Singapore Divorce Lawyer Helps you to Make Right Decision

lawyer-divorceOn the day you got married, you never wanted to imagine that one day you would end up your marriage considering a divorce. We all want a marriage that is perfect and lasts forever, but it isn’t always possible.

For an expat seeking for divorce in Singapore, they need to understand the law of Singapore if they are staying in that country for a long time. If you have finally decided for marital termination, then take the help of Singapore divorce lawyer and they will assist you in the right way. However, before you finally go for contesting divorce, it is feasible to take the help of family law mediation. They are experienced professionals who understand the understand about collaborative divorce Singapore and your present situation. Thus, they will help to fix the issues in an amiable way.

The main intension of these family law experts is to save your marriage by resolving the main concern of disputes or by proper counselling. Despite their strong effort, most of the time is becomes hard to save their marriages. In that case, seeking the help of Singapore divorce lawyer can be the best option. Taking the help of professional divorce attorney can support your divorce proceedings.

When you are in different country, several questions come into your mind regarding the property settlement, child custody, and other related matters. Thus, divorce is always associated with mental, physical and emotional stress and this is why no one is ready to face it. The separation ruins the life of couples and they suffer a lot. A suitable divorce lawyer is one who can take you out of all these mess very easily.

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Effect of a Foreign Polygamous Marriage

recognition-of-foreign-divorceIt may seem that s 112(2) of the Women’s Charter only contemplates the division of matrimonial assets between a husband and a wife in a monogamous marriage. Your question may then be how the assets will be divided in an Expat divorce where a husband and wife where one party has another marriage overseas.

This was the case in TIG v TIH [2016] 1 SLR 1218, where the husband, who used to be Malaysian, had two marriages in Malaysia, where polygamy used to be legal. One of the issues in the case was whether his subsisting marriage to his first wife should be taken into account in dividing the matrimonial assets between him and his second wife. The husband argued that it should be, as the first wife had indirectly contributed to the acquisition of the matrimonial assets by taking care of the household, and that she had also contributed to financing his business.

The court held that the first wife did indeed make indirect contributions to the husband’s businesses. Moreover, even though the court had no power to award a non-party a share of the matrimonial assets, the court could take into account the first wife’s contributions as part of the husband’s share of assets.

Therefore, in such cases, the issue to be resolved is how to quantify the non-party’s contributions to the matrimonial assets, relative to the contributions of the parties undergoing a divorce. The court would first start with ascertaining the pool of matrimonial assets. It would then determine broadly how each party, including the non-party, contributed to this pool both directly and indirectly, accounting for the different circumstances in each household. Thereafter, further adjustments may still be made.

Although this case sheds some light on the court’s approach to dividing matrimonial assets between two parties, one of which has another marriage overseas, there has yet to be a case where there are multiple divorces with different parties to the polygamous marriage.

Enforcement of Foreign Maintenance Orders

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In Singapore, Expat Divorce judgments can either be enforced under common law or under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (REFJA) or the Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments Act (RECJA). For the former, the court must have in personam jurisdiction over the defendant, making it easier to enforce a foreign judgment under REFJA or RECJA, as if the country where the judgment is made is gazetted, the foreign judgment need only be registered and can be enforced as if it were a judgment of the Singapore court.

One issue is whether an order for periodic maintenance made in a foreign court comes under the definition of “judgment” for the purposes of registering it under REFJA or RECJA. In Lee Pauline Bradnam v Lee Thien Terh George [2006] SGHC 84, the High Court held that foreign periodic maintenance orders are not final and conclusive and will not be registrable under the RECJA. Furthermore, the court held that it would not be just and convenient to register the order under the RECJA.

This is because the sums due in periodic maintenance orders are payable periodically, and are amenable to variation when there are changes in the circumstances of the parties. As a result, they are not final and conclusive judgments. This is as opposed to maintenance orders that are lump sum payments, which could be registrable under REFJA or RECJA.

Instead, the court held that such orders would be more appropriately registered under the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act (MO(RE)A). This Act provides for enforcement of a maintenance order under section 8, and also the variation and revocation of a maintenance order under s 9.

It also is worthy to note the court’s observation that making, enforcement and variation of a periodic maintenance order should be left to the court of the jurisdiction where the party’s income is derived, as it would be better placed to do so.

Foreign Divorces that Lacked Capacity

In certain cases, a court of another jurisdiction grant may grant divorce, but the parties may lack capacity to be divorced. This could be the case where the marriage was void, possibly because one party was already married at that time. However, the Singapore court, if unaware of the divorce overseas, may grant a Decree Nisi in respect of the divorce. It must then be decided whether the overseas divorce will be recognised in Singapore such that the Decree Nisi by the Singapore court would be set aside or rescinded.

In Yap Chai Ling v Hou Wa Yi [2016] 1 SLR 660, the court made two main observations in relation to this factual scenario.

First, it identified that s 7(b) of the Women’s Charter provides that a marriage can be dissolved by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, including foreign courts. However, this foreign divorce judgment will only have effect in Singapore if the Singapore courts recognise it in accordance with the rules of private international law.

