Substituted Service and Dispensation of Service

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Substituted Service

After your divorce papers are filed in Court, the divorce papers are to be served on your spouse by hand.

What happens if you have lost contact with your spouse, and you are not able to locate your spouse to serve the papers on him or her? Or he/ she may be intentionally evading service of the divorce documents?

You may wish to apply to Court to serve the divorce documents on your spouse via one of the following ways instead:

1. Posting on the front door at your spouse’s last known address in Singapore.

2. Prepaid AR registered post / ordinary post.

3. Email.

4. Advertisement.

Requirements

Before an application for substituted service is made, there must be at least 2 attempts to serve the divorce documents on your spouse by hand.

1. If you intend to serve the divorce papers via posting on the front door of your spouse’s last known address in Singapore, you need to provide:

a. Evidence that your spouse is currently living at the address; and

b. Reasons for your belief that your spouse is currently living at the address- for example, you are also living at the same address, and see your spouse every day.

c. Otherwise, you should attempt to locate your spouse by contacting his/ her relatives, friends, and employer(s) (if any), in order to discover the address at which he/ she is currently residing.

2. If you intend to serve the divorce papers via prepaid AR registered post/ ordinary post, you need to provide:

a. Reasons for your belief that your spouse is currently living at the particular address; and

b. Confirmation that your spouse is not ordinarily resident in Singapore (if you intend to send the divorce papers to an overseas address).

3. If you intend to serve the divorce papers via email, you need to provide:

a. Evidence that the email account belongs to your spouse and that it is currently active.

4. If you intend to serve the divorce papers via advertisement, you need to provide:

a. Details of your spouse’s literacy, and in what language; and

b. If the advertisement is to be placed in an overseas newspaper, your reasons for believing that your spouse is in that country.

Dispensation of Service

In exceptional situations when you have exhausted all means of contacting your spouse and are unable to serve the divorce documents on your spouse by any of the substituted means listed above, you may wish to apply to the Court to dispense with service of documents on him/ her altogether.

Requirements

Under the law, before an order for dispensation of service can be granted, you should make attempts to locate your spouse by contacting his/ her relatives, friends, and employer(s) (if any), in order to discover the address at which he/ she is currently residing.

To make an application for dispensation of service, you would also need to provide the following information to the Court:

1. Details of your last contact with your spouse;

2. Details of your knowledge of your spouse’s relatives and friends, and those person(s)’ knowledge of his/ her whereabouts;

3. Details of your attempts to contact your spouse’s contacts; and

4. The name and address of your spouse’s last known employer (if any), and the result of enquiries you have made of that employer as to your spouse’s whereabouts.

Your divorce lawyer can assist by:

1. Advising you on whether you should make an application for substituted service/ dispensation of service.

2. Representing you if you decide to file for divorce and make an application for substituted service/ dispensation of service.

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

4. Representing you 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