Family law consists of a body of statutes and case precedents that govern the
legal responsibilities between individuals who share a domestic connection.
These cases usually involve parties who are related by blood or marriage, but
family law can affect those in more distant or informal relationships as well.
The end of a relationship or marriage is a difficult time. Our experience has shown us that avoiding a litigation process is generally the best way forward. This will most likely save you time, money and achieve a better outcome.
Our team of experienced family lawyers can give you comprehensive advice about your legal rights, entitlements and obligations, as well as the different options available to settle any matters that you and your partner may disagree on.
Such matters include:
As one of the largest family law firms by volume in Singapore today, we have both the experience and capacity to handle cases just like yours. We will position our expertise to enable the most favourable outcomes for you by :
Parties must have been married for a minimum of three years before they can be
granted a divorce. If parties have been married for less than three years, a
spouse may ask for permission from the Family Justice Courts to file for divorce
if it can be down that great hardship or depravity will result in the
continuance of the marriage.
Further, you or your spouse must have been living in Singapore for at least three years before commencing divorce proceedings in Singapore.
With effect from 1 December 2016, parties with children below 14 years old are
required to attend the Mandatory Parenting Programme (MPP) prior to filing for
divorce. Eligible parties who do not attend the MPP will be unable to file for
The MPP is a one-to-one consultation session with a counsellor aimed at helping parents to understand the implications of a divorce – the financial costs, children's arrangements and parental obligations. This is mandatory under the Women’s Charter if parties do not yet have a signed formal agreement pertaining to a parenting plan and all other divorce matters.
The MPP can be applied at your convenience using your SingPass at the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s website. You may also check your eligibility for the MPP via the website.
In an application for divorce, the Court requires the applicant / applicants
to provide a reason for the divorce.
There are a range of reasons on which the Plaintiff may base his/her application, including:
The Court must be satisfied that one of these reasons for the irretrievable breakdown of marriage has been satisfied before a divorce order can be granted.
The 2nd Stage of a divorce in Singapore deals with all other arrangements necessary in a divorce, otherwise known as “ancillary matters”. Such matters include:
As every divorce case is specific to its particular circumstances, speak to us if you wish to find out more about your obligations / entitlements in a divorce.
The effect of an annulment is to render a marriage null and void. In this way, it is different from a divorce. There is no minimum period of time before one can file for annulment.
There are a few grounds the Plaintiff can rely on, namely:
To find out if an annulment applies in your circumstances, please speak to
It must also be noted that a sham marriage contracted for the purpose of immigration advantages will be deemed void and may also invite penal consequences such as a jail term and a fine.
If you wish to enquire more about the divorce / annulment process, contact us at any of our branches for a free 15-min consultation with any of our available lawyers. Kindly ensure that you bring the following documents with you to your first consultation:
In Singapore, the Women’s Charter defines a ‘child’ as a child of a marriage who
is under 21 years of age.
There are 3 important concepts in relation to Child Orders:
Firstly, Custody refers to the legal decision-making authority in regards to the child’s well-being. This decision-making authority is usually in regard to major life issues such as religion, education, health and activities. In recent years, the Court has shown tendencies to award both parents joint custody such that both parents would be involved and consulted in making the major decisions for their child. However, in special circumstances where the Court deems one parent unfit to make decisions for the child, the Court may grant sole custody to one parent. Further, there may be situations where the Court may feel that the child’s custody is better off with a relative or a children’s welfare organisation, instead of with the parents.
Care and Control
Care and control, on the other hand, refers to the day-to-day living arrangements of the child. Under normal circumstances, the Court usually grants one parent care and control of the child, while the other parent would get access to the child. The parent who retains care and control of the child is usually whom the child resides with on a regular basis.
Custody and/or care and control given to one parent does not necessarily preclude the other parent from child access. Often, the other parent is given time to spend with the child of the marriage on a regular basis. This arrangement is known as “access”. Access can be supervised or unsupervised, overnight or day access.
However, the Court may deny access to either party if such access would likely be detrimental to the well-being of the child and is against his / her best interests. It would thus be ideal for both parents to draft out a suitable, convenient and reasonable time for individual access to the child of the marriage. If both parties cannot come to an agreement, the Court will decide on a course of action after hearing both sides. These arrangements when done right will minimize the psychological trauma of the child.
Any parent can request for the custody and/or the care and control of the
child who is deemed as such under the Women’s Charter.
Either parent can apply for the custody and/or the care and control and/or access of the child at any time during the marriage, separation or during court proceedings in a divorce lawsuit.
