How Long Does It Take to Get A Divorce In Singapore?




How long will my divorce case take?  How long does it take to get a divorce in Singapore?  This is a frequent question many divorce clients ask.


The good news is that Singapore Family Justice Courts are very efficient and pro-mediation.  The result is that divorce cases are usually concluded within a fairly quick time.


For Uncontested Divorces (where both parties agree to a friendly and mutual divorce),  you should get Interim Judgment (provisional divorce) within 1 month of filing the papers.


For Contested Divorces (where both parties cannot agree on a divorce and ancillary matters), the divorce should take – on average – about 1 year.


Even for these Contested Divorce cases, only a small percentage go all the way to trial.  At PKWA Law, a majority of our divorce clients settle their cases without going for trial.  The settlement typically takes place after we have examined financial documents, salary slips, proof of expenses, list of assets and parenting plan.  We study them to determine what our clients can realistically get if the matter goes for trial.


The official statistics from the Family Justice Courts show that in 2016, 74% of divorce cases were settled within the year they were filed.  This compares favourably to 46 per cent in 2012.


There are many reasons why couples settle half way.   The most common reasons are:


  1. Divorce fees are naturally more expensive if you don’t settle.
  2. Divorce litigation is stressful.
  3. To spare the children the agony and stress of seeing their parents fight out in court.
  4. There is no guaranteed result if you litigate all the while.
  5. A compromise is better than an ugly court victory, which can strain ties beyond the divorce.


The cases where we find it is difficult to settle are due to various reasons.  Chief among them are:

a. where parties feel strongly about having care and control of the child.

b.  where the assets are very substantial.

c.  where assets are hidden.

d.  where one party has unrealistic expectations.

e.  where one party has committed adultery and the aggrieved spouse wants his/her day in court.


So, if you are thinking of divorce in Singapore, do know that the divorce cases in Singapore are concluded very quickly.  And in 80% of these Contested Divorce cases, there is a good chance that you and your spouse are likely to reach an amicable settlement.


On a final note, it is important that you have a lawyer who adopts a constructive and conciliatory approach to family law disputes.  It is a happy state of affairs that most family lawyers in Singapore are constructive and conciliatory.  As we always like to say at PKWA Law – “A good divorce lawyer is calm.  He encourages settlements, not arguments.”



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What is a Final Judgment in Divorce?

What is Final Judgment in divorce proceedings?




A Final Judgment in divorce proceedings marks the formal end of your marriage.  It concludes the divorce case.

The Final Judgment comes 3 months after you have obtained Interim Judgment (provisional divorce).  Your divorce lawyer will have to apply for the Final Judgment for you.


You can remarry

When you have obtained Final Judgment, you are legally entitled to remarry.   You will need to produce the Interim Judgment and Final Judgment to prove that your divorce is finalised.


You can sell your property

If there is a court order for the matrimonial property to be sold or transferred, that transaction will usually take place after the Final Judgment.  As an illustration, suppose your HDB flat is to be sold and the sale proceeds divided equally.   You will be able to sell the HDB flat only after Final Judgment as HDB and the buyer will want to see the Final Judgment.  Usually, you are given sufficient time to sell or transfer the property after Final Judgment.  If you are unable to sell the matrimonial property within the time specified in the Final Judgment, do not worry.  So long as the buyer accepts the situation, the sale will usually go through.


Custody of Children

Once Final Judgment is issued, the court order relating to children custody, care and control and access will also have to be implemented.   Suppose that you have joint custody, care and control of your child and weekend access granted to your spouse.  After Final Judgment, your child will start living with you, and you will start making day to day decisions for your child.  Your spouse will be entitled to the weekend access.


How long does it take to obtain Final Judgment?

In Singapore, as the Singapore courts encourage parties to mediate to resolve their divorce issues (especially with a view to reducing the impact on children), divorce cases are handled quite speedily.   The average time taken for final judgment to be granted has been reduced by a quarter from 155.2 days in 2012 to 114.6 in 2016.   Hence, on average, your divorce should conclude within a year in Singapore.






.First stage of divorce process

A divorce is the legal procedure that ends a marriage. There are two stages involved

At the first stage, the court decides on whether or not to grant a divorce. This may take up to several months as it depends on whether the parties can come to an agreement on the ground of divorce. There may be numerous hearings (such as Status Conference or Case Conference).

Once the court grants a divorce, this is called an Interim Judgment.


Second stage of divorce process

Once Interim Judgment is obtained, the divorce proceedings moves to the second stage. At the second stage, the court decides on issues such as custody, care and control of the children, division of assets and maintenance. These are called ‘ancillary issues.’ When the ancillary issues have been decided, we will obtain for you a Final Judgment. The Final Judgment concludes the divorce proceedings and you are free to remarry, if you choose.


How long does the divorce process take?

In Singapore, the divorce court system and process is very efficient.  The court frowns on unwarranted delays.  Most divorce cases are concluded within 1 year,  and many are settled well before that.  If both parties have realistic expectations and the lawyers are pro-mediation, you should conclude your divorce swiftly.



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.

Make sure your rights are protected when you end your marriage. Divorce can get ugly so make sure you have a lawyer working on your side. Contact us at tel 6854-5336.


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