Preparation for Divorce: Getting a Deed of Separation
Divorce Singapore – Clients often ask what their options are when they are contemplating divorce. It often surprises many to find out that they are not eligible to commence divorce proceedings unless they have been married for a minimum of 3 years before the commencement of divorce proceedings.
What can you do while waiting? – Divorce Singapore
Even where persons intending to divorce are:
- not legally eligible to commence divorce proceedings; and
- not able to establish that there is exceptional hardship,
they can still pre-emptively prepare for the commencement of divorce proceedings.
One of the more common options available to persons in these circumstances is to have a document called a Deed of Separation drawn up and signed by both parties. A Deed of Separation often contains, amongst other things, the terms of any agreement that parties have reached regarding issues such as:
- When divorce proceedings are to commence;
- Who to commence the divorce;
- The reason for the divorce;
- The agreed custody, care and control arrangements between parties for any children;
- How the matrimonial assets are to be dealt with during the divorce;
- Any interim arrangement between the parties until the divorce proceedings have commenced and/or concluded;
- Any agreement on maintenance for the spouse and children.
The list above is non exhaustive. If it has been agreed between parties, the Deed of Separation can even state that the parties wish to deal with certain issues only once the divorce proceedings have commenced.
As the Deed of Separation will detail salient facts and the agreement that had been reached by both parties before the divorce, both parties are required to sign the document to render it effective.
A Deed of Separation can only done with both spouses’ consent and co-operation.
One common misconception among clients is that once a Deed of Separation is signed, it will automatically lead to a divorce without any further steps being taken. This is not true, as you still need to file for divorce even if you have signed a Deed of Separation. Simply put, a Deed of Separation is a private document between husband and wife, and need not be registered with any government department or court. Moreover, if a party filing for divorce wishes to rely on the terms of the Deed of Separation, and the other spouse objects to it, it is open to the the Family Court to decide whether to uphold or set aside terms of the Deed.
Under what circumstances is a Deed of Separation most suitable?
In our experience, engaging a lawyer to do a Deed of Separation is suitable if:
- you are unsure if you really want a divorce and you just want to have time apart.
- you are sure you want a divorce, but you have young children and the time for divorce is not yet right.
Keen to discuss more? Call PKWA LAW at 6854 5336 / 6397 6100.