Guide to Singapore Family Lawyers.

If you have any questions, please call the PKWA Divorce team at (65) 6854 5336 or visit our websites at: