Getting a Divorce in Singapore: Singapore’s Divorce Process
- The dissolution of the marriage; and
- The ancillary matters stage.
The First Stage: Dissolution of the marriage
The first stage is where parties must show the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and after which, the Court will issue an “Interim Judgment”.
- Writ for divorce;
- Statement of Claim: to set out the basis for divorce and what the Plaintiff wishes to claim in terms of ancillary matters;
- Statement of Particulars: to elaborate on why the marriage has irretrievably broken down;
- Proposed or Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan if parties own a HDB flat (Note: Standard Queries Forms must be sent out to HDB and CPF Board prior to filing the documents in order to obtain relevant information on parties’ respective contributions to the HDB flat);
- Proposed or Agreed Parenting Plan if parties have any children under the age of 21;
- Acknowledgement of Service; and
- Memorandum of Appearance.
The preparation and filing of documents, including sending out the Standard Queries Forms, can take up to 4 to 6 weeks, depending on whether it is an uncontested or a contested divorce.
- If the Defendant is not contesting the Writ for Divorce (“Writ”), the Plaintiff can set down the matter for trial on an uncontested basis by filing a Request for Setting Down Action for Trial;
- If the Defendant is contesting the Writ, he or she will have a further 14 days to file either a Defence (to oppose the application) or a Defence and Counterclaim (stating out the Defendant’s basis for the divorce and his or her claim on ancillary matters, if any); and
- If no appearance is entered by the Defendant within 8 days, the Plaintiff can proceed to file an Affidavit indicating that service has been made and to set down the matter for trial. The Court may then proceed to fix a divorce hearing date and grant the divorce in the Defendant’s absence.
The Second Stage: Ancillary Matters
Ordinarily, three months after the Interim Judgment has been granted, a document known as the “Final Judgment” is issued, to reflect that the Interim Judgment has been made final. However, this is subject to the completion of the second stage of the matrimonial proceedings. In this ancillary matters stage, the Court will deal with issues which include custody, care and control of any child(ren) to the marriage, matrimonial assets, and maintenance for the wife and the child(ren).