There were about 7,600 divorces and annulments in Singapore in 2016, which is a slight increase over the previous year. While the top reasons include adultery and many people are dead set on getting divorced, they go into their divorce lawyer’s offices mostly unprepared.
This could be due to the fact that law is complex, and every case is unique. There is no one size fits all answer. Furthermore, people heading for divorces or annulments might underestimate the journey ahead. While uncontested divorces are cheaper and finalized faster, contested divorces in which couples cannot agree on the terms of the divorce can result in a lengthy legal process and lots of time and money spent.
To make the divorce as least painful and cost-effective as possible, here are some pointers :
To keep it short, mediation is a good option simply because it can save you time and money.
An example would be The Collaborative Family Practice (CFP), which takes place before any court proceedings. It is designed to help couples reach an agreement to prevent lengthy and costly litigation. The lawyers there are specially trained CFP lawyers who are practicing family law, so you know you are getting professional help.
Email [email protected] or call the SMC at +65 6332 4366 for more information on this.
- Listen to advice, but do not obey
While those around you might all have differing opinions, it is perfectly fine to listen to them and understand the rationale. However, only you know what’s best for you, which is why you should listen to advice, but not necessarily act on them. No one knows your situation, needs and wants better than you. So take advice from others with a pinch of salt and understand how they can affect you before taking action.
- Take your time
There is no hurry to agree to terms of the breakup or finalize the divorce. It is better to take your time and think through it carefully, as it is a huge life event and it’s effects can be felt for years afterwards. If your spouse is in a hurry to rush things, be extra careful as they might have a motive behind rushing you into agreeing to decisions that you might regret later on. Read every document a few times and more importantly, understand what they mean.
Signing a document without understanding it fully is still legally binding. So do not agree blindly. Understand every sentence of a legal document you are presented with and ask your lawyer if you are unsure what any of it means.
- Get a opinions from different lawyers
It is always better to get advice from multiple divorce lawyers instead of just one. It will give you a better picture of the legal situation and the regulations relevant to you. You might also hear things from one lawyer you might not heard from another. Another benefit is that you can gauge the costs of litigation and find an attorney that suits your budget.
- Support of friends and family
When the world feels like it’s crashing down on you in the midst of your separation, having friends and family close to you, supporting you is extremely important for your emotional well being. They can help to take some of the burden off your shoulders, and be there for you when you need a listening ear.
It is also in these instances where you know who you can really trust and depend on.
- As far as possible, have good relations with your ex
As much as you might hate him/her, it is always better to maintain good relations with them so working with them on areas such as your children’s’ matters can be smoother. It also reflects positively on your children knowing that their parents are on good terms.
While it can be extremely difficult, having good relations or at least trying to make things more friendly will help the family dynamics greatly and keep it from falling apart.