Either parent who wishes to be the custodian of the child of the marriage will have to apply to the Family Court or the High Court for the custody and/or the care and control and/or access of the child.
In the eyes of the law, the interests of the child of the marriage is
paramount. The Court’s key concern is therefore: who can best serve the
emotional and financial needs of the child?
In deciding who to give custodial rights and/or the care and control and/or access of the child to, the Court may also take into account the wishes of either party as well as the wishes of the child of the marriage (if the child is old enough to express an opinion).
The child is not allowed to be taken out of Singapore without prior consent
from the other parent.
If any such implicitly worded or actions surface prior to the ‘abduction’, the custodial party may obtain an order from Court to prevent the other party from taking the child out of the country. Disobeying a Court Order could be considered a contempt of Court punishable with a fine or imprisonment.
Matrimonial assets therefore do not include assets that were given to one party as a gift or inheritance unless the other party can show that the said gift or inheritance has been substantially improved during the marriage by him/her or both the parties, or that the gift or inheritance is the matrimonial home.
The cash balance in parties’ respective Central Provident Fund Accounts, the family vehicle, jewellery, shares, savings accumulated during the marriage are considered matrimonial assets and are therefore liable to be divided between parties upon the marriage being dissolved.
After a marriage has been dissolved, the Court has the unenviable
task of deciding how the matrimonial assets are to be divided
between the husband and the wife.
In deciding on the division of the matrimonial assets, the Court will take into account various factors including but not limited to:
Unfortunately, it is not unusual for fighting spouses to attempt to hide assets in a contentious divorce. We will help track all your matrimonial assets in divorce proceedings and identify any potentially undervalued or disguised assets, ensuring that you receive a fair division of your matrimonial assets. Get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can help you protect your interests earliest possible.
Mediation is one of the most frequently used methods of negotiating a divorce settlement. In family mediation, you and your spouse — or, in some cases, the two of you and your respective lawyers — hire a neutral third party (a mediator) to serve as a facilitator between you and your spouse, and aid in the resolution of all matters pertaining to the divorce.
Mediation can work for almost all couples and has a long list of benefits:
During divorce proceedings, all families with children below 21
years of age are required to attend mandatory counselling at the
Child Focused Resolution Centre (CFRC). Thereafter a mediation
session will be fixed with the Family Justice Courts (FJC). The
mediation process is usually beneficial to both parties in relation
to ancillary issues and parties are strongly encouraged to attend.
The court may also order parties to attend mediation under certain
As of October 2016, parties with divorce cases that meet the following criteria will be ordered by the FJC to attend mediation conducted by private mediation providers such as the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC):
Litigation of matrimonial matters can be expensive, protracted and
exact a significant emotional toll on the parties involved.
In Singapore, the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) has a range of family services aimed at resolving the issues of a marriage without further damaging relationships.
SMC has developed the Family (Matrimonial) Mediation Scheme to help parties involved in matrimonial cases resolve matrimonial disputes amicably, and in a faster and cheaper manner. Mediation can assist couples who are going through divorce or separation resolve complicated issues in the dispute. Such issues may include custody of children, spousal maintenance, division of family assets and other financial matters arising from the breakdown of the relationship.
The aim of the Family (Matrimonial) Mediation Scheme is to:
Mediating your marital matters gives you a high chance of settlement, control over the outcome, cost and time savings, and prevents further damage to your relationships.
Collaborative Family Practice (“CFP”) is a process of dispute
resolution whereby parties contemplating a divorce may be assisted
by their respective lawyers to achieve a peaceful settlement without
going through the painful litigation process.
Under the CFP framework, parties attend mediation sessions in private with their respective lawyers (who are accredited by the Singapore Mediation Centre in collaboration with the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals), who will assist parties in resolving any outstanding conflicts in relation to their divorce, such as child custody, division of assets and maintenance issues.
One unique characteristic of the CFP framework is that parties’ lawyers are not allowed to represent their respective clients in the case where a settlement cannot be reached through CFP. As such, this creates a friendly and non-contentious environment where parties can freely negotiate for a settlement without the emotional and financial stresses of a lawsuit.
Hoh Law Corporation has a team of experienced family law staff ready to handle your CFP process and resolve your matrimonial issues quickly and amicably.
Please contact us to find out more about the various dispute resolution options available to you.
Negotiating agreements is not an easy process. We will help you :
The two most important things you can do to make your mediation successful are:
If you have booked a consultation for divorce/separation/children issues with us, please bring along the following documents:
Thank you for choosing HOH Law Corporation. For any general enquiries, please fill in the following contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you may reach us at 6553 4800.