Three (3) Year Bar to filing for Divorce in Singapore

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Can I file for divorce in Singapore if I have been married for less than 3 years?

If you have been married for less than 3 years, you would not be able to file for divorce in Singapore.

However, in exceptional circumstances, you may be able to file for divorce even if your marriage has not reached the 3-year mark.

See: Section 94 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)

Exceptional hardship

The Court may allow you to file for divorce within the first 3 years of the marriage if you have suffered “exceptional hardship”. Exceptional hardship, as a High Court Judge described, is “something quite out of the ordinary and more than what an ordinary person should reasonably be asked to bear.”

Exceptional depravity

The Court may also allow you to file for divorce within the first 3 years of the marriage if the case is one of “exceptional depravity” on the part of your spouse.

Applying for leave (permission) to file for divorce within the first 3 years of marriage

An application for leave (permission) from the Court to file for divorce within the first 3 years of marriage is commenced via an originating summons application, accompanied by an affidavit (statement) in which the applicant provides the Court with a background of the marriage and particulars of the exceptional hardship he/ she suffered.

The applicant’s spouse has the opportunity to respond to the contents of the applicant’s affidavit (statement) in his/ her reply affidavit (statement).

The applicant has the right to make a final reply to his/ her spouse’s affidavit (statement).

There will be a hearing wherein the Court will make its decision on the application.

Should leave (permission) be granted, the applicant can proceed to file for divorce in Singapore and the usual procedures apply.

Your divorce lawyer can assist by:

1. Advising you on the strength of your case (if you wish to apply for leave (permission) to file for divorce within the first 3 years of your marriage).

2. Representing you if you decide to apply for leave (permission) to file for divorce within the first 3 years of your marriage, or defending you against your spouse’s application.

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

4. 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