Initiating Divorce in Singapore: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you making the difficult decision to divorce? – Considering your options carefully is and would help you move gracefully into this new chapter of life.

This article will explore the essential steps to initiate divorce proceedings in Singapore.

Understanding the Eligibility Criteria

Before you initiate divorce proceedings, you need to consider whether you meet the legal requirements to file for divorce.

Minimum Marriage Duration: You must be married for at least 3 years before you are eligible to file for divorce.

Exceptional Circumstances: If you have not been married for at least 3 years, you may be able to file for divorce if there is evidence of exceptional hardship or by the other spouse.

Domicile Requirement: At least one party must be domiciled in Singapore when initiating divorce proceedings.

Habitual Residence Criterion: Alternatively, at least one party must have been a habitual resident in Singapore for atleast 3 years prior to filing for divorce.

Divorce Consultation

At Gloria James-Civetta & Co., the journey begins with a 30-minute free initial consultation on general laws and the process of divorce. During this session, their matrimonial divorce lawyers will:

Assess Eligibility: The lawyers will consider the legal requirements and your circumstances and determine whether you meet the conditions to file for divorce in Singapore.

Identify Suitable Fact for Divorce: Your unique circumstances will guide the lawyer in advising which fact of divorce (e.g., unreasonable behaviour, separation, adultery, desertion) would be most appropriate for your matter.

Divorce Process Overview: Through a customised divorce flow chart, GJC lawyers will explain the various stages of the divorce process, giving you a clear roadmap of what to expect.

Explanation of Ancillary Matters: In addition to identifying the fact to rely on to file for divorce, understanding your position and the legal implications of custody, access, maintenance, and division of assets is also vital. The lawyers will provide a comprehensive explanation of these aspects.

Exploring Divorce Options: Every case is unique. It is important to explore and consider all your options, such as whether to proceed on a simplified, uncontested divorce track or the normal track. The GJC team will help you consider various approaches to your divorce and ensuring that you are well-informed when making decisions.

Filing the Divorce Papers

Once you are clear about whether you are eligible to file for divorce, the fact you are relying on to file for divorce and your position on ancillary matters, the next step is to prepare and file the necessary paperwork. This includes the Writ for Divorce, Statement of Claim, Statement of Particulars and other supporting documents, which must be carefully prepared and submitted digitally to the Family Justice Courts. Accuracy and attention to detail are crucial to avoid any delays or complications.

The process and paperwork will also differ depending on whether you are filing for divorce on the simplified uncontested track or on the normal track.

Serving the Divorce Papers

Under the normal track divorce, the divorce papers will need to be served on your spouse after they have been filed and accepted by the Court. This is a  legal requirement which ensures that your spouse is formally notified of the divorce proceedings. This requirement is usually dispensed with under the simplified uncontested divorce track.

Managing Ancillary Matters

If parties could not agree on the ancillary matters and the divorce proceeded on the normal track, issues such as child custody and care and control, child maintenance, spousal maintenance, and asset division would often arise following the filing of divorce papers.

These issues may require careful negotiation and, in some cases, court intervention through mediation or through an ancillary matters hearing. An experienced lawyer can guide you through these negotiations and help you reach a fair and reasonable settlement.

Attending Court

If your divorce is uncontested, the process is straightforward and you are not required to attend Court. However, for contested divorces, you may be required to attend Court.

Interim and Final Judgement

Upon the Court finding that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, Interim Judgement will be granted, which dissolves the marriage. For simplified uncontested divorces, this is usually within 1 month from the date of filing. Generally, Final Judgement may be extracted 3 months after the Interim Judgement is granted or upon the resolution of all ancillary matters, ie., when parties come to an agreement or when the Court makes a determination. Final Judgement can be used to prove that the marriage is legally dissolved and parties are now permitted to remarry.


Initiating divorce in Singapore can be a daunting task, but with the right guidance and support, it can be successfully navigated to reach a reasonable outcome.  

The team at Gloria James-Civetta & Co. offers a comprehensive approach to divorce, starting with a free 30-minute consultation to set you on the right path.

Their expertise and empathetic approach can provide the clarity and support needed during this challenging time, ensuring that your interests are well-represented throughout the process.

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