While there has been a decrease in divorce and annulments rates from 2013 to 2014, there has been an overall increase in numbers since 2009, with a total of 7,307 in 2014. Figures released by the Department of Statistics Singapore show that the general divorce rate is 7.0% for males and 6.5% for women in 2014, which is a drop from original rates in 2009. Divorce and annulments have been gaining traction in recent times, with more couples turning to annulments as an out from an unhappy marriage.
If you’re looking to find out more about divorce in Singapore, but are not sure where to begin, here are 3 valuable tips for you!
Understand the Overall Divorce Process
Divorce in Singapore is made up of a 2 stage process and while some divorces can be resolved in a few months, some may drag on for a longer period of time. Before making the decision to apply for a divorce, you should ensure that you understand the full divorce procedure. Below is a simple overview:-
Stage 1 – Dissolving the marriage
This is where the Family Court is satisfied that your marriage has broken down and is irreparable, even with counselling. At this stage, your partner has the choice to contest the divorce should they feel that they do not want a divorce.
Stage 2 – Resolving ancillary matters
This is the stage whereby the Court will settle issues on common or shared assets.
Huffe is a Singapore legal education portal you can go to should you wish for a more detailed explanation of the divorce procedure in Singapore.
How to Choose a Good Divorce Lawyer
Finding a good divorce lawyer is key in ensuring that your divorce will be smooth and hopefully, quick. A divorce will be painful for not only both parties involved, but also family members and as such, the faster the process, the better it will be for everyone. The best divorce attorney for you is someone who is experienced and knowledgeable in Singapore family law matters, who listens to you and understands your needs, and is able to inform and guide you on the most suitable route to take bearing your interests in mind. Some well-known divorce law firms in Singapore include Gloria James-Civetta & Co Advocates & Solicitors, PKWA, Yeo and Associates LLC, R Kalamohan Law LLC and Godwin Campos LLC.
Know the Legal Costs of Getting a Divorce
The costs of divorce legal proceedings in Singapore can vary significantly depending on whether the divorce is contested by the other spouse or not.
For an uncontested divorce, your family lawyer has a rough idea of the work that needs to be done, thus prices are generally fixed and includes the legal services such as drafting of divorce papers and a fixed number of lawyer consultation hours. A typical fee range for such less complicated cases is between $1,800 to $4,500.
Should your partner contest the divorce however, your divorce lawyer fees will be significantly higher (depending on the complexity of the case) and the law firms generally bill per hour based on the lawyer’s seniority level and the amount of time spent on the case. This is because in a contested divorce, it is difficult to tell how long your spouse will drag the negotiations or litigation in court. A way around this is to agree a reasonable fee structure with your lawyer at the start, so as to better manage your legal costs and avoid incurring huge legal costs.
Ultimately, we all need to understand that divorce is a painful process, and can be very draining emotionally and financially for the person involved. Only take this route if there is no other way to salvage your marriage.
While some people try to find the cheapest divorce lawyers in order to save costs, do keep in mind that “cheap” does not always mean “quality” and “good”. It is recommended that you speak to a few law firms or family court lawyers to find out more about what they can offer before deciding on one.