Deed of Separation in Singapore
When you are divorced, your marriage has come to an end and you are free to remarry. However, in the case of separation, your marriage still exists. To be legally divorced, you have to be married for 3 years. However, you do not need to wait for any period of time to enter a deed of separation in Singapore. There is no formal requirement in terms of signing a deed of separation in Singapore.
What is a Deed of Separation in Singapore?
In layman terms, it is legally binding agreement that a married couple enters into to formalize their decision to live apart from each other.
Common terms in a deed of separation in Singapore includes:
- The different addresses of the spouse if they are living apart;
- Their living arrangements if they are living under the same roof;
- Arrangement of ancillary issues, such as children’s custody and maintenance, spousal maintenance and division of the matrimonial home; and
- Proposed divorce date (if any).
A deed of separation in Singapore is highly customizable and there is no standard “deed of separation template”. In any case, getting a deed of separation template will not be helpful as you will want to capture the precise agreement between you and your spouse and not leave it to a template.
A properly drafted deed of separation in Singapore will look similar to a divorce court order whereas clauses from a deed of separation template may not reflect your true intentions and may not be what you want to put into your divorce Court order.
Deed of Separation vs Divorce
A deed of separation in Singapore may be a better option that divorce if:
- You are married for under 3 years and do not qualify for divorce.
- You may want a cooling off period and not divorce straightaway.
- You want to hold on the divorce proceedings until your children grow older.
- You have not fulfilled the minimum occupancy period of your HDB flat (MOP).
How to File for Separation in Singapore
The simple answer is to get a separation lawyer in Singapore to assist you in doing so. An experienced lawyer will be able to get your deed of separation prepared within a same day, and capture all of your requirements.
Cost of Deed of Separation in Singapore
The cost of a deed of separation in Singapore should not exceed S$500 as there is no Court filing fees involved and most experienced lawyers will be able to prepare the deed of separation within the same day (or even within the same hour!). Do not overspend on the deed of separation, especially if your terms are simple. Keep the cost of your deed of separation low.
A deed of separation in Singapore does not need to be registered in Court. However, there are some requirements:
- You will have to execute the deed of separation with your spouse (i.e. sign it);
- It has to be sealed.
- The deed of separation has to be delivered to the other party.
After Signing the Deed of Separation
You may continue to live under the same roof as your spouse. However, you should not take part in common household activities. Parties may reconcile if they wish to.
A deed of separation in Singapore may be set aside if one party thought that he/ she is signing something else, or if one party is coerced/ unduly influenced into signing the deed of separation.
You may also enter a new deed of separation in Singapore if your terms change. If you decide to proceed with divorce in the future, you may present the deed of separation to the Family Justice Courts to evidence your separation.
If one party breaches the terms in the deed of separation, the Court may uphold the terms in the deed of separation.
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