Divorce in Singapore: Your divorce strategy, knowing what you need and how to get there
When you file for a divorce in Singapore, you should have a clear strategy. People rarely end their marriage with the clearest of minds. The road leading to a divorce is often littered with quarrels, fights, tears, frustrations, and painful experiences. The person seeking to end the marriage is typically at their wits’ end and can no longer tolerate being married to their spouse. They want to get out of the unhappy marriage as soon as possible. But unfortunately, the divorce process may not be as straightforward as some hope and can exact a heavy toll on both parties, both emotionally and financially. In a divorce in Singapore, there are many issues to be sorted through and many decisions to be made, most of them with long-lasting consequences. The stress of working through all the issues on your own can be incredibly overwhelming, especially when the costs of making the wrong decisions can be so high. This difficulty is naturally compounded by our inability to extract ourselves emotionally from the divorce process. People often lose sight of the bigger picture when they allow their past hurts and frustrations to cloud their decision-making process. If marriage is one of the most significant events of a person’s life, then the ending of a marriage must be just as important. You will need to plan and strategise for your divorce. This is essential. A divorce is not just the ending of a phase of your life, but the beginning of a new one. You want to enter into the new season of your life with a clean slate and not be held back by poor decisions you had made during the divorce process, decisions that could have been avoided had you received the necessary guidance and help. This is where we come in. As specialist divorce lawyers, we are here to help provide you with some general principles to help you if you are thinking of divorce in Singapore. We have set out in this article certain principles to help you plan your strategy for your divorce in Singapore. These principles will equip you with the fundamental knowledge of how to take control of your divorce process and emerge from it satisfied and ready to start your new life.
Understand the legal process
As the old adage goes, “knowledge is power.” While the legal technicalities of the divorce process may seem daunting, putting in the time and effort to understand them will reap huge benefits. When you have the requisite knowledge, you understand your options better, you are less stressed by the unknown, and you have greater certainty and control of your situation. You will be confident that the choices you make are the right ones for you. This article will help you to get started on understanding the divorce process better.
Begin extensive documentation to protect your interests
When a marriage is smooth-sailing, parties do not typically keep track of all the details of each party’s assets, liabilities, and contributions to the marriage. This will have to change if you are considering divorce or are in the midst of one. During the divorce process, the Court will have to consider the statements and evidence provided by the parties before arriving at their judgment on the divorce and ancillary matters. Therefore, it would be helpful to your case if you start preparing early and begin collecting documents and evidence relevant to:
- The reasons for which you wish to divorce your spouse;
- Any matrimonial assets of value, such as real estate property in Singapore or overseas, insurance policies, unit trusts, shares, investments, CPF monies, bank account monies;
- Your financial contributions toward the matrimonial home, including related renovations and furnishings expenses;
- Your financial contributions toward household expenses and maintenance of the children;
- Your involvement in your children’s lives, such as their education, health, character-building, and promotion of their general wellbeing;
- You (and your children’s) monthly list of expenses.
Refrain from taking any dishonest or unethical actions
As you gather information on your spouse’s financial situation and assets, it is equally vital that you do not withhold information relating to your own. Sometimes, one party may try to hide or dissipate matrimonial assets in an attempt to prevent their spouse from having a share of those assets. Such behaviour is not permitted under Singapore law and the dishonest party will be held to account for their actions. In such situations, the court may draw an adverse inference against the offending party and will add the value of the hidden assets back into the pool of matrimonial assets to be divide. They may also simply choose to award a higher share of the matrimonial assets to the innocent spouse.
Put your children’s needs above your own
A divorce is one of the most painful and stressful experiences anyone can go through, but this is especially so for the children of a divorce. Throughout the divorce process, make sure that you and your partner are on the same page with regard to decisions for your children – their needs must come before your own. Every parent wants that for their children, but this is sometimes easily forgotten in the heat of divorce proceedings. You should ensure that you and your partner do not lose sight of this. Keep the children out of the conflict and do not criticise your spouse in their presence. Avoid letting your feelings about your spouse control the decisions you make for your children. Help them to be secure in the knowledge that they are still loved by both parents and aren’t being forced to pick sides. This will go a long way towards helping your children through a difficult divorce.
Recognise the benefits of having expert legal advice
It would be in your best interest to obtain the services of an experienced family lawyer you can trust. The costs of not being properly represented will far outweigh any fees charged by the lawyer. The lack of good legal representation may result in you receiving a smaller-than-fair share of the matrimonial assets or having unfair visitation rights to your children that will affect your long-term relationship with them. A good lawyer will be one that you can trust and who is transparent with you about the costs for each stage of the divorce. They should also have a solid reputation as a specialised family law firm with strong testimonies from satisfied clients. Most importantly, you must feel comfortable with them. They should be able to make you feel that your needs have been listened to and that you are in capable hands.
Be kind to yourself and get the support you need
Much of the advice provided above relates to very practical financial and legal matters. But you should be careful to pay attention to your own emotional and mental wellbeing as well. The separation of divorce is a painful process and it should be given the time and space needed to heal. Surround yourself with friends and family that you can confide in. Consider joining a divorce support group and find healing together with others who have had similar experiences. Try to build a healthy routine of doing simple tasks that will promote self-care and encourage greater stability in your life.
A divorce is never an easy thing to go through, but it can be made much easier with the right team helping you through it. Contact our office to make a free first consultation to see if we are the right team for you at tel 6854-5336 or Whatsapp at 9090-3158.
ABOUT PKWA FAMILY LAW
At PKWA Law, our team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore family and divorce lawyers by respected legal publications such as Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific, Straits Times, Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review and Doyle’s Guide.
Contact us at tel 6854-5336 for a free first consultation.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only, and to enable you to learn more about our firm, our services and our lawyers. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. Readers of this website should engage a lawyer to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.