Under Section 101 of the Women’s Charter, a couple may file for judicial separation in Singapore if they do not wish to live together further but do not want to file for divorce for certain reasons (e.g. religious reasons or for the sake of their children).
Judicial Separation in Singapore vs Deed of Separation in Singapore
There are a number of similarities between judicial separation in Singapore and deed of separation in Singapore. A deed of separation is a legal document signed by both married parties who want to live separate lives.
The similarities are as follows:
1. The married couple are still legally married whether they enter into judicial separation in Singapore or execute a deed of separation in Singapore.
2. The ancillary issues (namely custody of children, division of matrimonial assets, spousal maintenance (if any) and children’s maintenance will be addressed in both judicial separation and deed of separation.
The differences are as follows:
1. Judicial separation in Singapore has to be filed in the Family Justice Courts. If parties are able to decide on the ancillary issues, they do so amicably. Otherwise, the Court will make a decision on ancillary issues on their behalf.
2. Deed of separation in Singapore does not involve the Family Justice Courts. The deed of separation is prepared by a lawyer. The terms are agreed by the couple. The deed of separation is not filed in Court.
You may consider filing for a judicial separation in Singapore if it is likely that your spouse will not follow the terms in the deed of separation. Judicial separation in Singapore results in a Court order and both parties need to comply. Failure to do so is punishable under the law. However, in the event that you do not fulfill the ground of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” as set out in Section 95(3) of the Women’s Charter, then a deed of separation will be appropriate.
Judicial Separation in Singapore Vs Divorce
While both judicial separation in Singapore and divorce are granted by the Court and on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, the couple is still considered to be legally married if they are judicially separated.
If there is no possibility of getting back together or if they wish to remarry, the couple may opt for a divorce instead.
Filing for Judicial Separation in Singapore
To file for judicial separation in Singapore, you must be married for at least 3 years and your marriage must have broken down irretrievably as a result of:
1. Separation for 3 years and both parties consent to the judicial separation.
2. Separation for 4 years.
3. Desertion by one party for a minimum period of 2 years.
4. One party has committed adultery and the applicant finds it intolerable to continue living with him/ her.
5. One party has committed unreasonable behaviour and the applicable finds it intolerable to continue living with him/ her.
When filing for judicial separation in Singapore, you will need to indicate the reason(s) for the irretrievable breakdown of marriage and furnish personal particulars of both spouses. If the Court is satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and satisfactory parenting arrangements have been made, it will grant a Judgment of Judicial Separation. Other agreements will be recorded as “consent orders”. For matters which have not been agreed upon, the Court will make orders.
Parties cannot remarry since the couple is still legally married after the grant of the Judgment of Judicial Separation.
If one party passes away without a Will, the surviving party will not be entitled to the deceased’s assets (unlike other couples who are married and not judicially separated).
If the couple decide to reconcile, they may file a rescission of Judgment of Judicial Separation. A grant of Judgment of Judicial Separation does not bar either party from filing for divorce subsequently.
You may wish to consult a separation lawyer in Singapore (+6598330314) if you have more questions on judicial separation in Singapore, deed of separation in Singapore or divorce in Singapore.
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