Divorce procedure in Singapore has a few basic requirements that must be noted. One needs to be in a resident of Singapore currently or have resided there for three years right before the petition is filed, and one must either have been married three years or more or have evidence of exceptional cruelty and unreasonable behavior.
If these conditions are met then the divorce procedure begins with proving irretrievable breakdown as occurred. This can be proven through evidence of adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion for two years, or separation for three to four years with the latter being acceptable even with the other spouse contesting it.
Once you have determined you can prove the above and meet the residency requirements, you should consult with a lawyer who can file the proper forms for you. These forms include but are not limited to applications for maintenance, custody and child related matters, and division of assets. You will be advised to gather documents to prove contributions into the marriage, debts jointly held, and anything that supports the needs of minor dependents.
If you are the defendant you will be served with papers including the Writ for the Divorce and other court documents. Consulting a lawyer is a good idea. The procedure allows for you to contest the Writ through filing several different papers. Even if you don’t contest the Writ you may wish to file counter claims for additional matters, including asset division and custody. There is a limited time to react on these matters so being timely is important.
There may or may not be a court appearance. For uncontested matters one may find their case settled “out of court” but decided by a judge or there will be a limited court appearance in which items are verified before the judgment is rendered. Contested divorce can be lengthy and unpleasant. A judge will hear all claims and render a verdict after hearing all sides. If satisfied the judge will grant an Interim Judgment (Divorce).
This leads to the second step in which all other matters are reviewed. After three months the judge will pass an Certificate of Making Interim Judgment Final, after which both parties would be free to marry.
Additionally to other divorce procedure in Singapore, one can apply for judicial separation or sign a deed of separation. In this case, one can claim to live apart and get legal rules on asset and child matters while remaining married. In certain cases one can annul a marriage. Being unable or unwilling to consummate the marriage, being married already, or having a sexually transmitted disease are the common reasons for seeking this, but are not exhaustive.
Divorce is a troubled time. You must go through over five thousand divorce lawyers in Singapore before you find one of the best ones who know domestic law and who will help you file the correct forms. The best place to start your search is the Law Society of Singapore’s website although there are a number of law first to chose from. There are foreign lawyers who can practice domestic law in Singapore, but you are far better to stick with a domestic lawyer. You’ll get advice on when and how to make filings from a domestic lawyer.
Because divorce lawyers in Singapore are trained in a fused profession model they can be both solicitor or advocate based on need. Larger firms will have individuals that specialize in one form or another while many small firms will do both. Litigation or conveyance specialists may be ideal for your individual situation. Meet them face to face to get an idea how they interact with you when shopping around for a good lawyer.
The amount of actually practicing lawyers in Singapore changes from time to time. Over the last 10 years, there has been a decline in lawyers. Because of the low rate of graduation for lawyers in 2009 the parliament moved the system to a more structured training program to make it easier for lawyers to remain in the field who might have otherwise left. Trusting your lawyer is a million times more crucial than finding a cheap one.
Of the bulk of lawyers, one will find most are educated within the Singapore system. This is because before 2009 most international law firms were limited to business or corporate law. Of nearly one hundred foreign firms only six had been licensed to practice local corporate law and none do domestic law. Always go with a lawyer who is licensed in the specific area of law that you are looking for. Being familiar with the statues and laws behind the rulings can ensure that you get all the right papers filed and do not make mistakes that could cost you later.
When seeking divorce lawyers in Singapore one needs to keep in mind how they personally interact with the candidate in question. Consulting the Law Society of Singapore will allow you to look at all the lawyers that practice in the country. Free lawyers are provided for the poor. By consulting the source you can get a look at who is following the advertising laws.