In Singapore, the divorce procedures involve two stages.
The one applying for the divorce (“the applicant”).
The other spouse receiving the divorce application from the applicant.
Filing of Court Documents
All Court documents must be filed or sent to the Court using e-Litigation.
All court documents must be filed in a Service Bureau (if you are unrepresented) or through a lawyer, who would assist you to prepare the documents required.
Lawnet and CrimsonLogic Service Bureau
133 New Bridge Road
Chinatown Point #19-01/02
Tel No: 6538 950
First Stage: The Divorce
The Court will deal with the marriage itself. That means the Court will decide whether the divorce has been granted. If so, the marriage is regarded as dissolved (legally terminated).
IF YOU ARE THE PLAINTIFF
Step 1: File the Writ of Divorce / Nullity together with the other relevant documents through the e-Litigation system.
Step 2: Once approved, you need to serve the filed documents to the Defendant personally.
Step 3: Set down your case to proceed with no dispute (uncontested divorce) if the Defendant does not respond by filing the necessary documents within the stipulated timelines. For uncontested cases, the divorce hearing date would be set approximately 3 to 4 weeks from the date you set the matter down for hearing, depending on court availability. Usually, parties’ attendances are dispensed with.
Step 4: If the Defendant files documents indicating that he wishes to contest the Application, the matter will become contested. Both parties will have to file the necessary documents in preparation for trial. Once all the documents have been filed, a hearing will be fixed for the Court to decide on the divorce. Nevertheless, there is nothing to stop parties from agreeing or negotiating to proceed on a divorce on an uncontested basis.
Step 5: Mediation is now compulsory and mandated by law. The Court will direct that both parties attempt mediation before any trial or hearing is fixed.
End of First Stage
If the Judge finds the marriage to be irretrievably broken down with valid grounds as stated in the Statement of Particulars and/or Counterclaim or both, an Interim Judgement will be granted. After the Interim Judgment is granted, the ancillary matters would usually be heard in the chambers.
This marks the completion of the first stage of your divorce proceedings.
IF YOU ARE THE DEFENDANT
Step 1: If you intend to contest the divorce, you need to be certain on what you are contesting and be clear on what it is you are not in agreement with.
Step 2: Enter an appearance to contest through the e-Litigation within 8 days of the date the divorce documents were served to you. Kindly note if you miss the given deadline, the court will process and fix a hearing date for the divorce even in your absence.
Step 3: File a Defence to contest the divorce through the e-Litigation. You must serve the filed documents to the Plaintiff or the plaintiff’s lawyer within 24 hours.
Second Stage: The Ancillary Matters
The Court will deal with the ancillary matters after the divorce is over. The general list of ancillary matters (varying from case to case) are as follows:-
(a) Custody, care and control, access of the children
(b) Division of the matrimonial home;
(c) Division of the matrimonial assets;
(d) Maintenance of Wife;
(e) Maintenance of Children; and
(f) Legal costs
Alternatively, if parties have an agreement on all matters, i.e. the divorce and the ancillary matters, all matters could be dealt with at the same time without splitting the same into two stages.
The Final Judgment is granted either at the end of the ancillary matters, or after 3 months following the grant of an Interim Judgment, depending on the circumstances.
Important to note:
The steps on divorce procedures are meant as a guideline and not to be regarded as a replacement of independent legal counsel. This content provides general information only, and is not intended advice from The Family Court. Only a qualified divorce lawyer can assist you independently based on the details and merits of your case.
SUBMIT YOUR DETAILS AND REQUIREMENTS IN THE FORM TO ARRANGE FOR A CONSULTATION WITH A DIVORCE LAWYER.
Find out if you have a Ground for Divorce.
Read up about Collaborative Family Practice (CFP).