DIVORCE IN SINGAPORE - THE MYTHS
While the Court would always be involved in a divorce, you and your spouse need not go to Court if the divorce is uncontested and both of you are able to agree on:
Even if you and your spouse are initially unable to agree on the above issues and the divorce is contested, both of you would still attend mediation sessions together before the matter proceeds to trial. If mediation is successful (as is commonly the case), a full hearing in Court would no longer be necessary.
2. The mother always gets the children
There is no starting presumption that the mother will be awarded sole custody, care and control of the children. While the Court would commonly grant the mother care and control of the children if she had been their primary caregiver, both parents are usually awarded joint custody. If that is the case, the mother would decide on the day-to-day matters affecting the children (e.g. what the children eat and wear), but both parents would have to make major decisions relating to the children together (e.g. decisions relating to medical, religious or educational issues).
Be that as it may, the mother may not even be granted care and control of the children if the court is of the view that it is in the interests of the child if the father has care and control.
Further, the court may award shared care and control to both parents when it considers that such an order is in the best interests of the children, and parties have demonstrated that they are able to cooperate in parenting the children.
3. Matrimonial assets are always divided equally
Similarly, there is no starting presumption that matrimonial assets would be divided equally.
Under Section 112 of the Women’s Charter, the Court will divide the matrimonial assets in a just and equitable manner and would have regard to the specific circumstances of the case, including the following:
In short marriages, the Court tends to divide the assets in a similar proportion to the direct financial contributions of the parties. Contrastingly, indirect non-financial contributions of the parties are given great weight in long marriages.
4. Husbands come away “second best” financially after divorce
As outlined above, the Court considers a wide range of factors when deciding how to divide the matrimonial assets. Thus, it is entirely possible for a man to walk away with a greater proportion of matrimonial assets than his wife.
Further, there is no presumption at law that a man would be ordered to pay maintenance to his former wife. In fact, a woman may be ordered to pay maintenance to her former husband who is unable to maintain himself due to any physical or mental disability or any illness.
The court would, as far as it is practicable, endeavour to place the parties in the same position that they would have been in had the marriage not broken down. In determining the amount of maintenance to grant (if any), the court would have regard to the specific circumstances of the case, including the following:
ABOUT PKWA FAMILY LAW
At PKWA Law, our team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore family 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.
Contact us at tel 6854-5336 for a free first consultation.
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