If you are thinking about getting a Divorce for your Civil Marriage in Singapore, you must first find out if the Singapore Courts have authority to handle the case before you can actually start a Divorce action in Singapore. Muslim Marriages according to Syariah Law are controlled by separate rules.
For the Singapore Courts to have authority to handle actions for Divorce, you or your spouse must satisfy 2 conditions:
- You must be “domiciled” in Singapore at the start of Divorce proceedings, meaning that you’ve treated Singapore as your permanent home OR that you’ve been habitually resident in Singapore for a minimum of 3 years immediately before Divorce proceedings are started.
- You must have been married for at least 3 years. However, the Court has the choice to waive this requirement in cases of unbearable hardship or exceptionally cruel behaviour.
Getting a Divorce is very different from getting your marriage Annulled. A Divorce dissolves and terminates the existing marriage but an Annulment “erases” the marriage by declaring that the marriage never technically existed and was never valid.
Although, you do not need to have been married for at least 3 years to get an Annulment, the Court only grants an Annulment in very limited situations. Usually, an Annulment is easier to obtain at an earlier time in the marriage.
There are 2 key phases in Divorce proceedings for a Civil Marriage:
- Phase 1 involves the dissolution and termination of the Civil Marriage.
- Phase 2 involves setting out how the persons will deal with all other Ancillary Matters (meaning additional and supplementary matters regarding Custody, Care and Control, Access of Children, Dividing Matrimonial Assets & Properties and Maintenance payments for the Wife and Children).
So, there you have it, some basic information on: Basic information you must know before you apply for a Divorce in the Singapore Family Justice Courts