Where you get divorced is important for two reasons. Firstly, different countries / jurisdictions have different rules around what you need to do and to show in order to end your marriage. Secondly, it usually follows that if you have divorced in a particularly jurisdiction, then the court in that jurisdiction is empowered to deal with your financial assets, at least those that also exist there as well if not assets you hold in other countries. Courts in different countries can often have different approaches to the way in assets are separated or how maintenance (alimony) is awarded with some being more generous to the financial weaker party than others.
Stowe Family Law can help you to decide whether it’s more beneficial for you to get divorced in Singapore or England.
Expat divorce in Singapore – who can apply?
As an expat living in Singapore,, to commence divorce proceedings in Singapore you must:
- a) habitually resident in Singapore for more than 3 years before the start of the divorce; or
- b) ‘domiciled’ in Singapore at the time that the divorce is begun.
Note 3 years is a longer period of time than other countries, for example in the UK you would only need to be living here for a period of 12 months before you could consider issuing proceedings here.
If you cannot issue proceedings in Singapore or consider it would be better to issue divorce proceedings in another country / jurisdiction then you need to take advice from a specialist family lawyer in that country.
Grounds for divorce in Singapore
The grounds for divorce in Singapore fall under one of five headings:
- Adultery of one spouse
- One spouse has deserted the other for two years without any intention of returning
- The parties have lived apart for 3 years and the other party consents to a divorce
- The parties have lived apart for 4 years
- Unreasonable behaviour by one spouse
The reasons for divorce are therefore similar to those in England save that the period of separation is longer in Singapore should you wish to consent to a divorce. In England the period is currently two years. This will change in April 2022 when no default divorce replaces the current divorce in England which will hopefully promote more amicable separations.
Expat divorce Singapore – how can Stowe Family Law help?
Stowe Family Law advises clients who reside throughout Southeast Asia, assisting in the processes and best practices that need to be followed in order to go through the English courts and achieve their desired outcome under English law.
Julian Hawkhead, Senior Partner, heads up a team of lawyers who have extensive experience in dealing with all matters pertaining to international family matters, including International Divorce and International Child Law.
Our specialist international divorce and family lawyers work with Stowe Family Law clients to understand all of their needs, prior to advising on the best steps to achieve the desired outcome in their expat divorce case.