Family Law & Divorce Law

Singapore Divorce Lawyer – Contested Divorce & Uncontested Divorce

Contested Divorce v Uncontested Divorce – Our divorce lawyers in Singapore specialise in divorces that are contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce occurs when there are no disagreements between you and your spouse over the divorce and any children or financial issues. An uncontested divorce is recommended over a contested divorce as it is quicker, stress free and legal fees are cheaper.

In an uncontested divorce, the whole divorce process is compressed in that both the divorce and the ancillaries will be dealt with at the same time.  This is unlike a contested divorce where there is a 2-step process – the court will first deal with the divorce first and then deal with the ancillary issues later.

If your divorce is uncontested, we will draft the court order that sets out the agreement between you and your spouse.  This consent court order is binding once it is approved by the Family Court, a process that usually takes about 4 weeks.

Our Family and Divorce Lawyers have received praise and positive reviews from clients for our expertise, cost effective and sensible approach to solving family law problems.   Some of our clients’ reviews are in the Testimonials page.

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How long does a Contested Divorce take compared to Uncontested Divorce?

How long your divorce case takes depends on whether it is contested or uncontested.   If your divorce is uncontested, you can expect to obtain your Interim Judgment within 4 weeks of your filing the divorce papers. If your case is contested,  your case may take between 6 to 12 months to complete.

In Singapore, about 80 percent of divorce cases are settled without going for a full hearing.  The high rate of successful resolutions is commendable and is due to the active and effective role played by the Singapore Family Courts in helping parties to settle.

When you file for a divorce, whether it is contested or uncontested, you must still show you qualify for a divorce in Singapore and that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

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Can you divorce in Singapore?

First, you must have been married for at least 3 years before you can file a Writ for divorce on the ground that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.  If you are married for less than 3 years, you can only file for divorce if you have obtained permission from the court.  This is not easy to obtain as you must show that you have suffered exceptional hardship or if your spouse has been exceptionally cruel.

Second, you or your spouse must be domiciled (treated Singapore as your permanent abode) at the commencement of the divorce proceedings. Alternatively, either of you must have resided in Singapore for 3 years immediately before the commencement of divorce proceedings.  Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents are presumed to be domiciled in Singapore, so only non-Singaporeans and non-PRs need to prove domicile.

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You must show ‘irretrievable breakdown” in marriage

Third, you must show that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown’ in the marriage.

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What is ‘Irretrievable Breakdown’?

The Court will only grant a divorce if you can prove that the marriage has “broken down irretrievably.”   To prove this, you must show one or more of the following facts:

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Adultery

The Defendant (the person being sued) has committed adultery with another person (the Co-Defendant) and the Plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the Defendant.

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‘Unreasonable Behaviour’

The Defendant has behaved in such a way that the Plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with him/her.

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Desertion

The Defendant has deserted or left the Plaintiff for a continuous period of 2 years without any intention of returning.

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Separation for 3 years

The Plaintiff and Defendant have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years and the Defendant agrees to a divorce.

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Separation for 4 years

The Plaintiff and the Defendant have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 4 years. No consent is required from the Defendant.

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Ancillary issues

Once you have obtained your divorce, the court process moves to the second stage.  This is the stage where the court decides on ancillary issues such as children custody, property division and money issues.

In a divorce proceeding, the parties may apply for:-

  • maintenance;
  • custody, care and control of children and access (such as visitation rights); and
  • division of matrimonial assets, including the matrimonial home.

In deciding on the division of matrimonial assets, the Court will take into consideration various factors including:-

  • the extent of contributions made by each party in money, property or work towards the acquiring of the assets and non-financial contributions made by parties;
  • any debts owing by either party which were contracted for this joint benefit; and
  • the needs of the minor children (if any) of the marriage.

You should organise all the documents you have in support of your claim as these will have to be shown to the Court. Documents include evidence of mortgage payments, pay slips, CPF statements, Income Tax assessments and documents relating to the matrimonial home amongst others.

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SINGAPORE DIVORCE LAWYER

Singapore Divorce Lawyer – Our Family Lawyers are named by Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review, Global Law Experts and Doyle’s Guide as leading family lawyers.

Our Matrimonial Lawyers have received the following recognition:

    • For 2 straight years, PKWA Law is shortlisted by Asian Legal Business as one of the best divorce law firms at the ALB Southeast Asia Law Awards in 2016 and 2017.
    • Doyles Guide to Leading Family & Divorce Lawyers – Singapore, 2017  –  Mr Lim Chong Boon and Ms Dorothy Tan are both ranked by their peers as “Leading Family and Divorce Lawyers in Singapore 2017”.
    • PKWA Law is ranked as a “Leading Family and Divorce Law Firm in Singapore 2017” in Doyles Guide 2017.
    • Global Law Experts 2015 Edition — Lim Chong Boon is a Recommended “Family and Civil” lawyer.
    • ACQ Law Awards 2014 — Lim Chong Boon and PKWA are Recommended in “Family Law.”
    • Doyles Guide For Singapore Family & Divorce Law 2015 — PKWA is a recommended divorce law firm.
    • Acquisition International 2015 Legal Awards — Best Family Law Firm and Recognised Leader in Divorce Law.
    • 2016 Corporate Intl Magazine Global Award: PKWA is awarded “Family Law Firm of the Year in Singapore 2016”
    • Doyles Guide of Leading Singapore Family Lawyers 2016 – Lim Chong Boon and Dorothy Tan are ranked by their peers as Leading Family and Divorce Lawyers in Singapore. PKWA Law is also ranked as a recommended Leading Family Law Firm.
    • Deputy Head Dorothy Tan was named in Asian Legal Business 2016 list of “40 under 40 – Asia’s Brightest Young Legal Minds.
    • Dorothy was also nominated for “Young Lawyer of the Year’ at the Asian Legal Business SE Asia Law Awards 2017.
    • PKWA’s family lawyers Dorothy Tan and Low Jin Liang listed as among Singapore’s ‘Most Influential Lawyers Under 40” by Singapore Business Review 2016.

Keen to discuss more? At PKWA Law, we offer a free first consultation. We will listen to you and advise you of your rights and options.


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