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How to commence a divorce procedure in Singapore

In order to file for a divorce in Singapore, you need to be married for at least 3 years and prove an irreversible breakdown in the marriage. Proving an irretrievable breakdown involves showing to the court at least one of 4 legally-defined facts:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behavior
  3. Desertion
  4. Separation

To commence the procedures you must draft and file certain documents in Court. Here they are:

(1) Writ for Divorce

This document informs the other partner that a divorce claim has been filed against him in court and they are invited to respond to that claim.

(2) Statement of Claim

The statement of claim is the essence of your divorce papers. It specifies to the court and the defendant the reasons you are relying on for the divorce (adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion, separation). In this document, you don’t need to include any specific facts.

(3) Statement of Particulars

In the Statement of Particulars, you must provide details on the irreversible breakdown of the marriage and explain to the court the facts related to one or more if the 4 divorce reasons.

(4) Proposed Parenting Plan

If the partners have children less than 21 years of age, they must also prepare and file a Proposed Parenting Plan. Ir resolves post-divorce care issues and specifies the obligations of rights of both parents.

(5) Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan

The partner who files the papers (the plaintiff) should also file a Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan if there is a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat to be divided between the partners. If the parties agree on the property distribution after the divorce they can file an Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan.

Parents with minor children must attend the Mandatory Parenting Programme (the “MPP”) before they file for divorce. The MPP is designed to encourage divorcing couples to make informed decisions that prioritise the well-being of children. The MPP is usually a couple of hours long.

(6) Acknowledgment of Service

This will be the acknowledgment signed by the Defendant upon receipt of divorce documents from the Plaintiff.

(7) Memorandum of Appearance

This will be the Defendant’s filing with the Court to show that he intends to appear before the Court to answer the claims against him.

 

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