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Singapore Divorce Lawyer - Lam & Co Blog

For most people, divorce is a rare and scary thing. You simply do not have any previous experience with it and there are many horror stories you have heard from your friends. Lam & Co.'s expert divorce lawyers are focused on sharing information with you to assist you as much as possible in making painless and correct decisions.
Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

5 SIMPLE STEPS TO GET AN APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY

First, understand what an Appointment of Deputy is.
When someone is mentally capable of handling his (or her) own affairs, that person can buy or sell or give away his or her assets as he or she wishes. There is a problem once that person is unable to decide matters concerning his (or her) own personal welfare and property and affairs because his (or her) mind or brain is not working properly. The bank, the HDB, etc., cannot follow the instructions of such a person. (In the Court documents, this person is usually referred to as, "P".)


Second, understand how an Appointment of Deputy will solve the problem.


In the Appointment of Deputy Court Order, the Court will state clearly who is authorized to handle (sell or transfer, etc) P's assets. With the Deputy Order, the bank, the HDB, etc., will be able to look at the Court Order and see that you are the person authorized to handle P's assets. In this way, they can safely follow your instructions.
Third, understand what can go wrong if you do not get an Appointment of Deputy Order?


If the bank or the HDB or other authority asks you to get a Deputy Order and you do not do so, you will not be able to handle (or do anything with) P's assets. If the assets are time sensitive, for example, stocks and shares, it is best to apply for a Deputy Order as soon as possible. Any delay may prevent you from selling time sensitive assets at the best time.

Fourth, do NOT get a Medical Report prepared first. There have been cases where the Medical Report was rejected for various reasons. For example, the client approached their Doctor before coming to see Lam & Co. and their Doctor used the old form, or their Doctor filled in the correct form but with his handwriting instead of having it typewritten, or the client delayed until too late and the Medical Report become "stale" (there is a timeline within which the Medical Report must be used).


Contact Lam & Co. early and we will guide you so that the risk that the Medical Report is rejected by the Judge is minimized.


Fifth, with the LamnCo Deputy Process, we will process your application in a fast and efficient way and usually,

  • you do not need to attend Court.
  • we will use our template which we have perfected with the benefit of more than 25 years of legal experience.
  • we will prepare the appropriate documents (on the spot) at our first meeting.
  • we will write to the hospital enclosing the correct form for the doctor to fill in.
  • we will share in our letter to the hospital what the Court requires. This is so that the doctor can follow the Court's requirements and avoid any unnecessary delay and cost. (The Court has, in the past, rejected medical reports for being in the wrong form, for having details which were handwritten and for not complying with the Court's other requirements.)

What should you do now?
Call us now at 6535 1800 so that your application can proceed smoothly and quickly.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

10 SIMPLE STEPS TO GET AN ADOPTION DONE

First of all, it is important to note that in the appropriate circumstances, it is indeed easy to get an Adoption done. However, any adoption is very challenging and a serious responsibility. You (and/or your spouse) should carefully consider before adopting. This is because any adoption will require a lot of commitment which will substantially change your life, the child's life and your family life.

Second, once you (and/or your spouse) have decided that adoption is for you, you will have to attend a Pre-Adoption Briefing. Lam & Co. can help you register for this. Just call us at 6535 1800. This briefing is compulsory and you (and where applicable, your spouse) should must attend it. It is a 2.5 hour, one-off session and is conducted in English, Mandarin and Malay. The briefing will cover:

  • the adoption process, including the eligibility criteria for adoption
  • your rights and responsibilities once you become an adoptive parent
  • the needs of an adopted child; and
  • sources of support for you and your adopted child.

Please call Lam & Co. at 6535 1800 for assistance registering for the Pre-Adoption Briefing.

For Foreign Nationals, please note that Singapore adoption orders made on or after 3 January 2014 will not be automatically recognized in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Because of this, at present, British nationals cannot adopt a child in Singapore.

For all other foreign nationals from the European Union, before identifying a child in Singapore or starting your adoption application, you must get a letter of support.

Please call Lam & Co. at 6535 1800 for assistance regarding the letter of support.

