Adultery fuels divorce in Singapore

Divorce|November 28th 2015

Adultery is a major driver of divorce in Singapore, even though few admit it in court.

Only one per cent of divorce applications in the Asian city state cited adultery, while a full 25 per cent the respondents in a recent survey admitted that infidelity had caused marriages to fail.

According to a report in The Straits Times, most divorce petitions in Singapore seek separation on the grounds of ‘unreasonable behaviour’, ‘separation for a period of three years or more’ or ‘desertion’.

Singaporean law requires petitioners seeking divorce on the grounds of adultery to prove their claim and to name the person with whom their partner is alleged to have been unfaithful. They may not have this information and providing the required evidence usually requires an expensive private investigator who may need to appear in court.

Dr Jessica Leong, Vice-President of the Singapore Association for Counselling, uncovered the figure during research for her PhD. She surveyed 134 divorcees living in the Asian city state. The respondents to assess their marriages via a questionnaire, explaining what had gone wrong and whether they thought anything could have been done to salvage the situation. They also asked to set out what if anything had helped to cope with the divorce or separation.

Dr Leong then conducted detailed interviews with 19 of the divorcees.

Many of the subjects reported that they still had trouble sleeping months after the divorce, while others overindulged in alcohol. Others cited the importance of a social support network and not viewing the divorce as a personal failure.

Dr Leong told The Straits Times:

“It is challenging to get divorcees who are… emotionally ready to complete the survey. They also need to revisit the event of divorce again.”

Photo of the Singapore flag by missbossy via Flickr

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