The Various Types of Divorce Hearings in Singapore
If you are going through a divorce in Singapore, you would probably have heard of of many unfamiliar terms used - Ancillary Matter Hearing, Family Dispute Resolution Conference, Status Conference.
In this article, we explain what are some of the different types of divorce hearings in Singapore.
What is a Status Conference?
A Status Conference is normally the first court hearing you will attend. This usually when the case is not set down within six weeks of filing your Writ for Divorce. Tthe Court will call both parties for a Status conference to check on your case.
A Status conference is conducted by an Assistant Registrar of the Family Justice Courts in chambers. A ‘chambers’ hearing means that the hearing is closed to the public, and only those directly involved in the matter can attend. You do not have to attend a Status Conference yourself if you have a lawyer.
At the Status Conference, the Assistant Registrar keeps a tight grip on proceedings by checking that all the necessary documents have been filed in Court. If the Defendant is contesting the divorce, the Assistant Registrar may refer the case for counselling with a professional Court counsellor, or for a Family Dispute Resolution Conference.
What is a Case Conference?
If your divorce is contested, your next court date after the case has been set down for trial will be a Case Conference date.
A Case Conference is conducted by an Assistant Registrar of the Family Justice Courts in chambers. As explained above, this means that the hearing is closed to the public, and only those directly involved in the matter can attend.
The purpose of a case conference is to get both parties ready for the contested divorce hearing, which will take the form of a trial in open court. If there is a possibility of settlement, the Assistant Registrar may refer the case for counselling with a professional Court counsellor.
What is a Ancillary Matters Case Conference?
The Ancillary Matters Case Conference is usually called shortly after you have obtained your divorce (Interim Judgment) but there are ancillary issues that have not been resolved. Ancillary issues include children custody, division of matrimonial assets and maintenance.
Like the Status Conference and the Case Conference, an Ancillary Matters Case Conference is conducted by an Assistant Registrar of the Family Justice Courts in chambers.
The purpose of this case conference is to get both parties ready for the ancillary matters hearing, which will take place before a District Judge of the Family Justice Courts in chambers.
It is not uncommon for there to be multiple Ancillary Matters Case Conference if parties are not ready for the ancillary matters hearing.
Purpose of these different types of hearings
The Family Justice Courts is mindful that divorce proceedings should be conducted without undue delay. In a divorce case, there are a lot of hurt emotions at play, and children issues are also involved. Hence, the different types of divorce hearings such as Status Conference, Case Conference and Ancillary Matter Case Conference all serve to ensure that parties have complied with court directions to move the divorce case expeditiously. At these hearings, the Family Courts frequently will refer the cases for mediation or counselling.
These hearings may have different names and you may have to attend them more than once - but they all serve the same useful purpose - to facilitate the smooth running of the justice system in family law cases.
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