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The Divorce Process – All The Steps Involved

The divorce between two partners is a long and drawn-out process that seems to be everyone’s worst nightmare. No one marries whilst expecting their marriage to end in a divorce, still, some of them are prepared for it while some of them are not.

There are two kinds of divorce, one where the divorce that takes place is due to both the parties being in agreement on separating from each other and ending their marriage, which is known as mutual consort divorce. The other kind of divorce is where only one of both parties wants to end their marriage and so files for a divorce, in other words, one of the spouses is contesting for divorce.

Both of the divorce processes are going to be an equally long drawn-out nightmare for the couple that is separating.

Applying For Divorce In Singapore

To commence the divorce process in Singapore, the applicant should be:

a) A resident in Singapore for more than 3 years before the start of the divorce; or

b) Is ‘Domiciled’ in Singapore at the time that the divorce began.

Long absences can break the continuity of residence in Singapore. If you are not a Singapore resident then you need to consult a legal professional to make sure if you would be domiciled in Singapore or not. That means you are residing in Singapore with the intention to live there permanently.
A temporary stay for work or other purposes is not enough to merit a domicile in Singapore.

Divorce Process

To be divorced in Singapore the marriage should get to the stage of an ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’, using one of the following supporting facts:

  1. Adultery by one spouse.
  2. Unreasonable behaviour of a spouse.
  3. One spouse has left the other for two years without any intention of returning.
  4. Both partners have lived apart for three years or more and both of them consent for divorce.

How Much Time Does It Take?

Generally, to start the divorce process in Singapore, the couple needs to be married for at least three years. This rule is there due to the policy consideration of promoting the sanctity of marriage and ensure that no one rushes into a marriage blindly and then wants a divorce later when they realize their mistake. The aim here is to make couples who are in love to look at all the facts before marrying each other so that no situation should arise later where they wish to get divorced before three years.

However, there are exceptions for certain types of situations where the court allows the couple to get divorced before three years have passed into their marriage.
Divorce in Singapore, when files with the mutual consent of both parties, generally take five to six months from the date of filing to the grant of Final Judgment.

What Documents Will You Need?

The documents that will be needed for the divorce process are as follows:

  • The address proof of husband and wife.
  • Details of professions of husband and wife if both are working.
  • Current earnings of husband and wife.
  • The certificate of marriage.
  • Information on the family background.
  • Photographic evidence of marriage.
  • Evidence proving their failed attempts at reconciliation.
  • Income tax statements.
  • Paperwork and details of property and assets of the parties.
  • Some other documents too may be needed, depending on the type of case and its circumstances.

The Divorce Process

The divorce process is a two-stage process. The first stage involves the court making decision on the question of the divorce itself, in other words, whether the marriage can be saved or should be dissolved. Once the court comes to the decision of dissolving the marriage, the second stage will start.

The second stage is dealing with all ‘ancillary matters’, that is the children, the maintenance and support of spouses and children, the matrimonial assets and the division of those assets and properties.

The steps in a divorce are as follows:


Step 1: Filing for a Divorce Petition
Step 2: Service of the Petition
Step 3: Filing for Memorandum of Appearance
Step 4: Filing for an answer and/or cross Petition
Step 5: Filing for a reply and/or answer to cross Petition
Step 6: Status conference
Step 7: Setting Down
Step 8: Pre-trial conference
Step 9: Mediation, Counselling and/or Joint Conference
Step 10: Adjourned Pre-trial Conference, filing of affidavits of evidence-in-chief
Step 11: Hearing of divorce Petition

Second Stage

Step 12: Pre-trial conference for ancillary matters
Step 13: Mediation, Counselling and/or Joint Conference
Step 14: Adjourned Pre-Trial Conference, discovery, filing of affidavits
Step 15: Hearing of ancillary matters
Step 16: Application for decree absolute

Thus, all the steps of the divorce process get concluded and both the husband and wife are free of each other. It is a long and hard process that can take time so both parties have to be prepared for the emotional battle that is to follow.

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