If you have the consent of your spouse (i.e. you manage to reach an agreement on the divorce and the ancillary issues), you will be able to file for a simplified, uncontested divorce in Singapore. The process is simple and less costly.
Your divorce lawyer will prepare the divorce documents (which will incorporate the agreement you have with your spouse), schedule an appointment for both parties to sign the papers and submit the signed papers to Court. The divorce will finalize after 4 months.
If you are filing for a divorce without consent in Singapore, the Court will need to make a decision in a 2-stage divorce process.
At stage 1, the Court will decide if the marriage has broken down irretrievably. If it has, the Court will grant an Interim Judgment. However, an Interim Judgment does not deal with ancillary issues such as children’s custody, division of matrimonial assets and maintenance.
How will the Court make a decision on these ancillary issues if you are filing a divorce without consent in Singapore?
Children’s Custody, Care and Control, and Access
In Singapore, the Court favours “joint custody”. Custody refers to the right to make major decisions on behalf of a child. These decisions include major decisions on the medical needs, education and religion of the child.
On the other hand, if you have care and control of your child, you will live with the child on a day-to-day basis. The other parent will be granted access to the child.
The Court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the child. While the parents’ and child’s wishes will be taken into account, the child’s best interests will still be of utmost importance.
For parents who have at least 1 child under the age of 21, mediation is necessary. In the mediation process, a Judge-mediator and a Court counsellor will work with the parents on suitable co-parenting decisions. In the event that the parents are unable to agree, a Judge will make the decision on custody, care and control, and access on the parents’ behalf.
Even if a parent does not have custody/ care and control of his/ her child, he/ she is still obliged to maintain the child. The quantum of maintenance depends on a number of factors, including:
1. The needs of the child.
2. The financial means of the parents.
3. The child’s special needs (if any).
If parents are able to agree on the issue of maintenance at mediation, an Order pursuant to the agreement can be made. Otherwise, the Court will make a decision on the parents’ behalf.
An application can be made to vary the maintenance order later on, if there is a material change in circumstances. For example, the child’s expenses may increase or the paying parent may only be able to afford a lower maintenance amount due to changes in his/ her financial means.
After a child turns 21, the parents no longer need to provide for his/ her maintenance. In some instances, a maintenance order may provide that maintenance shall continue after the age of 21 if the child is pursuing higher education.
A wife/ incapacitated husband may apply for maintenance during the marriage or in the course of divorce proceedings.
The Court will make a decision based on many factors such as:
1. The financial needs and means of both parties.
2. The standard of living enjoyed by the parties.
3. Age of both parties.
4. Length of marriage.
Spousal maintenance will end upon the wife’s remarriage.
Similarly, a maintenance order can be varied if there is a material change in circumstances.
Division of Matrimonial Assets
Under the Women’s Charter, the Court will make a decision on the division of matrimonial assets based on the following factors:
1. Parties’ direct financial, indirect financial and non-financial contributions.
2. The needs of the children.
3. Any agreement between parties on the issue of division of matrimonial assets made in contemplation of divorce proceedings.
To understand more about how the Court will decide on ancillary issues when you decide to file for divorce without consent in Singapore, you should consult an experienced divorce lawyer to provide an evaluation of your case. Contact us at +6598330314 (whatsapp) for more information.
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