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Granting Divorce In Singapore



In Singapore family law, divorce is the last resort for couples that are in terminally unhapp
y marriages. Generally, a spouse cannot apply for divorce where it has not been 3 years since the date of marriage. However, the court may allow such an application if the marriage is in extremely dire straits; e.g. the spouse is suffering from exceptional hardship. Apart from the 3-year time bar, two other requirements have to be met for the court to grant the judgment of divorce.

1. The marriage must have irretrievably broken down

There are five grounds by which this requirement can be fulfilled. The first is that the defendant has committed adultery and the plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the defendant. The defendant’s adultery can be proven via a confession, direct or indirect evidence, or the birth of a child of the defendant who is not a child of the plaintiff’s. However, if the plaintiff knew of the defendant’s adultery but continued to live with the defendant for an aggregate period of more than 6 months, then this ground will not suffice in proving an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In addition, the plaintiff must also find it intolerable to live with the defendant, which can generally be satisfied by the plaintiff’s own admission.

The second ground is that the defendant has behaved in such a manner that the plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with the defendant. The defendant’s behaviour must have had some effect on the plaintiff, and this includes conduct such as repeated squabbling. This ground is very commonly used.

The third ground is that the defendant has deserted the plaintiff for a continuous period of at least 2 years. The defendant must have abandoned the plaintiff against his/her wishes, with an intention to do so. The fourth ground is that the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years, with the defendant consenting to a divorce judgment being granted. The fifth ground is that the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 4 years.

2. The circumstances must make it just and reasonable to grant the divorce

Under the second requirement, the court will take into account factors including the conduct of the parties, and how the children of the marriage or of either party (if any) may be affected. However, this second requirement is of much less significance than the first requirement that the marriage must have irretrievably broken down.

If you wish to obtain a divorce, you should engage a family law specialist to handle all the relevant documentation and advise you on your rights. GJC Law has highly experienced lawyers who have dealt with a wide variety of divorce matters. Should you wish to schedule a free initial consultation with us, please contact GJC Law at 6337 0469, or email [email protected].

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