Annulment in Singapore
Annulment in Singapore is a legal procedure to void the marriage.
It is vastly different from divorce, as after an annulment in Singapore, your marriage will be deemed to have never existed at all. A divorce simply ends a marriage and it has existed. After a successful annulment in Singapore, both parties’ martial status will return to being “single”, rather than “divorced”.
Annulment vs Divorce in Singapore- Reasons
However, the requirements for annulment in Singapore are very different from divorce in Singapore. There is only 1 ground for divorce in Singapore- the irretrievable breakdown of marriage involving one of the following faces:
- Unreasonable behaviour;
- 3 years separation (with consent);
- 4 years of separation;
- Desertion; or
- Divorce with mutual agreement (from 2023).
On the other hand, for annulment in Singapore, the marriage is either void or voidable.
A marriage that is void involves error(s) such that the basic requirements of a valid marriage are not fulfilled. For instance, the solemnization of the marriage was not carried out correctly or it is a marriage between closely related family members.
A voidable marriage is not void by nature. Hence, if both parties decide to carry on with a voidable marriage, they are able to do so. Examples of voidable marriages are:
- Non-consummated marriages where one party wilfully refuses to consummate the marriage (most common ground for annulment in Singapore).
- Non-consummated marriages where one party is unable to consummate the marriage due to physical limitations.
Annulment vs Divorce in Singapore- Requirements
Under the Women’s Charter, you have to be married for at least 3 years if you wish to divorce in Singapore. However, you can file for annulment even if you are married for under 3 years. Further, for divorce, either party has to be either a Singaporean or lived in Singapore for 3 years immediately filing for divorce. For annulment in Singapore, there is no such requirement and you can file for annulment as long as both parties are resident in Singapore at the time of filing for annulment.
Further, if you are filing for annulment in Singapore based on the ground that it has not been consummated owing to the other party’s refusal, there is no requirement for the annulment to be within one year of the marriage.
How Do You Apply for Annulment of Marriage?
The first step would be to applying for annulment of marriage in Singapore is to gather the documents and information needed. You will need a copy of your marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates (if applicable). The following information of both parties should be provided to your lawyer for the preparation of the Statement of Claim:
- Education level;
- Occupation; and
- Date of birth.
You will make an appointment with your annulment lawyer to prepare the documents required for annulment in Singapore. The documents will be filed in Court and served on your spouse, who will need to indicate his/ her consent to the annulment. Thereafter, you are required to execute an affidavit confirming the truth of the documents filed and a Court hearing will be held to hear the annulment application.
Assuming that the Court has no further question, the marriage will be voided.
The annulment process in Singapore will take about 4 to 6 months to complete. However, if your spouse were to contest, the time taken will be longer.
As part of the annulment process, parties will also need to consider the following ancillary issues:
- Division of matrimonial assets- such as your HDB flat;
- Spousal and child maintenance (if any); and
- Custody, care and control and access to children (if any).
Any child born to the marriage will still be considered legitimate even in the event of annulment in Singapore.
What if You Do Not Meet the Requirements for Annulment in Singapore?
You may wish to consider:
- Entering into a deed of separation with your spouse (at least you get to lead a single life!);
- File for judicial separation;
- Make an application to file for divorce before the 3rd year mark if exceptional hardship or depravation can be proven.
Annulment Lawyer in Singapore
An experienced annulment lawyer in Singapore will be able to advise right away if you have a good case to file for annulment in Singapore and identify the key issues in your application. Hence, while it is possible to for annulment in Singapore on your own, you should get a lawyer.
Contact us at +6598330314 (whatsapp) for more information.
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