GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN SINGAPORE

What are the grounds for divorce in Singapore?

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In Singapore, parties may file for divorce based only on one ground – that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This can be found in Section 95(1) of the Women’s Charter.

To prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, the party who files for divorce must show the Court that one or more of the following facts set out in Section 95(3) of the Women’s Charter are true:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion for at least 2 years
  4. Separation for 3 years with spouse’s consent
  5. Separation for 4 years

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Adultery

Under this ground, you will have to prove that your spouse has committed adultery, and that you find it intolerable to live with him or her. The adultery must involve sexual intercourse with a third party.

The adultery can be shown by producing a private investigator’s report, through a confession by your spouse or other physical evidence which clearly demonstrate the adultery.

In order to rely on this fact, the divorce papers must be filed within 6 months of discovering the adultery. Once 6 months have passed, you will not be able to rely on adultery to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

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Unreasonable behavior

Unreasonable behaviour is the most common fact relied upon in divorce. You will need to demonstrate that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her.

What constitutes unreasonable behaviour is subjective, which means that the Court will take into account your character and various attributes in deciding if your spouse’s behaviour would be considered unreasonable to you. As such, the scope for what constitutes unreasonable behaviour is very broad. Examples include violence, verbal abuse, lack of concern for the family and financial irresponsibility.

Further, the Court will not look at each act or incident individually. Instead, the Court will bear in mind the cumulative effect of your spouse’s behaviour over a period of time in determining whether you could reasonably be expected to live with him or her.

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Desertion for at least 2 years

To satisfy this ground, you must prove that your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of your divorce papers.

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Separation for 3 years with spouse’s consent

This ground is frequently used when parties wish to divorce in an amicable manner. You will need to give evidence that you and your spouse have chosen to live apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years immediately preceding the filing of your divorce papers, and that your spouse consents to the divorce being granted.

It should be noted that “living apart” refers to living as separate households. This essentially means that parties cannot continue to act in a way that is similar to their existing marriage, or conduct themselves as one household by cooking, eating and spending time together at home on a regular basis.

If you and your spouse attempt to reconciliate, it is important to note that any period of reconciliation that exceeds 6 months will disrupt the entire length of separation.

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Separation for 4 years

Under this ground, you do not need your spouse’s consent to file for divorce. All you will need to demonstrate is that you and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 4 years immediately preceding the filing of your divorce papers.

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ABOUT PKWA FAMILY LAW

SINGAPORE DIVORCE LAWYERS AT PKWA 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 on whether you satisfy the grounds for divorce in Singapore. 

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