Divorce in Singapore is a huge deal, especially since the number of divorce cases are rising according to local news sources. So you’re definitely not alone.
Before we look into the 5 steps to prepare for a Divorce in Singapore, it’s important to understand the 5 grounds for divorce in Singapore :
- Unreasonable behaviour – this comes in many forms. It can be domestic violence, alcoholism, or any behaviour that is unreasonable or unbearable to you. You must prove that nobody in the right state of mind would be able to live with such behavior.
- Desertion – If your partner abandons you (lives separately) for at least 2 years
- 3 years separation by consent – you have to prove with evidence that you and your partner has been living separately continuously for 3 years. Grounds for living separately must be because of the choice of the parties involved, and not due to necessity.
- 4 years separation without consent – same as C, but for 4 years
- Adultery – this can be cited as the main reason for the divorce. To be granted a divorce on the grounds of adultery, you must prove that your partner has had sex with someone other than you.
Any of these reasons could cause the marriage to break down irretrievably, which is a crucial requirement for divorce in Singapore.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s begin by looking at what you can do to prepare.
1. Start Early
Starting a divorce proceeding involves a lot of steps and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. If you see that a divorce is inevitable, start getting help, opinions and exploring your options early.
You don’t have to consult a divorce lawyer just yet. There are helpful forums such as singapore motherhood where others discuss divorce issues. If you’re a guy, don’t feel left out because i’ve seen plenty of guys who are on these forums as well. It’s not solely for ladies.
There are lots of members on there who have gone through or are undergoing divorce, and they can give you helpful tips and what to expect.
Suppose no one can really answer you, or you feel like you need a specialist, then start early by talking to a divorce lawyer. The goal here is for them to analyse your situation, to help you plan out your options.
You will inevitably have a lot of questions and expectations (what assets do i get (division), custody of my children, maintenance etc). However, unless it is an uncontested divorce, it’s unlikely to be so straightforward because each case is unique.
This is the best time to ask a lawyer about all these so you get it out of the way, and have realistic expectations about the outcome of the divorce.
By starting early, you are also able to take your time to think things through and not make hasty decisions.
This is the part where you set a goal as to what you’d like to achieve, or get out of the divorce (e.g 50-50 split of the matrimonial home, full custody of children etc.) . This will help serve as your guide throughout the divorce.
Whatever you do in the divorce, think of your end goal and stay focused on those things.
It also helps to think about how to tell and manage your children in this process. By starting early, you have more time to think about how you’ll tell them about the divorce and what it means for them.
Each child is unique, so what works for others might not work for yours.
Your child can read highly-rated books like Dinosaurs Divorce. This will help them understand what’s going on by explaining terms such as lawyers and judges in a child friendly way.
3. Emotional Management
No doubt a divorce will be a roller-coaster ride of emotions. So having supportive friends or family members around could be a great deal of help. There are also divorce support groups on sites like meetup.com. They usually have gatherings once every few months for members. There are a few divorce support groups in Singapore so you can easily choose one and join for free.
The benefit here is that they don’t just meet up to discuss these issues. Often, they have activities like BBQs so its more of a social gathering.
And because you’re meeting them in person, it’s easier to get advice.
Another important point to mention here is you should NOT say anything that could affect your position or the outcome of the divorce on social media. People tend to let emotions take over and rant for the world to see.
Before posting anything online, ask yourself “would i want my ex,the judge,my family, friends or my kids to see this?”. If you have to think twice about any of those, don’t post it.
It’s a simple question that could save you from a lot of potential problems.
Staying off social media until the divorce is finalized would be advisable so you don’t do anything you might regret later on.
This ties closely with my next subpoint – make decisions based on logic, not emotions. Think about what makes the most sense for you and your children. Yes, i know it’s easier said than done. Which is why it’s time for me to introduce the 24 hour rule.
What is the 24 hour rule?
It is the practice of waiting 24 hours before taking action on something that’s important.
If you still feel like doing it after 24 hours, then go ahead. If not, then great ! You probably dodged a bullet.
Next, be respectful. Especially when you have children around. Do not talk badly about your partner in front of them. Having children also means that you will have to keep in contact with your partner when they visit, come over birthdays etc. Being respectful puts you in a good light and helps improve the situation so things don’t turn sour.
Lastly, find time to do whatever it is that keeps you happy. On meetup.com, some divorcees achieved more after their divorce by getting their diving certificates, trekking mountains, travelling etc. There are endless possibilities !
4. Financial Management
Plan your finances. Get your bank statements and other financial documents ready. Make copies and keep them somewhere safe (where your spouse can’t access them), like self storage. These will all be required in the legal process so it’s good to get started collating them now.
You might also want to set aside some money for legal fees, children etc.
Think about what you can sell for cash. Cut down on expenses. If you haven’t been using something for awhile like that credit card sitting around your wallet, get rid of it. Again, emotional management. Not having that credit card there means you won’t be able to spend on impulse.
Divorce can be a cause of bankruptcy if not kept in check. Now is the time to handle your finances while you still can.
5. Take control
Take control of the situation by fighting for what you want to achieve in #2. Take good care of yourself. Don’t let anxiety and stress take over. Eat healthy, and look after your body. When you look good, you’ll feel good, and your actions will reflect that.
As said by author Susan Gale : “The only way to get over the past is to leave it behind. If you spend your time re-living moments that are gone forever, you might miss the special moments that are yet to come.”
If you feel devastated, allow yourself to grieve. Bottling up your feelings can do more harm than good.
Lastly, before you sign any legal documents, ensure that you know exactly what you are signing for. Get your Lawyer to explain it to you.
It is extremely difficult to backtrack on something once you’ve signed on it. (A few years ago, a friend of mine unknowingly signed to become a company director!)
During the divorce proceedings – before it is finalized, you have the power to change the outcome. So take control now.
If you are going through a divorce or are starting proceedings, I wish you alI the best and I hope you found this article useful.
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