Uncontested Divorce in Singapore
On an average year, there are more than 6,000 divorces in Singapore. Out of the figure of 6,000 divorces in Singapore, more than 60% are uncontested and this percentage is set to rise as more couples find that it is less time-consuming and more cost-effective to resolve all divorce issues by themselves.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Singapore?
An uncontested divorce in Singapore is one where both parties have reached a full agreement on all matters concerning the divorce, including:
- The reason for divorce – required for the Family Justice Court to approve the divorce;
- Custody, care and control and access arrangements involving the children (if any);
- Division of the matrimonial home and other matrimonial assets (if any); and
- Spousal and children’s maintenance (if any).
If you have reached a full agreement on the above issues, you may get a divorce lawyer to prepare the documents for the uncontested divorce in Singapore. The documents include:
- Statement of Particulars containing the reasons for the divorce;
- Defendant’s Consent to Simplified Divorce Proceedings for the Defendant (the non-filing party to the divorce) to give his/ her consent to the divorce;
- Draft Consent Order containing the terms of the divorce;
- Affidavit of Evidence in Chief for the Plaintiff (the party who files the divorce papers) to confirm that the contents of the divorce papers are true and accurate; and
- Request to Set Down for a hearing date to be given by the Court.
Once the above documents are prepared, parties may arrange a meeting with a Commissioner of Oaths to endorse the documents mentioned above. The signed documents will be submitted to Court via the e-litigation system and the Court will grant the divorce if all documents are in order. Parties may proceed to extract the divorce certificates (the interim and final judgments) after the conclusion of the divorce proceedings.
The process of uncontested divorce in Singapore will take about 4 to 6 months to complete.
Uncontested Divorce in Singapore Vs Divorce By Mutual Agreement
Starting from 2023, divorcing parties will be able to file a divorce by mutual agreement.
Before 2023, divorcing parties will need to use one of the following reasons to file for an uncontested divorce in Singapore:
- Unreasonable behaviour;
- 3 years separation (with consent);
- 4 years separation; and
Divorce by mutual agreement is simply a new reason for divorce. The process of uncontested divorce in Singapore remains the same and parties still must agree on the ancillary issues other than the ground of divorce.
Uncontested Divorce in Singapore vs Contested Divorce in Singapore
If there is at least one issue that is not agreed between parties, the divorce will proceed on a contested basis. Such divorces are lengthier and more expensive. To make it easier and cheaper for clients who do not have a full settlement, Populus Law Corporation offers a contested-negotiation package, allowing parties to negotiate the terms (and reach a settlement) prior to filing for divorce.
Should parties be unable to reach a full settlement by negotiations, the process for a contested divorce in Singapore is as follows:
- If you have at least a child under the age of 21, you will need to attend the Mandatory Parenting Programme. You will be issued a certificate of completion thereafter and be eligible to file for a contested divorce.
- The contested divorce papers will be filed in Court and served on your spouse. Your spouse will have 8 days to respond and hire a lawyer. Thereafter, he/ she may put up a defence and/ or counterclaim against you.
- Parties will proceed for mediation (facilitated negotiation sessions with the assistance of a Court-appointed mediator and counsellor).
- If parties manage to resolve all issues at mediation (which most parties do), the contested divorce procedure concludes.
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