Second, once the foreign court is found to be competent, the principle of international comity would usually compel Singapore courts to recognise the expat divorce judgment. This would be the case unless the enforcement is manifestly contrary to public policy or substantial justice.

In the case, the court held that the Shanghai divorce judgment would not be recognised in Singapore, as to do so would in effect be acknowledging that a bigamous marriage may be regularised. Further, in Noor Azizan bte Colony (alias Noor Azizan bte Mohamed Noor) v Tan Lip Chin (alias Izak Tan) [2006] 3 SLR(R) 707, the court also held that in Singapore, there cannot be multiple subsisting marriage relationships that exist in parallel and be dissolved separately, as the marriage effects a permanent change in the legal status of the parties.

Therefore, foreign marriages that are void from the start cannot be recognised by the Singapore court.

Immigration Issues for Divorcing Expatriates

An international divorce can be a painful process, especially for expatriates seeking divorce in a foreign country, away from friends and relatives. This post aims to highlight possible immigration issues upon the conclusion of a divorce process.

Scenario 1: Your spouse is not a Singaporean, and you are granted a Dependent pass.

If your spouse decided to move to Singapore to work and you chose to move with him/her, you would most likely have been granted a Dependent’s pass to stay in Singapore. If so, your immigration status is intricately linked to your status as a spouse. In this regard, the divorce would result in a cancellation of your Dependent’s pass. As a result, you will have to leave the country within 14 days.

Alternatively, should you wish to remain in Singapore, you can look for a job locally and apply for an Employment Pass. An employment pass would have been granted if you had a job offer in Singapore as well and met the relevant eligibility criteria. If so, your immigration status will unaffected by the divorce and you can choose to remain in Singapore after the divorce.

As for your child (if any), his/her Dependent’s pass would remain valid if it was tied to your working ex-spouse’s pass. If you do not seek employment locally, this may result in complications. You would be forced to leave the country, leaving your child behind, even if you have been awarded custody and control over your child. Further, you might be restricted from relocating your child overseas to your home country.

Scenario 2: Your spouse is a Singaporean, and you are granted a Long Term Visit Pass.

If your spouse is a Singaporean and you entered Singapore on a Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP), it will likely be revoked following the divorce proceeding in Singapore as well. This is because the LTVP requires proof of marriage and sponsorship by your spouse for renewal. Hence should you wish to remain in Singapore, you should similarly seek employment and apply for an employment pass.

Restrictions on relocation of child overseas

Following an expat divorce in Singapore, you may desire to return to your home country to start afresh. If you have been given custody and care and control over your child, you may be considering returning with the child as well. However, there are some restrictions before you can do so.

Under S126(3) and S125(4) of the Women’s Charter, the child may not be taken out of the country for more than one month unless there is written consent from both parents, or leave of the Court. In most cases, it is unusual for a spouse to obtain consent from his/her ex-spouse to take the child out of the country. This is because your ex-spouse would want to maintain contact with your child. Hence it is likely that your child will have to remain in Singapore.

Without consent from your ex-spouse or having applied for leave from the Court, if you bring your child with you back to your homeland, it may constitute international child abduction. Your spouse may then apply to the court which the child was brought to for an order to return the child to the country from which he was removed. This order is likely to be granted if the country, to which the child was brought to, is a signatory to The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Nevertheless, you may make an application for the leave of court to remove your child from the jurisdiction against the wishes of the other parent, in limited circumstances. In such an application, the court is primarily concerned with whether the decision to remove the child from the jurisdiction is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case.

Some of the factors that the court would look at before approving or rejecting the application for relocation:

  • The effects on the child if the wishes of the parent with primary care wishing to take them abroad are interfered with
  • Whether the parent with primary care may have resentment against the child if his or her application to remove the child is not granted
  • Whether the application is made in good faith and for good reasons. The aim of relocation must be in the best interests of the child. If the relocation aims to isolate the child from the other parent, it may not be in the best interests of the child.

Expat Divorce in Singapore

A divorce through the Singapore courts may be available to you if you are not a citizen or Permanent Residency holder in Singapore. If you are residing in Singapore and have done so for the last 3 years, you qualify to file divorce proceedings in Singapore. There are added complexities to a divorce in such cases. It is often referred to as an Expat Divorce.

You may file for an international divorce if:

  •  You have resided in Singapore for 3 continuous years. In this case you are eligible to  file for expat divorce in Singapore
  •  Your civil marriage took place abroad
  •  You and / or your spouse are from outside Singapore, and have made Singapore your home

The above are the basic criteria where ‘expat divorce’ or international divorce law applies. Due to the nature of an international divorce, there are usually some complex legal issues to consider so it always best to take advice from a lawyer experienced in international divorce issues.

Expat Divorce Lawyers

Our lawyers are able to offer advice on international and expat divorce issues, including information on the divorce process in Singapore. We can give advice on issues of jurisdiction as well as relocation of children and maintenance issues.

Our lawyers are ready to help guide and advise you throughout the entire process and help you move on with your life. Call us on 63370469 or email us at consult@gjclaw.com.sg

Various Issues of Concern In Case of Divorce

The most crucial issue that comes into concern after the foreigner divorce in Singapore is the matter of child custody.

