Marriages in Singapore can be categorised as valid, void or voidable. According to Singapore’s law, a marriage is deemed valid if it fulfils the following:
- Solemnised on the authority of a valid marriage licence or special marriage licence
- Solemnised by a person licensed to solemnize marriages
- Solemnised in the presence of two credible witnesses who are above 21 years of age
- Licensed Solemniser is convinced and satisfied that both parties freely consent to the marriage
Other than a marriage valid in the eye of the law, marriages can also be deemed void or voidable.
The Women’s Charter defines the following marriages as void:
- Polygamous marriage
- Where one or both parties to the marriage are below the ages of 18
- Marriage between close relatives
- Homosexual marriage
Void marriages are considered unlawful and invalid and the law does not recognise that the parties in such situations as having entered into a valid marriage. As they are not recognised as valid marriages, the law thus does not require any legal form to terminate these non-marriages.
Voidable marriages, on the other hand, are legal unions which can be made void should one or both parties desire to terminate the union. Marriages can be voided in a variety of situations:
- Marriage was not consummated, either due to physical or mental incapacity of either party to consummate it
- Marriage was not consummated due to the wilful refusal of one of the parties
- There was no valid consent to the marriage, that is one of the parties was coerced under duress into the marriage
- One of the parties was not of sound mental health when he or she entered into the union
- One of the spouses was infected with a communicable venereal disease and was carrying said disease when he or she entered into the marriage
- The wife was pregnant when the marriage took place but the child was not fathered by her husband
Should a party want to nullify the marriage, they have to obtain a writ to legally void the marriage and have to prove that they were unaware of the situation above when they entered into the union.
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