DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ANNULMENT AND DIVORCE AND EFFECT ON HDB FLAT

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One key difference between an annulment and a divorce is its consequence on your HDB flat and whether you get to retain it.

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HDB DIVORCE AND ANNULMENT LAWYER

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DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ANNULMENT AND DIVORCE AND EFFECT ON HDB FLAT

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How is an annulment different from a divorce?

 

Firstly, an annulment is similar to a divorce in that after the annulment/divorce is granted, parties are no longer married to each other. Beyond that, annulments and divorces actually differ from each other in many ways.

An annulment differs from a divorce in various ways. The table below details some of these differences:

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  Divorce Annulment
Effect of divorce/annulment Existing marriage is dissolved and terminated Marriage is declared void and treated as if it never existed
Status of parties after divorce/annulment Divorcee Single
Grounds/facts to apply for divorce/annulment ·   Adultery

·   Unreasonable behaviour

·   Desertion of 2 years

·   Separation for 3 years with spouse’s consent

·   Separation for 4 years

·   The Defendant was already married at the time of your marriage.

·   The Defendant refuses to consummate the marriage.

·   Either party is unable to consummate the marriage.

·   The Defendant is suffering from any sexually transmitted disease or infection.

·   The Defendant was pregnant by someone else beside the Plaintiff.

·   There was lack of valid consent to the marriage, because either party had consented under duress, mistake, or a mental disorder.

Requirement of 3 years’ marriage before application Yes No

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What happens to your HDB flat in an annulment?

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One other difference between an annulment and a divorce is its consequence on your HDB flat and whether you get to retain it.

Under HDB regulations, neither party is allowed to retain the HDB flat if the marriage ended due to an annulment of marriage. This means that upon annulment of the marriage, the flat cannot be retained nor sold in the open market, but will have to be returned to HDB at the prevailing compensation price.

The only exception to this rule which might allow you to retain the flat is if your parents were originally listed in the application to buy the HDB flat. Beside this exception, it is also possible to make an appeal to HDB to retain the flat, subject to their approval and eligibility criteria.  You have to expect that approval will not be obtained easily.

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What happens to your HDB flat in a divorce?

 

On the other hand, if your marriage had ended in divorce and not an annulment, there are 2 situations in which you will be able to retain your HDB flat.

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Scenario 1: There are children to the marriage and you have been granted care and control of them

 

One of the HDB’s eligibility criterion for the retention of the HDB flat is that one must have a family nucleus. To have a family nucleus, the Court needs to have granted you care and control of your children. Two other conditions that must be fulfilled for you to be allowed to keep the flat include:

  • You are financially able to take on the payment of the home loan for the HDB flat; and
  • The divorce must not be due to the non-consummation of marriage or have been annulled.

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Scenario 2: There are no children to the marriage and you are eligible under the Single Singaporean Citizen Scheme

 

Even if you do not have children to the marriage, you may retain the HDB flat under the Single Singaporean Citizen (SSC) Scheme if:

  • You are a Singapore citizen;
  • You are at least 35 years old; and
  • Your matrimonial flat is a resale flat purchased from the open market without the CPF Housing Grant for Family.

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However, if your matrimonial flat was bought directly from HDB or was a resale flat bought with the CPF Housing Grant for Family, the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) must be satisfied before you can retain the flat under the SSC Scheme.

If you are unable to fulfil the MOP, it is still possible to include another person to keep the flat with, but the approval of this arrangement would be subject to HDB’s prevailing eligibility conditions and schemes.

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PKWA Law - flowchart illustrating the process for how a HDB flat is dealt with in a divorce.

Flowchart illustrating the process for how a HDB flat is dealt with in a divorce – by PKWA Divorce Lawyers

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Conclusion

If you have a HDB flat, and you are considering a divorce or annulment, you should consult an experienced divorce lawyer who can advise you of the various options available to you.  Your HDB flat is a significant investment, and you should obtain proper legal advice before you proceed with your divorce or annulment.

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ABOUT PKWA FAMILY LAW

DIVORCE LAWYER SINGAPORE - NULLITY OF MARRIAGE

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At PKWA Law, our team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore family and divorce lawyers by respected legal publications such as Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific, Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review and Doyle’s Guide to Leading Singapore Family & Divorce Lawyers. 

Contact us at tel 6854-5336 for a free first consultation. 

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Have a question? We offer a free first consultation at our office. Contact PKWA Law today.
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