The divorce lawyer take the matter to the court and the guardianship is awarded to one of the parent to take care of the child. The responsibility is awarded based on the best interests of the child.

However some parent do not want to go through the long process of the court. They seek the help of family law mediator to avoid abrasive procedure of taking decision about such a delicate matter.

Once the custody is awarded, the problem of child abduction disturbs the peace of the primary parent. The parent who failed to get the custody on his/her favour might plan for child abduction.

Do not panic and seek the help of a family law mediation to safeguard your child.

Another dispute that may arise in foreigner divorce in Singapore is child relocation when one parent, generally the parent to whom the child custody is awarded, decides to move to some other place. Child relocation is refused by the other parent who is left behind as he or she do not give their consent to such a step taken by the spouse. In such a case the primary parent can with the help of divorce lawyer, approach the High Court for an order dispensing with the other parent’s consent. The court do not immediately decides, rather it considers various facts and case law before they can grant an order allowing relocation.

Seeking Help from Experienced Child custody lawyer in Singapore

Child Custody is a very sensitive and complexed issue in post-divorce process. Indeed, help of a lawyer is needed to understand child custody law. Both parents need to make sure that their decision does not hampers child’s life. At the same time, could should understand the feelings of each other and respect it. The best possible option available to take you out of such situation is seeking help from experience child custody lawyers. They are the one who have specialization in family law matters under which child custody law falls under. Seeking custody of a child happens after the divorce process. A child custody lawyers help parent to negotiate with other parent and settle everything pertaining to their child’s life.

When it comes to Singapore, there has been significant increase in the number of expat marriage but unfortunately the number of foreigner’s divorce in Singapore is also at rise. Usually in expat separation, one among the couple wants to leave the country and go to their native country. Sometimes, the first parent take away the child without informing the other parent and without having a legal order from the court of law. This is a legal offence and charges of Child abduction can be filed against the first parent. To take away the child to other country, one has to take legal permission from the court and also the other parent. Here, it is only the Child custody lawyer who can negotiating other terms and conditions involved with child custody.

Let’s read what we can expect from a Child custody lawyer:

Child custody lawyers in Singapore have, generally, two specific responsibilities: To protect your rights and make sure that the law is upheld.

There are several things that the lawyer should do specifically:

– Provide legal advice
– Complete all legal work
– Be your negotiator
– Understand and work the system in your favor

It would be bit unwise to expect emotional support during the hour of grief from you lawyer. However, there are some family law firms in Singapore offering counselling and active emotional support during the divorce and post-divorce period. They help you to build confidence and remain strong so that the legal battle can be fought without being too emotional.

Reducing the Challenges of Spousal Maintenance and Child Custody

Divorce is challenging and very stressful, but when children are added to the proceedings, it is even more complicated to work. One common question when couples are separating is how court will decide about their kids. Each state has its own set of laws which will influence decisions regarding child custody. In most states the judge is the head who will make a decision that is in child’s best interest. Parents can come to an agreement before going to the court through mutual settlement. If both the parties cannot agree, then the judge will use factors like who will be the caretaker of the child until filing for divorce. Coming to a mutual settlement is much easier option.

In some cases, parents stealing children is not uncommon. Surprisingly child abduction takes place during a scheduled visitation after which the child is kidnapped by parent and is not returned. Child relocation is extremely devastating on children who were taken away from their entire world of familiarity. Having an experienced divorce lawyer through the process can help to settle things properly and get a quick and fair resolution.

Spousal maintenance is another common problem in obtaining a divorce. Generally people have little or no knowledge about how spousal support is calculated until they are at the verge of separation. Spousal maintenance in Singapore is designed in a way to help both spouses maintain a normal lifestyle as similar to what they had before the separation. The right family law attorney will help make sure you get the best result possible.

Life Of An Expat In Singapore – How Difficult Is It To Obtain A Divorce?

For foreigners living in Singapore, getting used to the heat here and trying to understand “Singlish” may be hard. However, obtaining a divorce in Singapore poses many challenges as well.

The Singapore courts will only grant a divorce where at least one party to the marriage has a sufficiently strong connection with Singapore. There are two ways to prove this: (1) that at least one of the parties is “domiciled” in Singapore; or (2) at least one of the parties has been habitually resident in Singapore for at least 3 years immediately before applying to court for the divorce.

“Domiciled” in Singapore

“Domiciled” generally refers to the place where a person has his permanent home. Hence, staying in a country for a time for a particular purpose such as to study or work for a limited time does not mean that the person’s domicile has altered to that country.

Singapore citizens are generally presumed to be domiciled in Singapore, but can be challenged in exceptional situations.

“Habitually resident in Singapore”

“Habitual residence” means that the residence must be voluntary and for a settled purpose, although the purpose does not need to be particularly concrete. Establishing a pattern of always returning to a place would be sufficient.

It should be noted, however, that the habitual residence must also be continuous for more than 3 years immediately preceding the petition. Brief holidays or business trips would not break the continuity of residence but long absences will typically be considered to break that continuity.

For more information, please visit http://expatdivorce.sg/