Ground for Divorce in Singapore- Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage

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Under the law, either spouse may commence divorce proceedings on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

What do I need to prove in order to file for divorce in Singapore?

You would need to show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. To do this, you would need to satisfy the Court that one of the following has taken place:

1. Adultery: Commission of adultery by your spouse and you find it intolerable to continue living with him/ her. Only the spouse who discovered the adultery of his/ her spouse can file for divorce, and not the other way around. In other words, the person who committed adultery would not be able to use the fact of his/ her own commission of adultery to commence divorce proceedings in Singapore.

2. Unreasonable behaviour: There is unreasonable behaviour on the part of your spouse such that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him/ her. For unreasonable behaviour, only the spouse who is unable to tolerate the unreasonable behavior of his/ her spouse can file for divorce in Singapore, and not the other way around. In other words, the person who has been unreasonable in his/ her behaviour towards his/ her spouse would not be able to use the fact of his/ her own unreasonable behaviour to commence divorce proceedings in Singapore.

3. Desertion for a period of 2 years: You must have been deserted by your spouse for a continuous period of 2 years before you can file for divorce. Again, only the spouse who has been deserted can commence divorce proceedings in Singapore against the spouse who deserted, and not the other way around.

4. Separation for a continuous period of 4 years: Husband and wife must be physically separated and it must be by choice. In this case, either party can proceed to file for divorce. A divorce based on the fact of separation is commonly termed as a “faultless divorce”, since the divorce is proceeding not as a result of the “fault” (adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion) of either party. Husband and wife can live under the same roof (in separate bedrooms) during the period of separation.

5. Separation for a continuous period of 3 years: This is similar to “separation for a continuous period of 4 years”, except that the consent of your spouse is needed for the purpose of the divorce.

See: Section 95 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)

Your divorce lawyer can assist by:

1. Advising you on whether you are eligible to file for divorce in Singapore.

2. Representing you if you decide to file for divorce, or defending you if your spouse files for divorce.

3. Ensuring that your interests and concerns are addressed.

4. Advising you on your rights.

5. Drafting and filing the documents required by the Court.

6. Representing you in negotiations with the other party, mediation sessions and in Court.

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