What are the legal requirements for a Divorce to be granted?

by | Feb 15, 2016 | Knowledge & Insights

Legal requirements for a Divorce to be granted in Singapore

A Court will only grant an application for a Divorce if the following criteria are satisfied:

  • You can prove that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage by showing a minimum of one of the following facts:
    • Adultery: your spouse must have committed adultery, and you find it intolerable to live with your spouse.
      • You must also have stopped living together with your spouse within 6 months after the adultery was discovered.
      • You can’t rely on adultery as a ground for Divorce if you continued to live with your spouse for more than 6 months after the adultery was discovered
      • Adultery is often difficult and expensive to prove. This is because you must verify that your spouse had consensual sexual relations with the third party. A Private Investigator must be engaged to get supporting evidence of the adultery.
      • Alternatively, you can prove that your spouse had an “improper association” with a third party (e.g. by showing that the relationship between both parties is so intimate that adultery can reasonably be assumed if there was an opportunity for it to take place).
    • Unreasonable behaviour: your spouse must have behaved in such a way that you can’t reasonably be expected to live with your spouse
      • Some examples include situations where your spouse has acted in the following way:
        • Your spouse has committed family violence by:
          • Placing a family member in fear of hurt
          • Causing hurt to a family member
          • Wrongfully confining or restraining a family member against their will
          • Causing continual harassment with intent to cause anguish to a family member, including verbal abuse, psychological or emotional abuse
        • Your spouse has neglected the family (e.g. keeping late nights, not financially supporting the family, irresponsibly incurring debts that adversely affect the family)
        • Your spouse has committed adultery with or has improper associations with a third party
        • Your spouse has committed domestic violence
      • You can’t rely on your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour as a ground for Divorce if you continued to live with your spouse for more than 6 months after the final incidence of unreasonable behaviour
    • Desertion: your spouse deserted you for a continuous period of a minimum of 2 years before the Divorce
      • You must not have agreed to your spouse’s desertion
      • The ordinary wear and tear (e.g. tension) of married life can’t be used as a sufficiently serious reason for the desertion
      • There can be “constructive desertion” when one party leaves home due to the behaviour or mistreatment of the other party
    • 3 years’ separation with consent: you and your spouse must have lived apart for a continuous period of a minimum of 3 years before the Divorce, and your spouse must agree to the Divorce
      • Parties will be regarded as having been separated if they have lived under the same roof but sleeping in separate bedrooms and keeping separate households (e.g. financially independent and separate expenses).
    • 4 years separation without consent: you and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of a minimum of 4 years before the Divorce
      • Your spouse doesn’t need to agree to the Divorce if both parties have been separated for a minimum of 4 years
About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.