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Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage

In Singapore, divorce may only be granted if the plaintiff applying for the divorce can prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

irretrievable breakdownIrretrievable breakdown of marriage is proven by any one of the following situations:

1. Adultery

The plaintiff has to prove that their spouse has been unfaithful to the marriage and that he or she finds it intolerable to continue living with the defendant.

Should the spouse who has committed adultery admit to the act, the grounds for divorce will then be conclusive. However, if they do not, then the plaintiff needs to provide evidence of adultery, usually via a private investigator’s testimony.

If there is no documented evidence of adultery, the plaintiff can still assert that there was improper association and start divorce proceedings based on that.

2. Unreasonable Behaviour

One of the grounds the Courts will accept for irretrievable breakdown for the marriage is unreasonable behaviour by a spouse which has caused the plaintiff undue distress and they are no longer able to reasonably live with their spouse. Examples of such unreasonable behaviour can include, amongst others, situations such as extra marital affairs, abuse, domestic violence, not providing maintenance.

3. Desertion

Another ground for irretrievable breakdown of a marriage is when a plaintiff can prove that their spouse has abandoned them despite their wishes otherwise.

The plaintiff must be able to show that his or her spouse has deserted them for a time frame of at least 2 years. The couple must be living apart during this period and the deserting spouse must be shown to have intent to desert.

4. Separation After 3 years, with Consent

If both spouses have been living separately for at least 3 years and both are agreeable to a divorce, then divorce proceedings can commence.

In order to prove the fact of living apart, a Statement of Particulars need to be submitted stating:

  • The date separation commenced
  • Reasons for separation (Separation due to work or studies abroad will not count as valid reasons for separation.)
  • Duration of separation
  • Should the divorcing spouses have been living under one roof, they then must prove that they have been maintaining separate households during that period, i.e. they sleep in separate bedrooms, have no conjugal relationships, maintain separate household accounts and do not spend time together as a family unit.

5. Separation After 4 years, without Consent

Should a couple have been living apart for 4 years or more, the Plaintiff can sue for divorce without the consent of the Defendant.

If you can personally relate to any of the above five situations and feel that there is no way to reconcile the marriage, you can Find a Divorce Lawyer for help on how to proceed based on irretrievable breakdown of your marriage.