There are a few preliminary points to be ascertained before filing a divorce Writ in Singapore. Firstly, the jurisdiction issue- whether the applicants are Singapore citizen or resident in Singapore (for more than 3 years). A foreigner married in a foreign country may also file for divorce in Singapore if either party qualify under the domicile or habitual resident clause, assuming that the ground for irretrievable breakdown has also been satisfied.
Secondly, the parties must have been married for more than 3 years. For parties who are married for at least less than 3 years, leave will only be granted under certain circumstances.
Thirdly, whether one of the five reasons which have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage stated in section 95(3) (a ) to (e) of the Woman’s Charter has been satisfied. The most commonly used reason is unreasonable behaviour, which encompass behaviour such as violence, gambling, intimate association with third parties, insufficient payment of maintenance, the use of vulgarities or abusive language, or even reluctance to engage in sexual intercourse without valid reason. For adultery, the burden of proof appears to be higher, and invariably requires a private investigator’s report, even if the hearing is uncontested. The other reasons are desertion and separation. The Court does not order costs to be paid by the Defendant in the case of a Divorce Writ filed on the basis of separation. It is unwise to conduct or defend the proceedings yourself, especially if the matter is heavily contested, as the rules of procedure and evidence are complicated. Certain evidence may not be admissible, or if admissible, may not carry weight.