The divorce process involves a 2-step process.
- The termination of the marriage. Parties will receive an Interim Judgment once the divorce is granted.
- The issue of ancillary matters. This comprises of the following issues: (a) Custody, care and control of children (if any); (b) Maintenance for children (if any); (c) Maintenance for spouse; (d) Division of matrimonial assets. After the issue of ancillary matters are resolved, parties will receive a Final Judgment. This means that the divorce is final and official.
In this article, we will discuss matters pertaining to the 1st step of the process: Termination of the marriage (i.e. Grant of the Interim Judgment).
Commencement of divorce proceedings
If you are filing for the divorce, you are the Plaintiff. Your spouse is the Defendant. In the event there is a 3rd party involved, the 3rd party is the Co-Defendant. Below is a list of the basic divorce documents that have to be filed in Court:
- Writ for Divorce;
- Statement of Claim;
- Statement of Particulars;
- A Proposed/Agreed Parenting Plan (if you have children below 21 years old);
- Certificate of Completion (if you have children below 21 years old);
- A Proposed/Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan (if there is a HDB property);
- Acknowledgment of Service; and
- Memorandum of Appearance.
Once the divorce documents are filed and accepted by the Court, it has to be served to your spouse by way of personal service.
If your spouse does not contest the divorce
Once the divorce documents are served to your spouse, and your spouse does not raise any issue with the content of your Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars, your case will be ready to set down and the Court will fix a date for the uncontested divorce hearing. Accordingly, the Interim Judgment for divorce shall be granted. Alternatively, the Court may require you and your spouse to attend Court. This may occur if there is at least one child of marriage below 14 years old. The Court may direct parties to attend mediation and mandatory counselling at the Child Focused Resolution Centre (CFRC).
If your spouse contests the divorce
In the event your spouse contests the divorce, this process may inevitably take longer. Within 22 days of receiving the divorce documents, your spouse can file a Defence or Defence and Counterclaim. Thereafter, you would have to file your Reply within 14 days of receiving the Defence or Defence and Counterclaim. The Court will then fix a date to attend Court. The Court will most likely refer the matter for counselling / mediation, where parties are encouraged to settle the matter. This would save both costs and time. More often than not, the likelihood of reaching a settlement at this stage is high. The Court will subsequently grant an Interim Judgment if it is satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Any ancillary matters that were not settled will be dealt with in chambers.
You may file for a divorce without engaging a lawyer. However, you will be responsible for all legal requirements and the Court cannot advice you. It would therefore be wise to engage a lawyer to guide you through this emotional process. Our team will be able to assist and advice you in all aspects of divorce law. We are efficient and are known for our ability to get the best results for our clients. We aim to save you time and ensure your divorce is fuss free.