Third, you may have to get a Home Study Report. This is a comprehensive investigation into the background to the adoption and your family circumstances. It includes an assessment as to whether you and your spouse are eligible and ready to adopt a child. Each report is valid for only one adoption. Before identifying a child for adoption, or agreeing to adopt any child, you must apply for a Home Study Report -- unless you apply for and get a waiver.
Please call Lam & Co. at 6535 1800 for more information regarding the Home Study Report and waiver.

Fourth, you may identify a child for adoption on your own, through your relatives, relatives, acquaintances, or commercial entities, provided always that the source is legal and the transfer to you does not contravene the laws of any country. If you need any help, please call us at 6.535.1800.

Please note that Singapore law (Adoption of Children Act, Chapter 4, Section 11) prohibits any payment or reward to the biological parents for the adoption of their child unless sanctioned by (that is, allowed or permitted by) the Singapore court.

Fifth, please take not that the child must be a resident of Singapore before the Court will grant any Adoption Order. There is a technical definition of resident of Singapore for the purposes of the Adoption Act and you may have to apply for a Dependent's Pass for the child.

Please call Lam & Co. at 6535 1800 for more information on this as the situation depends on your circumstances.

Sixth, you must get the child's parents' Notarized Consent. If the parents are not available, you must get the Notarized Consent of the following persons:
  • 1. Natural parent(s) of child;
  • 2. Guardian of child;
  • 3. Person having actual custody of child;
  • 4. Person liable to contribute to the support of the infant; or
  • 5. Natural maternal and paternal grandparents of the child, where the natural parent(s) are below 21 years of age.
If you cannot get the Notarized Consent of any of the above persons, you will have to apply to court for their consent to be dispensed with. The court may do away with the requirement for Notarized Consent if there are special circumstances to justify this. Lam & Co. can assist you on the above step.

Seventh, you must get the child's identification documents and ensure that they are genuine. You must also prepare an itemized breakdown of the costs, if any, of obtaining the child, duly supported with original receipts.
Eighth, call Lam & Co. at 6535 1800 for help on applying to Court.

Ninth, if all goes smoothly, the Court will appoint the Guardian-In-Adoption. The Guardian-In-Adoption's duty is to safeguard the child's interests, to conduct the appropriate social investigations into the background to the adoption and submit an affidavit (sworn statement) to court. The Guardian-In-Adoption will, in turn, appoint a Child Welfare Officer. 

This officer will conduct interviews about your family and the child's situation and background. This officer may require you to attend interviews at the Ministry's office or other place and will also visit your home. After investigations and interviews have been completed, the Ministry will prepare an affidavit of its findings.

Tenth, the court will decide whether other parties such as the Child Welfare Officer or the child's biological parents need to be present at the hearing. 

The court will also, in due course, decide whether or not to grant the Adoption Order. The court will grant the order if and only if all legal requirements have been satisfied and it is in the best interest of the child to be adopted by the applicant(s).


Call Lam & Co. at 6535 1800 now.


About Lam & Co.
We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method (developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS: SHOULD I GET ONE DONE & WILL THE COURT ENFORCE IT?

A Prenuptial Agreement an agreement made between a couple before they marry stating who will get what part of their respective assets if their marriage should fail.

Whether or not you should get a Prenuptial Agreement signed with your spouse and whether or not the Court will enforce it will depend your particular circumstances.

For advice on this, call Lam & Co. at 6535 1800. They can help you.

In the meantime, you should be aware of the case of Wong Kien Keong v Khoo Hoon Eng (See here and here.). Even though that case dealt with a Separation Deed, similar principles apply to Prenuptial Agreements. Under the Separation Deed in that case, the wife would get a certain share of the assets. However, she later applied to Court to set aside (cancel) the Separation Deed. 

Her lawyer argued that she was coerced (forced), abused and/or threatened into signing the agreement. Her lawyer also argued that she was suffering from depression at the time such that she did not fully understand the consequences and risks of signing the agreement, and that she had signed the agreement in the hope of reconciling with her husband. 

The Court after hearing both sides ruled against the wife and rejected all the above arguments and dismissed her application to set aside (cancel) the Separation Deed.

Under the agreement, the wife was supposed to get 34 per cent of the assets. However, she later applied for 60 per cent. The Court decided that even though the Separation Deed was valid and binding, the couple's circumstances were such that the wife was entitled to 40 per cent of the assets.

