Annulment of marriage in Singapore is a process where the marriage is voided by the Family Justice Courts.
Annulment vs Divorce in Singapore
While both annulment of marriage and divorce dissolve the marriage, the annulment process in Singapore goes one step further and void the marriage in Singapore altogether. This means that after going through the annulment process in Singapore, your marriage is deemed to have never taken place at all. Your marital status will revert to “single” after the annulment process in Singapore, rather than “divorced”.
The reasons for divorce and annulment in Singapore are very different. There is only one ground for divorce in Singapore (i.e. irretrievable breakdown of marriage which is proven using certain facts such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion or separation). For annulment, you would have to prove that your marriage is either void or voidable.
A void marriage in Singapore is one which is void even if you do not do anything. However, most couples will choose to seek a formal declaration from the Family Justice Courts that the marriage is void. The Plaintiff (i.e. person filing the annulment papers in Court) will need to prove that the requirements of a valid marriage are not met (e.g. the marriage was one between close family members or that there was improper solemnization of the marriage).
A voidable marriage in Singapore is one which can continue to exist. However, it can be voided if certain criteria are met. For example, if spouse B wilfully refuses to consummate the marriage with spouse A, the marriage is voidable pending the application of spouse A. Another common voidable marriage is one where spouse B is incapable of consummating the marriage because of physical or psychological reasons.
Annulment Process in Singapore
The annulment process in Singapore consists of 2 stages. In the first stage, you will need to file the following documents:
1. Writ for Nullity.
2. Statement of Claim– indicating the ground of annulment you are relying on.
3. Statement of Particulars– providing detailed facts to support your ground of annulment.
4. Proposed/ Agreed Parenting Plan (for those with children).
5. Proposed/ Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan (for those with HDB flats).
In the second stage, the Court will make a decision on ancillary issues (children’s custody, division of assets and quantum of maintenance (if any)). As annulments tend to take place within the first 3 years of marriage, it is possible that you may have to surrender your matrimonial flat to HDB if the minimum occupancy period (MOP) has not been met.
At the conclusion of the second stage, the Court will grant a Final Judgment of Nullity and your marriage is nullified.
In an uncontested annulment in Singapore, the process is relatively more straightforward.
1. Step 1: The annulment papers are filed in Court and served on your spouse.
2. Step 2: If your spouse is not contesting the annulment, he/ she will indicate so in a document known as Memorandum of Appearance which will be filed in Court.
3. Step 3: If there are ancillary issues, your spouse will sign a document known as a Draft Consent Order which provides for the full agreement on the ancillary issues. You will sign the document known as “Affidavit of Evidence in Chief”, wherein you will confirm that the Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars are true and accurate.
4. Step 4: You will attend an open Court hearing with your annulment lawyer. The Court will grant the annulment and make an order-in-terms of the Draft Consent Order.
5. Step 5: Approximately 3 months after the annulment hearing, you will receive the Final Judgment of Annulment.
The entire process of an uncontested annulment in Singapore is estimated to take between 4 to 5 months.
Children After Annulment
In a void marriage in Singapore, any child born during the marriage is still considered to be legitimate if the parties believed at the time of solemnization of the marriage that their marriage was valid.
Children of voidable marriages in Singapore are legitimate.
What if the Annulment of Marriage Turns Out to be Unsuccessful?
In such a case, you may consider to apply for permission to file for divorce early (if you have been married for under 3 years) by proving exceptional hardship/ depravity. You may also consider entering into a deed of separation with your spouse in the meantime.
Do You Need an Annulment Lawyer in Singapore?
No. However, the annulment process in Singapore can be complex to a layperson and given the number of documents to file and submit, and the annulment hearing which you need to attend, it is advisable for you to engage an annulment lawyer in Singapore if you wish to file for annulment in Singapore.
For more information on the annulment process in Singapore, contact us at +6598330314 (whatsapp).
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