In our previous articles, we explained the process of filing for divorce in Singapore, as well as ways to prove unreasonable behaviour in a marriage. In this article, we will summarise the pre-conditions and legal grounds for getting a divorce.

For a divorce to proceed, there needs to be proof of an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage which will make up the legal grounds for the divorce. Factors such as unreasonable behaviour, adultery, separation or desertion provide the facts for the case.

Pre-Conditions are the necessary requirements that a married couple must fulfil before they are allowed to file for divorce.

At Least 3 Years of Marriage

To qualify for a divorce, you will have to be married for a minimum of 3 years. However, if you can prove to the court that you have suffered exceptional hardship, or that your spouse has been exceptionally unreasonable towards you, or any other exceptional personal circumstances that could justify an early divorce, then you should consult a divorce lawyer who can guide you through the process.

Either you or your spouse will also have to be based, or domiciled in Singapore to be able to file for divorce.

Proving Irretrievable Breakdown In The Marriage

In Singapore, there are four facts defined by the law that can prove irretrievable breakdown in the marriage to justify a divorce:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable Behaviour
  3. Separation
  4. Desertion

Adultery: Most guilty parties would not necessarily admit to committing adultery. However, to justify the divorce, you will need to show evidence to prove it had happened. One way to get this evidence is to hire a private investigator.

Unreasonable Behaviour: The list of what can be defined as unreasonable behaviour may be subjective and vary from person to person. Several examples include, drug or gambling addiction, violence, excessive instances of unjustifiable late nights out, social irresponsibility, etc. This is a non-exhaustive list which is why it’s necessary to speak to a lawyer who can help you based on your personal circumstances.

Separation & Desertion: A couple can be considered Separated if they have lived apart for at least 3 years, and that both parties have agreed to that separation. If one party leaves the other and shows no intention of returning, then that will be considered Desertion.

Both parties will have to show evidence of their respective living arrangements to ensure they are living separately. It is possible to live separately, even under the same roof if you both can maintain separate households. 

If both parties attempt reconciliation, but it doesn’t last more than six months, then that timeline can be counted as part of the separation period.

If the couple have been living apart for at least 4 years, then the consent of the other party is not necessary for the divorce.

For more details and information, especially if you have personal circumstances that are not listed here, you should speak to a divorce lawyer who can guide you.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. 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.

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