Thus, it can be seen that even though the Separation Deed was found to be valid and binding, the Court still exercised its power to increase the wife's share of the assets.

Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800 for immediate help analyzing your particular situation.

About Lam & Co.
We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method (developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

THE TRUTH ABOUT COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE: WHAT IS IT & IS IT SUITABLE FOR YOU?

There is some talk of Collaborative Divorce on the internet but what exactly is this?

If you Google for:

you will get:Yet, some say that it is a process which allows the parties to use mediation and negotiation to settle any differences they may have in relation to their divorce.
  • They say both parties MUST hire lawyers.
  • They say that it is less time consuming than court litigation divorces.
  • They say the process is shorter.
  • They say it is less stressful.
  • They say it is less costly.

But as you see from the above Google search, the Court's website does not refer to "Collaborative Divorce" as such. However, they do have a process known as "Collaborative Family Process", "CFP" for short. 

The Collaborative Family Process is the result of the Family Justice Courts (FJC) and Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC)'s collaboration to allow early interventions to help couples resolve matters amicably even before going to court. 

It is one more option for couples to resolve any family disputes amicably before filing the divorce papers.
It is important to note that the Collaborative Family Process has a unique feature, that is, CFP lawyers involved in the negotiations cannot represent their clients in future litigation if a settlement is not reached. This usually means that their clients will have to look for other lawyers to take over their cases -- if a settlement is not reached.

The truth is:

  • the Collaborative Family Process may or may not be suitable for you.
  • this process may or may not less time consuming than court litigation divorces.
  • this process may or may not be less stressful.
  • this process may or may not be less costly.

It is not true that the process will always be one way only or the other way only. It depends on your situation and Lam & Co. can advise you now. Just all us at 6535 1800.

Not only that, we can also advise you on ways to incentivize your spouse to respond in a reasonable way to your proposals. This will help reduce the time, stress and cost of getting your divorce.

Further accurate information on the Collaborative Family Process include the following:
  • Before any court action is taken, CFP is an interest-based approach to negotiations dealing with matrimonial disputes.
  • The couple enter into an agreement to try to settle matters through good faith negotiations.
  • Where the couple is able to agree on everything between them, they can apply for a divorce through a simplified divorce process.
  • SMC has a panel of CFP lawyers to support the process.
  • All CFP lawyers are required to have undergone a collaborative family law programme. This is a programme conducted by SMC and supported by the FJC.
  • SMC also have a Family Panel of mediators.
  • The Family Panel of mediators would have undergone a training accreditation programme designed by SMC and the FJC

If you have any questions or require advice on how to resolve matters with your spouse, call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.


About Lam & Co.
We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method (developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.​

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

YOUR HDB FLAT HAS NOT REACHED MOP. CAN YOU BIND YOUR SPOUSE TO A FIXED 50:50 SHARE IN THE FLAT?

Certain HDB flats are subject to a Minimum Occupation Period before they can be sold. (See here and here.) Because of this, sometimes couples prefer to separate and later divorce only after the MOP has expired (instead of divorcing immediately and surrender the HDB flat at a loss).

The parties can sign a Separation Deed that states how they are to divide the flat when the divorce later. But, is this safe? What if your spouse later applies to Court to ask for more than what was agreed in the Separation Deed?
In the case of Wong Kien Keong v Khoo Hoon Eng (See here and here.), the couple signed a Separation Deed. Under this agreement, the wife would get a certain share of the assets. 

However, she later applied to Court to set aside (cancel) the Separation Deed. Her lawyer argued that she was coerced (forced), abused and/or threatened into signing the agreement. Her lawyer also argued that she was suffering from depression at the time such that she did not fully understand the consequences and risks of signing the agreement, and that she had signed the agreement in the hope of reconciling with her husband. 

The Court after hearing both sides ruled against the wife and rejected all the above arguments and dismissed her application to set aside (cancel) the Separation Deed.

Under the agreement, the wife was supposed to get 34 per cent of the assets. However, she later applied for 60 per cent. The Court decided that even though the Separation Deed was valid and binding, the couple's circumstances were such that the wife was entitled to 40 per cent of the assets.

