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Divorcing a Foreign Spouse

expat divorce, divorcing a foreign spouseWhen a marriage breaks down, it can be a difficult and trying time for the parties concerned. Then comes the legal part, the divorce proceedings, and that can become contentious as well.

The divorce procedure is already a painful process, but what if one of the spouses is not a Singaporean citizen? Would it then complicate matters further? Can the divorce proceedings then take place in Singapore, or must the matter be moved to the spouse’s home country? These are pertinent concerns as marriages involving a spouse of a different nationality are becoming much more common these days.

Criteria to proceed with divorce

According to the Singapore Family Courts, divorce proceedings can ensue, if any of the following terms are satisfied:

  • either one of the spouses are domiciled in Singapore or is a habitual resident of Singapore for 3 years or more
  • marriage is at least 3 years
  • party seeking divorce can prove that marriage has broken down irrevocably

Beginning the process

Once one has determined that the above criteria has been met, the party seeking divorce can then have their lawyer send a writ to the other party to begin the procedure. Should the other party not be residing in Singapore at that point, the writ can be sent to whatever location they are at.

Does location matter?

Some may then ask, does it make a difference if the divorce takes place here in Singapore or elsewhere? In some cases, yes. First of all, Singapore family law is governed by the Women’s Charter, which will ensure that the wife is protected in certain aspects.

Legal costs also tend to be lower if the proceedings take place in Singapore as we practice a fused legal system which means there is only one set of legal fees versus systems elsewhere where 2 sets have to be paid.

Read more on grounds for divorce here

Read more on expat divorce here

To find out more or if you are in need of professional advice, please submit your details and requirements in the form to arrange for a consultation with a divorce lawyer.