Expat Divorce in Singapore

In our increasingly globalized world, it is common for a couple who got married overseas to want to settle down for either the short or long haul in another country. Unfortunately, a couple in a foreign land is not immune to the stresses of marriage and may in fact face greater strain as they find themselves miles away from their family and loved ones. As a result, there has been an uptick of foreigners who wish to file for a divorce in Singapore – if you are one of those individuals, here are some points you should consider.

Does the Singapore Court have jurisdiction?
In order to successfully file for a divorce in Singapore, the Singapore courts first need to have jurisdiction to hear your case.

According to Section 93 of the Women’s Charter (Cap 353), the Singapore courts will have jurisdiction if either you or your spouse are

  • domiciled in Singapore at the time of the commencement of the proceedings; or
  • habitually resident in Singapore for a period of 3 years immediately preceding the commencement of the proceedings.

Singapore citizens are presumed to have been domiciled in Singapore, unless proven otherwise, and the period of 3 years under limb (b) will not be affected if the person has travelled briefly within the time frame in question.

Aside from the above requirements, the couple must have been married for at least 3 years before divorce proceedings can be commenced in Singapore.

What if I do not satisfy the 3 years requirement as a habitual resident?
If the requirement is not satisfied, you can file for a divorce only if you are able to prove that you have the intention to be domiciled in Singapore. In other words, you must show you want to make Singapore your permanent home and have no contingency plans of moving back to your home country. Acts such as being a Singapore Permanent Resident and/or applying for Singapore Citizenship go towards proving such an intention.

What if my spouse wants to file for a divorce overseas, but I want to file for a divorce in Singapore?
In such a case, you can apply for a stay of proceedings in the other country. Thereafter, you can file for a divorce in Singapore. However, it is important to note that it is likely your spouse will file for a stay of proceedings in Singapore and you will then have to defend this application.

In deciding if a stay should be granted, the Court will assess whether Singapore is the more appropriate forum to hear the divorce. This is determined through connecting factors such as residency and domicile of the parties, convenience of hearing the matter in Singapore, etc.

What will my immigration status be after the divorce?
If you are an Employment Pass holder, your immigration status remains unchanged. However, if you are on a Dependent’s Pass, your ability to stay in Singapore is dependent on your status as a spouse and you will have to leave Singapore within 14 days after the divorce is granted.

If you are a holder of a Dependent’s Pass and wish to continue residing in Singapore, you may source for a job locally and obtain an Employment Pass in your own name.

At the end of the day, divorce proceedings are often highly stressful periods for an individual and it is recommended that sound legal advice from a Singapore divorce lawyer is attained in this process.


Go for Peaceful Marriage Dissolution with Experienced Divorce Lawyer Guidance

Divorce, is technically popular as marriage dissolution is actually the termination of marital union. It makes the partners free from each other legal responsibilities associated with the bond of marriage, as per the rule of law prevailing in the said country from where the couple belongs. But getting a divorce is that easy? Well No and one need to pass through several legal steps to complete the process. Need of a divorce lawyer, will be a must to prepare the documents for both sides. If it’s a mutual divorce then the process can be completed in a shorter time span as expectations from each side are crustal clear. Things take an ugly turn when one side is ready to go and other won’t till the time demands are not fulfilled. In such cases lawyers recommend to go for family law mediation. Where both side will place their demands and lawyers will both end will try to come to a solution to make the divorce legal or can also make the effort to patch up to save the marriage if possibilities are there.

If you are based our in Singapore and looking for a divorce in Singapore itself then you can take help of law which are dealing in such cases. One of the major decision for which you will definitely need their help is for child custody. The lawyer will present the case in the best possible way in front of Judge to help you get the custody of the child. But do remember that you need to have strong ground for it or may miss the custody.

Impact of Pre-nuptial Agreements on Divorce Proceedings

Whilst getting an International divorce or perhaps before entering an international marriage, one may be interested to find out how significantly prenuptial agreements can weigh in on an International divorce case.

In Singapore, the law does not officially recognise prenuptial agreements but does accord significance to pre-nuptial agreements governed by foreign laws and entered into by foreign nationals.

Generally, financial aspects of the pre-nuptial agreement might be afforded decisive weight but such agreements on division of matrimonial assets are not mechanically enforceable. The agreement will still be subjected to judicial scrutiny and the Women’s Charter (section 112) requires for the court to order the division of matrimonial assets “in such proportions as the court thinks just and equitable”.

On the other hand, it can be expected that in matters of child custody or care and control, the pre-nuptial agreements will be highly unlikely to be enforceable unless the court deems that the agreement is in the best interest of the child/children.

Furthermore, it must be noted that the according of significant weight to such agreements is only on the condition that there has not been fraud or other indications of unconscionability. In such scenarios, the court may disregard the agreement completely.

