Is it possible for a Singaporean to divorce overseas?
There are many reasons why a Singaporean may choose to do so. You may have registered your marriage in Singapore and subsequently relocated overseas with your spouse. After some time, your marriage broke down and you are considering if you should get a divorce overseas.
Recognition of foreign divorce order in Singapore
If you decide to get a divorce overseas, you will need to check if you fulfill the legal requirements in that country to get a foreign divorce order. However, a conflicting situation may arise as your spouse may decide to file for divorce in Singapore, especially if he/ she feels that he/ she will get a “better deal” by filing for divorce in Singapore instead.
If you are quite certain about getting a divorce overseas, and your spouse decides to file for divorce in Singapore, you may apply for an order in Singapore to “stay” (i.e. suspend) the divorce proceedings in Singapore. In this situation, the Family Justice Courts in Singapore will determine if it is more appropriate for the divorce to be heard in Singapore or overseas. The Court will consider factors such as the country where the children are presently residing at and the locations of the matrimonial assets. Should the Singapore Court decide that it is more appropriate for the case to be heard overseas, you may continue the divorce overseas.
After you obtain the foreign divorce order, you may make an application for the recognition of the foreign divorce order in Singapore. The Singapore Court will need to determine if the Court granting the foreign divorce order is of “competent jurisdiction”. For a foreign divorce order to be recognized in Singapore, one of the following requirements must be met:
1. There is a “real and sufficient connection” between the foreign Court and either party to the divorce.
2. The foreign divorce order is granted by a country where at least of the parties is domiciled at.
3.The foreign Court had exercised jurisdiction on the same basis that a Singapore Court would have exercised jurisdiction.
Assuming that the application for the recognition of the foreign divorce order in Singapore is successful, your marriage registered in Singapore will be dissolved. You can then proceed to have the Court in Singapore determine ancillary issues such as custody, division of matrimonial assets and maintenance.
Filing for Divorce in Singapore Instead
If you decide to file for divorce in Singapore instead, you will need to fulfill the legal requirements to do so.
The Singapore Court will have jurisdiction to hear your divorce if:
1. Either party is a Singapore citizen/ lived in Singapore for a minimum period of 3 years immediately before the filing of the divorce.
2. Parties have to be married for a minimum period of 3 years.
In the event that your spouse were to file for divorce overseas, you will then need to make an application for stay proceedings in that country. If you are successful, the divorce proceedings in that country will be suspended and you will continue your divorce in Singapore. After doing this, you will be able to proceed with the divorce proceedings in Singapore.
Contact us today at +6598330314 if you have more questions on filing for divorce in Singapore/ overseas.
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