Uncontested Divorce Process
On January 1st 2015, the Family Justice Courts initiated the Simplified Uncontested Divorce Process for divorce cases heard in Singapore. What this meant was that the person who takes the move to begin divorce proceedings, or the Plaintiff, can now apply to have the case called on to the simplified hearing track, should they and their spouse, or the Defendant, agree on the following matters:
- Divorce proceedings will be uncontested
- Both agree on all ancillary matters
The proposed move bears many positive consequences for the divorcing couple, not least the savings in legal costs as well as the time spent finalising the procedure.
Both parties, in order to proceed, must agree on the following conditions before they can proceed:
- Both parties sign a draft Interim Judgement agreeing on all ancillary matters
- The Defendant must give his or her written consent to commence with divorce proceedings
- The divorcing couple must have original copies of their marriage certificate and children’s birth certificate, if relevant
- Neither of the spouses are bankrupt or in the process of being made bankrupt
- Both spouses are mutually accommodating and attend appointments at the lawyer’s office together
- Both spouses agree on all ancillary matters and are willing to sign a draft consent order on the handling of all ancillary matters with no outstanding claims
Draft Consent Order
The Draft Consent Order manages all aspects of ancillary matters related to the termination of a marriage between two parties:
- Custody, care and control of children in the marriage
This deals with whether there will be joint custody of the children between both spouses, or one spouse will have sole custody.
- Access to children in marriage
An agreement also has to be addressed on the terms of access and arrangements post-divorce to the children that will be given to the parent
- Division of matrimonial home
The divorcing couple has a few options:
– The matrimonial home will be sold in the open market and proceeds from sale will be refunded into the respective CPF accounts according to their individual shares
– The rights and title of the matrimonial home will be transferred to the other spouse. Agreement has to be reached over the nature of the transfer as well as who shall bear the cost and expenses of the transfer
– The rights and title of the matrimonial home shall be sold to the other spouse and agreement reached on who shall bear the cost and expenses of the sale
– The matrimonial home will be surrendered to the Housing Development Board and proceeds to be divided between parties as per agreement
- Division of matrimonial assets
Assets are to be specified and both parties agreed on the division of said assets
- Maintenance of the wife
Both parties agree if there is to be maintenance paid, and if so, agree on a set monthly maintenance amount the wife will receive as well as date of payment for the monthly payment
- Maintenance of children in the marriage
An agreement on monthly maintenance for children in the marriage by a spouse, stating amount and date of payment each month into the bank account of said child or children
An agreement that the defending spouse to pay for the costs of the divorce proceedings
Applications for uncontested divorce process on the Simplified Hearing Track does not require parties to submit the Agreed Parenting Plan or the Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan, even if there are minor children involved or the divorcing couple jointly own a HDB flat.
Once the Court is satisfied that the divorce papers have been filed in accordance with the law, then the Court may place the case under the uncontested hearing track.