In a previous article, we showed you how to find a good divorce lawyer, now that you have found one, what do you do next?
If you have already made up your mind on filing for a divorce but still not too sure what the process is like, or what documents you’ll need, then this article will provide you with the basic information for you to get started.
If you are a foreigner living in Singapore, you can find more information here.
There are 2 sets of proceedings that you should know about:
- Main proceedings: the granting of an interim divorce order
- Ancillary proceedings: final judgement related to child custody and access, maintenance, parties’ assets and other marriage-related ancillary matters
The Documents You Will Need
Upon your first meeting with your divorce lawyer, you will need to bring your identity card, or any form of personal identification so that the lawyer can verify your identity.
For a divorce-related issue, you will also need to bring your original marriage certificate and if you have any children from the marriage, you will need to bring copies of their birth certificates too.
Preparing for the Statement of Claim
To begin a divorce proceeding, a Statement of Claim needs to be filed. This statement will consist of the following information:
- Particulars of the marriage: details such as the duration of the marriage as there is a minimum requirement of 3 years of marriage before divorce proceedings can begin unless you can show that you are suffering from extreme hardship.
- Particulars of the parties: personal particulars of both parties including age, occupation, education levels and citizenship. The court will hear divorce proceedings only if either party has been living in Singapore for at least the past 3 years, or based in Singapore indefinitely.
- Particulars of the parties’ children, if applicable: If the child suffers from any chronic health condition or a disability, then you will also need to have the relevant medical reports.
What Evidence Can Be Used For The Case?
To proceed with divorce, you will need to show evidence to the court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The evidence which you need to establish under the Womens’ Charter can be on either one of these following grounds:
- Adultery committed by your spouse resulting in an intolerable living environment at home. To prove adultery, you will need to provide a private investigator’s report. You will also need to file for divorce within six months of discovering the adultery.
- Unreasonable Behaviour by your spouse to the point where you cannot be expected to live with him/her anymore. This is a wide ground and as your lawyers, we will be able to help you draft out the necessary facts for this to be established in court. The evidence can be in the form of medical reports if the case involves domestic abuse. Screenshots or logs of text messages between both parties can also be used as evidence.
- Desertion: When your spouse has left you at least 2 years prior to filing for divorce. You must be able to show that your spouse has left the home where you were both living in and does not wish to return and carry on with the marriage.
- Separation for 3 years : Your spouse and you must have lived separately for a continuous period of 3 years and your spouse must agree to the divorce and the 3 years separation. This can sometimes be established even if you have been living in the same home but have been sleeping in separate rooms and lead separate lives.
- Separation for 4 years: When both parties have lived apart for at least 4 years. You do not need your spouse’s consent.
Documents for Maintenance Matters
During the ancillary stage of the proceedings where factors such as child custody and maintenance are addressed, the court will generally deal with these matters:
- Maintenance of spouse: monthly household and personal expenses, etc.
- Maintenance of children in the marriage, if applicable
- Child custody, care, control and access: for children to the marriage
- Division of matrimonial assets: these assets will be brought together as a pool of your matrimonial assets.
For those of you seeking maintenance, you will need to provide your divorce lawyer with a monthly expense breakdown for both yourself and your children from the marriage, if any, with relevant documentary proof such as bills and receipts.
The court will also consider the financial capabilities of both you and your spouse when determining whether to order maintenance, and the amount to be ordered. Therefore you will need to provide your lawyer with these documents, and as much as possible, from both parties:
- CPF statements
- Employer’s letter or employment contract
- Income tax documents
- Bank statements
- Credit Bureau Reports, or any other document proving both parties’ debts.
Division of Matrimonial Assets
For this purpose, you will have to provide documents relevant to the assets that you own, as well as assets that you own together with your spouse. These include housing loan documents, bank statements, payslips, credit card statements, valuation reports, income tax documents and if you have insurance coverage, the policy details are applicable too.
Getting a Divorce Lawyer in Singapore
Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Practice has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from domestic violence, spousal and child maintenance; family disputes to high-profile divorce; care and control and custody issues, relocation and child abduction. There is a Team of 4 experienced lawyers in the Firm. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.