The cold hard truth is that not all marriages stand the test of time and sometimes happily ever after just has to end earlier than expected. Divorce in Singapore is still a taboo subject. Many of us still think that the process is long and expensive, but that is not the case anymore.
The Simplified Uncontested Divorce Proceedings, introduced in 2015 by the Family Justice Courts, may allow you to conclude your marriage in just 4 months following the start of divorce proceedings. It is important to take note that this is only if you and your spouse have consented to an uncontested divorce and with the both of you agreeing on all ancillary matters (e.g. child custody, the division of matrimonial assets, visitation rights etc.) and are not bankrupt.
When commencing divorce proceedings in Singapore you or your lawyers will prepare some documents. We at I.R.B. Law LLP believe that it is important for you to know more about what each of those documents is and how these documents are relevant to your divorce.
What is the “Writ of Divorce”?
The Writ for Divorce is a document that is served on your spouse, the defendant, stating your intention to start the dissolution of your marriage. Along with the writ, the following documents also have to be filed and served namely the Statement of Claim, Statement of Particulars, Request for Setting Down Action for Trial, Affidavit of Evidence in Chief.
What is the “Statement of Claim”?
The Statement of Claim specifies the facts over which the divorce has irretrievably broken down. Under the Women’s Chart s.95 (3)*, divorce may only be granted if one of the following has occurred:
- the defendant has committed adultery
- the defendant behaves in an unreasonable way such that one cannot expect the plaintiff to continue living with the defendant
- the defendant deserted the plaintiff for two years or more
- that the two parties have lived apart for 3 years and there is consent to the divorce*s.95 (3)(e) is only relevant in a contested divorce.
What is the “Statement of Particulars”?
In the Statement of Particulars, the details of the facts pleaded in the Statement of Claim are elaborated on with examples of how your marriage has broken down irretrievably.
You must also submit a copy of your marriage certificate, birth certificate of any children, a copy of bankruptcy searches done for each party, the defendant’s consent to simplified divorce proceedings and a draft Consent Interim Judgement may be provided in the annexe of this document.
The Defendant’s consent may be provided with a signed legal document that indicates their agreement to the divorce, while the Draft Interim Judgement (sometimes referred to as Draft Consent Order) is relevant at stage two of the divorce during the consent ancillary matters hearing, and covers all ancillary matters such as the following:
- Child custody
- Visitation rights
- Division of matrimonial home (Option to surrender, sell, transfer or sell to one party)
- Division of matrimonial assets (properties acquired and used by the family)
- Maintenance of wife and children
- Payment for divorce proceedings by defendant
What is the “Request for Setting Down Action for Trial”?
The Request for Setting Down Action for Trial is a document that formally requests that the matter is set down for trial and further informs the Court that parties have agreed on the grounds of the divorce and ancillary matters.
If the court is satisfied that all documents have been filed in accordance with the law, the divorce process will be transferred to the Simplified Hearing Track, and the Divorce Hearing conducted in Chambers, wherein members of the public are not permitted to attend your divorce trial.
What is an Affidavit of Evidence in Chief (AEIC)
The Affidavit of Evidence in Chief is a signed document that states your position and affirms to the court that all the facts stated are true.
What happens after the submission of these documents?
Divorce in Singapore is a two-stage process, the Divorce being the first stage and the ancillary matters being the second stage. Following the filing of these documents, you will be informed of a hearing date. During this hearing, an Interim Judgement will be granted, as well as a consent ancillary matters hearing. The Court will then issue, at your request, a Final Judgement three months after the Interim Judgement has been granted, thus finalising your divorce.
The article was originally posted at irblaw.com.sg