SIMPLIFIED UNCONTESTED DIVORCE IN SINGAPORE
It is important to note that your lawyer should still give you full and proper advice even if your divorce is uncontested.
SIMPLIFIED UNCONTESTED DIVORCE IN SINGAPORE .
There are 2 types of divorce process in Singapore – “Contested’ and “Uncontested” (also known as “Simplified Divorce”).
What is a “Contested Divorce” in Singapore?
When a divorce is contested, it means that the husband and wife cannot agree on the divorce, children custody, how to divide their assets and maintenance. In Singapore, about 90 percent of contested divorce cases are settled half way. The fact that so many contested divorce cases are settled is due to the fact that the Family Court play a very active and important role in encouraging and helping parties to settle. In less than 10 percent of contested cases, the parties are not able to settle and the Judge will hear the case and make the necessary decisions for them.
A Contested Divorce will take a longer time and will cost more money than an Uncontested Divorce.
What is a “Simplified” or “Uncontested Divorce” in Singapore?
A Simplified or Uncontested divorce basically means that both spouses agree to a divorce and all ancillary issues. The agreement must be reached before the divorce papers are filed to enable your lawyer to file the papers in the fast track simplified divorce hearing in the Family Court. You should then obtain your Interim Judgment in 4 weeks.
The common areas of agreement are usually centred on the following:
a. What is the ground of divorce?
Do you and your spouse agree that divorce is to proceed on one party’s unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion or separation?
b. Who has the children?
Both spouses must agree on who will have care and control of the children. The children lives with the party having care and control and that spouse has the right to make daily living decisions for the children.
Next, your spouse and you must agree on the frequency of access that the other party has to the children. Is it reasonable, supervised or liberal access?
Both parties should also agree on whether they both will have joint custody of the children. Having “joint custody” means both parties must agree on the major issues of children education, hospitalisation and choice of religion. The norm in Singapore is to have “joint custody” and we encourage parties to adopt “joint custody” unless it is clear that joint custody will not be in the children’s best interests.
c. How are assets to be divided?
The most obvious asset that has to be divided is the matrimonial home. There are several common options when it comes to division of the matrimonial home and they are:
- sale of the matrimonial property in open market.
- husband purchases the matrimonial home from the wife.
- wife purchases the matrimonial home from the husband.
- the matrimonial home is transferred to one party.
The division of matrimonial assets can be quite tricky especially if it involves outstanding outstanding bank loans, HDB flat eligibility and CPF monies. You will need an experienced divorce specialist (preferably with conveyancing background) to help you.
You and your spouse must also agree on who is to pay the children’s monthly maintenance and the amount of such maintenance. If the wife is not working or does not earn much, there should also be a consensus on whether and how much the husband pays wife maintenance.
Why you should get a divorce lawyer even if your divorce is uncontested
It is important to note that your lawyer should still give you full and proper advice based on the existing known facts even if your divorce is uncontested. You certainly do not want a situation in which you did not get proper legal advice and agreed to an unfair settlement.
Your lawyer must be able to advise you if the terms of settlement are fair and reasonable to you. This means that your lawyer must be able to work out whether the terms of the children custody agreement are fair, what is your fair and equitable entitlement to division of your matrimonial property and assets and what is a fair maintenance to pay or to give.
Of course, your lawyer may not know the full extent of your spouse’s assets and earnings as there is no obligation on your spouse to disclose all these fully in an Uncontested Divorce.
But your lawyer must still be able and willing to advise you based on the known facts to enable you to make an informed decision.
To learn more about getting a good divorce lawyer, please read here.
The preparations of the Uncontested Divorce papers
In a Contested Divorce, your lawyer must check if you are required to attend the Mandatory Parenting Program, send the HDB Query (if you own a HDB flat), and draft the Proposed Parenting Plan and Proposed Matrimonial Plan. There is also other work your lawyer must prepare.
In contrast, in an Uncontested Divorce, your lawyer is not required to prepare the aforesaid papers. Instead, the paper work is simplified and your lawyer is only required to prepare and file the following divorce papers:
- Writ for Divorce
- Statement of Claim
- Statement of Particulars
- Affidavit of Evidence in Chief
- Draft Consent Order
Once the papers are signed, they are filed in the Family Justice Court. If you are the spouse applying for a divorce, you are the plaintiff. Your spouse is the defendant.
The Hearing Date
You can expect to have a hearing date for your Uncontested Divorce within 4 weeks of filing the papers. In an Uncontested Divorce, the divorce hearing is done in chambers without the attendance of the parties or lawyers. This means that no members of the public are allowed to watch the hearing.
How Quick is an Uncontested Divorce?
If you and your spouse are able to agree to the above issues, you will be able to obtain an Interim Judgment (conditional divorce) within 1 month of filing the papers.
After that, you should get your Final Judgment 3 months later. This concludes the divorce proceedings.
How Simple is an Uncontested Divorce?
An Uncontested Divorce in Singapore is really simple, quick and hassle free. Both you and your spouse are not required to attend court. Most of the work is done by the lawyers. It is also involves less stress and much lower legal fees.
How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost?
At PKWA Law, we offer Fixed Fee Uncontested Divorce Packages that start from $1,200 all in. Our Fixed Price Packages are as follows:
If you cannot agree on an Uncontested Divorce
When you file for an Uncontested Divorce in Singapore, you save money, time and most importantly, your divorce is done without litigation. However, if your spouse is non-communicative or imposes unreasonable terms, it can be challenging and difficult to agree on an Uncontested Divorce.
In such an event, your only recourse to divorce is to file for a Contested Divorce. The procedures and process for a Contested Divorce are substantially different from that of a Uncontested Divorce. To read up about the procedures for a Contested Divorce, please click here.
If you need help
Contact PKWA Law at 6854-5336. We will be happy to meet you for a free first consultation to explain whether you qualify for a Simplified Uncontested Divorce. All our Family Lawyers speak English and Chinese.
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ABOUT PKWA LAW
At PKWA Law, our team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore divorce lawyers by respected independent legal publications such as Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review, Global Law Experts and Doyle’s Guide to Singapore Family Lawyers. We will advise you whether you qualify for a Simplified Uncontested Divorce in Singapore.