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Separation Agreements Instead of Divorce

Your options

If you and your spouse are thinking about dissolving your marriage and want to live separate lives and not ready to file for divorce, you have the option to draw up a Separation Agreement. This sets out the financial division of the matrimonial assets and any maintenance and if there are any children, custody, care and control and access issues.

What exactly is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a good option if you haven’t yet decided to divorce, or if you can’t yet do so because of the 3 year marriage bar. This document is a written agreement that (with consent of your spouse) that typically sets out the financial arrangements that you and your spouse put in place while you are separated.

For example:-
  • who gets to live in the family home
  • arrangements to repay debts, such as the family home
  • distribution of joint financial assets
  • what happens assets you bought jointly
  • maintenance arrangements support one of you and/or any children
  • childcare arrangements
The separation agreement should ideally set out the final financial agreement that would be presented to the court as an uncontested divorce when the application finally goes through.

The Advantages
  • states the date that you both consider the relationship to have ended
  • it cushions the marriage breakdown on you and your family as terms will have been agreed, saving a potential courtroom battle.
  • you and your spouse understand where you stand
  • you can plan your new life ahead
If you’re not open and honest about your finances, it’s likely to mean you can’t rely on the agreement in the future.

What situation is separation agreement most useful for?

Where you and your spouse are considering getting divorced but haven’t definitely decided to split up. You may use a separation agreement if you have not met the 3 year marriage bar to dissolve your marriage.

Is the agreement legally enforceable?

Separation agreements in Singapore are not automatically enforceable. With regard to the financial aspect, if you and your spouse were open and honest about your finances and intended to the arrangement as per the agreement, then weight will be given to the agreement in case it is challenged during divorce proceedings.

The Court will not give weight to an agreement that is not in the children’s best interest, for example, if the agreement stated that one parent would not be allowed access to the child indefinitely.

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