The Grounds for Divorce in Singapore for Foreigners

It’s no wonder that with the increasing number of foreigners in Singapore, an equally increasing number of foreigners are choosing to file for divorce here.

In Singapore, either husband or wife can initiate the divorce proceedings on a fault or non-fault basis. In order for foreigners to file for divorce in Singapore, they’ll have to establish that the Singapore Courts have jurisdiction to hear the proceedings for divorce.

Establishing Jurisdiction:

In order to file for divorce in Singapore, the couple would have to satisfy the following requirements to establish jurisdiction:

Domiciled in Singapore at the Time of the Proceedings:

The term “domiciled” means the place where a person has a permanent home. Singaporeans are generally presumed to be domiciled in Singapore. However, foreign expatriates on an Employment Pass are not considered domiciled in Singapore in most instances.

Habitually Resident in Singapore for a Period of 3 Years Immediately at the Time of the Proceedings:

Habitually resident suggests that the residence is voluntary and the person has an intention to settle down in Singapore, apply Singapore PR or their actions suggest that they, in fact, had an intention of settling down in Singapore.

Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage

According to a divorce lawyer singapore, there is only one ground for divorce, which is the fact that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The most common facts to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage are:

Adultery:

To fill a divorce on grounds of adultery, divorce proceedings must commence within six months of the guilty party’s confession or upon the discovery of the improper conduct. In addition, the party initiating the divorce under grounds of adultery will have to produce relevant evidence of the improper conduct.

Adultery will not be considered as a fact for divorce if both parties continue to stay together for more than six months after the initial discovery. Also, the party who committed adultery cannot use their improper conduct as a reason to file for divorce.

Unreasonable Behavior by the Other Party:

Under the grounds of unreasonable behavior, the marriage must be proved to be irretrievably broken down when one party is no longer expected to live reasonably with the other.

This includes any unreasonable acts — such as domestic violence, or a failure to act — such as not spending time with the family. Despite its subjective nature, it does not include mere unhappiness or the realization that the couple is not suitable for each other.

Desertion:

The Plaintiff must show evidence that the Defendant has deserted them for a continuous period of at least two years without the intention of returning if divorce is to be filed under the ground of desertion.

3-Year Separation with Consent:

For this to be accepted as a ground for divorce, both parties have to live separately for at least three years with the consent of the Defendant before the filing of the Writ is done with the consent of the Defendant.

In the event that both parties reconcile during the period of separation, the reconciliation period is disregarded as long as it does not exceed six months continuously.

4-Year Separation Without Consent:

This means that the couple has already been living separately for at least 4 years continuously. In such cases, the plaintiff does not need the consent of the defendant to file for divorce. Even so, it’s best for the plaintiff to produce as much evidence as possible to prove the duration of separation.