Is it Possible to Get a Divorce in Singapore when the Marriage is Less than 3 years?

Every week, I receive enquiries from potential clients about the possibility of getting a divorce in Singapore when the marriage is less than 3 years.

Is it possible to get a divorce in Singapore when the marriage is less than 3 years? Yes, provided that you can prove that you have suffered “exceptional hardship” which is something very out of the ordinary and more than what an ordinary person can reasonably bear. If you wish to file for divorce in Singapore when the marriage is less than 3 years, based on the fact that you have suffered “exceptional hardship”, it is advisable for you to obtain a psychiatrist report to prove the same.

Case Study

Nur Fairuzana was recently found guilty of using a knife to stab her husband. She was diagnosed with “adjustment disorder with a recent acute situational reaction”. Nur Fairuzana had married her husband when she was 16. Her husband informed her in January 2016 that he wished to marry his Filipino girlfriend. She was physically abused by her husband throughout her marriage and the physical abuse escalated in the first 3 months of 2016. Nur Fairuzana had a personal protection order against her husband.

She was married for 14 years and is now undergoing divorce proceedings.

See: Elena Chong, “Woman gets six weeks’ jail for stabbing husband”, The Straits Times, 16 October 2017

Many of my clients asked if it is possible to get a divorce in Singapore when the marriage is less than 3 years if they have evidence demonstrating the commission of adultery by their spouse. The answer is no. It would take something quite exceptional to qualify for the exceptional hardship provision.

Having said that, I can imagine someone in Nur Fairuzana’s shoes (if she had been married for less than 3 years and if she had been in a civil marriage) to stand a good chance of getting a divorce in Singapore when the marriage is less than 3 years. Not only was she betrayed by her spouse, she was physically abused and had a PPO to show it. Further, she had been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition, which might well have been caused by the exceptional hardship she suffered in the course of the marriage. Given the circumstances, she may be able to file for divorce in Singapore when the marriage is less than 3 years.

Alternative

If you do not meet the requirements of the provision, you may still be able to end the marriage through an annulment.

Contact us today to understand your options!

You may also be interested to read more about:

1. Divorce and Separation

2. Annulment (Nullity) of Marriage

3. Children’s Issues

4. Matrimonial Assets

5. Maintenance Issues (Alimony)

6. Family Violence

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