On the whole, the more closely the prenuptial agreement is in consonance with the legislative policy of Singapore, the more likely it is that it will be enforceable. As such, a well-drafted pre-nuptial agreement by an experienced international divorce lawyer (who is able to reach an appropriate intermediate between abiding by relevant legal principals and addressing your concerns) can definitely reduce the hassle of international divorce proceedings in the event of divorce.

International Divorce Issues in Singapore

Family Law matters with an overseas element can and more often than not, be complicated.

An experienced international divorce lawyer strives to address and explain the most complex of legal issues, be they involving child custody, spousal support or matrimonial asset division.

Your expat divorce lawyer should have extensive experience in handling disputes involving child custody, visitation rights, child abduction, divorce, division of assets, discovery of hidden assets. Your lawyer should also be trained in Mediation and Collaborative divorce in order to help you resolve your matrimonial issues outside the court room system.

It is also essential that they have established global contacts including, overseas matrimonial lawyers and private investigators. With the trend moving toward globalization, international divorces tend to cross international lines more often than not, leaving families to wonder which country not only has jurisdiction but is of more advantage to them.

When it comes to international custody and visitation disputes in an expat divorce, there have been instances where some parents take a child out of jurisdiction without the consent of the other parent. A good divorce lawyer handling expat divorces in Singapore will alert you to taking immediate steps in order to protect you and your loved one`s interests.

Your international divorce lawyer will be able to offer personalized service, practical advice, and not be afraid to apply an aggressive approach, as needed in all international family law disputes.

Foreigner Divorce in Singapore and Child Abduction

Marriage and divorce are considered matters that are ideally reserved to the states rather than to the federal government.

Foreigner divorce in Singapore is not easy. Did you know that you must be married for at least three years before filing for divorce in Singapore? You can manage the ordeal of your marriage by getting the assistance of family and divorce lawyer in Singapore. Engage a qualified and reputed expat divorce lawyer to know how and what to do regarding International divorce and child relocation and child abduction issues to ensure that you are supported throughout the process.

Foreign Divorce Eligibility

Believe it or not, ending a relationship is never easy and when it is about matrimonial ties in a foreign country. The divorce laws here are usually different from those in your home country. As mentioned earlier, you need to be married for at least three years before filing a divorce case. However, there are two exceptions: if you can establish that you will remain permanently in Singapore or if you can prove that there are suffering and hardship in your marriage. It is worth mentioning that a typical divorce in Singapore takes time up to six months to be granted.

Child Abduction

Under the foreign law, a parent is not allowed to move to a foreign country with their children without the approval of the other parent. This case will be considered as child abduction if a parent has already decided to leave Singapore with their children without taking legal permission or without a proper custodial agreement.

Tips for Instituting Child Abduction Proceedings Under The Hague Convention (civil aspect only)

A Hague Convention application may be made where a child is taken across an international border, away from his or her habitual place of residence, without the consent of the other parent who has rights of custody under the law in Singapore. The two countries must be parties to the Convention. Upon successful application, the child will need to be promptly returned to his/her habitual residence unless it can be proven that the child`s return will create a grave risk of harm to him/her

  1.  You need an International Divorce lawyer who understands the issues at hand and  can put you on the right path.
  2.  Make sure you lawyers act fast to file a Hague Convention application on an  extremely short notice.
  3.  The recommendation is that Hague cases be concluded within six weeks.
  4.  You must move quickly to obtain the documents needed to file the initial application.
  5.  Make sure you prepare a detailed family history and assist your lawyer to develop the evidence required as quickly as possible.

Singapore International Divorce Lawyers

Divorce across international borders is not quite the same as a local divorce in Singapore. Expat divorces come with a whole host of other complexities. To deal effectively through international-divorce-lawyerthe complexities, it is best to see a matrimonial law lawyer with experience in international law.

Gloria James-Civetta & Co represents clients in Singapore and beyond. Our client list includes local people who have married spouses from another country and expat families who have married abroad. Divorce lawyer, Ms Gloria James has over 20 years family law experience, who is known for her level of knowledge in international matters involving divorce & custody issues.

At GJC Law, we assist our clients through the whole divorce process, including:

Gloria James-Civetta & Co – For International Family Law Issues

Due to the nature of possible multiple jurisdictions in which to file your cross-border divorce, we are skilled at identifying and addressing all aspects of the divorce process in Singapore, including:

  • Where to best file your divorce action
  • work with international lawyers in another country if need be
  • If your divorce involves children, help you take preventative measures to stop them from leaving jurisdiction to avoid possible Child Abduction issues

“Whatever your situation, our family law practitioners are here to offer you sensitive, cost effective and expert advice”

You should contact an experienced international Divorce Lawyer to help you check your position before discussing which way to move forward in your case

Contact Gloria James-Civetta & Co on +65 63370469 or email us here and we will put you in touch with our experienced international matrimonial lawyers.