1. Can divorce be filed online?
If you have come to a resolute decision – either deciding by yourself or together with your partner – that you would like to file for divorce, you can submit an application online.
To do this, you must complete the online interactive e-filing application here.
Remember: In order to file for divorce you and your spouse must have been married for at least 3 years, unless the party filing for divorce has suffered exceptional hardship or exceptionally unreasonable and cruel behaviour.
2. How much does a divorce cost?
The current filing fee for a divorce in Singapore is between $1,500 to $3,500.
If you do require legal assistance or financial mediation during your divorce, this can ultimately affect the overall cost of the process.
If you’re feeling anxious about your inability to cover required legal costs, don’t be scared to reach out to your bank to discuss loan or credit options.
3. Who gets what in a separation?
Every separation is different so it’s impossible to set a ‘rule of thumb’ when it comes to splitting assets. However, there are four main factors taken into consideration when calculating a financial settlement. These are:
- The asset pool: This includes working through what you own and owe together such as savings, investments, real estate, superannuation, as well as any debts you might have.
- An assessment of contributions: This refers to each partner’s financial contributions to their marriage. It also includes non-financial, parenting and home maker contributions.
- Considerations of future needs: This includes the age, health condition, income and childcare needs of each party.
- A fair and equitable settlement: Consideration is given as to whether the final settlement is suitable for both partners and their circumstances.
These four factors will then be used to create a balance sheet, a document that sets out all assets, liabilities and financial resources for each partner.
This settlement will then need to be reviewed and determined final by an accountant, and if both parties are in agreement, the financial settlement will then be lodged to the family court to be finalised.
If you do find yourself in a dispute over your financial settlement, you can engage a lawyer or lodge the dispute with the family court and get them to decide.
4. How long does a divorce take?
It takes nearly three years to finalise a separation or divorce from the start of the relationship breakdown.
However, once a divorce application has been filed it can take at least four months for the paperwork to be processed and the application to be granted by the court.
This process can take longer if there are difficulties involved in serving your partner or if the court is not satisfied with certain aspects of your application.
5. How will divorce affect my kids?
A separation or divorce can be a stressful time for your child/children and they may react in different ways during and after the process. This is all fairly dependant on the child’s age, temperament and also the level of cooperation between you and your partner.
Therefore, it’s vital you keep your child’s mental wellbeing, as well as your own, a top priority.
When considering parenting and custody arrangements for your children, try not to compare your situation to others but rather make decisions that are best for your own kids’ needs. Also remember that both you and your ex-partner will continue to be responsible for the financial care of your children.
6. Will divorce affect my credit score?
Filing for divorce will not directly impact your credit scores. However, if you do share a credit card or have a joint loan with your partner, devise a game plan around how you can tackle these debts as any missed payments between the two of you can ultimately reflect badly on your credit score.
Speaking with your bank about alternate ways to reduce or pay off any joint debt can also help set you up for success. This can include any property or loans you may have together.
7. What do I do if I’m getting a divorce and don’t work?
If you’ve been a homemaker for the length of your relationship and getting back into the workforce is an option for you, start to reach out to your personal networks — your friends and contacts may know of suitable roles or even be able to recommend you for a position.
You could also consider doing some short courses to update or refresh your budgeting and finance skills.
8. Who keeps the house during a divorce?
If you do currently own property with your partner, remain in your shared house until you have sought legal advice. By moving out, you may actually be giving up any entitlement that you have to that property.
If you are exploring property in your financial settlement, you may consider selling the property and dividing your profits, or if you’re in a stable financial position you may want to consider releasing your ex from the mortgage.
Be sure to consult a home finance manager and your family lawyer before making any major decisions about your property.
9. How do I change my surname after a divorce?
A deed poll is a legal document used when one changes their name. A deed poll is drafted by a lawyer and executed by the individual who intends to change their name. It would cost under $100 for a deed poll.
A deed poll is required before the relevant authorities (such as the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority or ICA) will process your change of name in your records.
Don’t forget to notify your bank – and any other places you have accounts with ie. your phone bill, super fund and insurance companies – of your name change.
10. How do I prove I'm divorced?
A divorce certificate marks the official end of a marriage between two individuals. Parties may remarry after getting their divorce certificate, also known as a Certificate of Final Judgement.
There may be other situations besides remarriage where a divorce certificate would be required such as dealing with HDB flats upon divorce.
An application for a divorce certificate is to be made by filing Form 33 of the Family Justice Rules 2014 here.
(Text: bauersyndication.com.au / Additional reporting: Natalya Molok)