Thus, it can be seen that even though the Separation Deed was found to be valid and binding, the Court still exercised its power to increase the wife's share of the assets.
Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800 for immediate help analyzing your particular situation.

About Lam & Co.
We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method (developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.


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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

YOUR WIFE IS APPLYING FOR A DIVORCE AND SHE WANTS THE CHILDREN. WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

First of all, it is important to understand that the Women's Charter does not say that the children must follow the mother. It says that "the paramount consideration shall be the welfare of the child and subject to this, the court shall have regard to" the parents' wishes and (if the child is able to express an independent opinion) the child's wishes. (Section 125)

Second, crystal clear cut cases are rare. For example, cases where there is clear evidence that the mother has mental issues and is likely to hurt the children or where the mother has been convicted of incest are quite clear cases. However, by their nature, such cases are rare.

Third, in many cases, the Court will give significant weight to certain factors:

Naturally, the age of the child is an important factor.

The party providing a stable environment for the child (leading up to the divorce) is likely to gain a significant advantage. This is because the Court generally wants to preserve the stability already existing around the child (and avoid upsetting the established routine). 

Therefore, Lam & Co. can help you assess who is more likely to get the child in the following situations:

  1. The child has just been born and the mother has been breastfeeding the child.
  2. The child is of a young age and the mother has been the primary care giver from birth.
  3. The mother has been busy with her career, leaving not enough time for the child, and the father has been the primary care giver in the period leading up to the divorce.
  4. The paternal grandparents have been the primary caregivers.

This is why it is crucial for you to call Lam & Co. as early as possible. Where appropriate, you can, with our assistance, create a stable environment and routine which is more advantageous to you.

Four, the morality of the mother may or may not come into play. Adultery is primarily a breach of spousal duty, not necessary evidence of being a bad mother. However, evidence that the mother has an unceasing series of sexual partners who she brings home to entertain in front of the child can significantly reduce her chances of getting the child.

Fifth, the Court will take into account all the circumstances of the case including whether either parent has a gambling addiction, (alcohol) drinking addiction, depression or other medical or mental issues, limited (or no) engagement or interest in the child's life, sufficient (or insufficient) time to look after the child, etc.

Sixth, the Court can also take into account the child's independent opinion.
Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800 for an assessment of your situation.

About Lam & Co.
We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method (developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

You have found compromising photos of your spouse with a third party. Does this prove adultery?

First of all, it is important to identify what adultery is. 

Adultery is mentioned in the Women's Charter. However, the Women's Charter does not define what adultery is. Because of this, the court is likely to adopt the "usual" meaning of adultery which is, "voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse." Again, usually, this would mean penetration of some sort. In other words, just holding hands or cuddling with the third party is not "serious" enough to be adultery.


Second, the Court requires convincing evidence before it will rule that your spouse committed adultery with a third party. Simply because your spouse and a third party stayed in a hotel room for a night may not be enough. The compromising photos you found, on the other hand, may be sufficient depending on how explicit they are and whether you can prove that they are genuine. Call Lam & Co. at 6535 1800 and we can share our expert, professional opinion with you.

Often, adultery can be proved using your spouse's confession (if any), eyewitness evidence, video recording, DNA evidence (showing a child born of an adulterous union), etc. We can also help you assess such evidence.

Third, if you apply for a divorce based on adultery and your spouse denies it, the Private Investigator costs and litigation risks (that is, the risk of the Court finding that there is insufficient proof of adultery) can often be quite high. It is best to get professional legal advice before proceeding.


Fourth, you should also be aware that the benefits of applying for divorce based on adultery may not be what you expect. If you thought the Court would punish your spouse for committing adultery,  for example, by giving a smaller share of the assets, awarding lower maintenance or taking the children away, this may not be correct. Nowhere in the Women's Charter does it say your spouse should be punished for committing adultery. 


Fifth, the Court will divide the matrimonial assets based on the factors mentioned in Section 112 of the Women's Charter and these do not explicitly mention adultery. As for the children's custody, the paramount consideration will be the welfare of the children. On the other hand, if there is very clear evidence that your spouse had used a large part of the family's assets on the adulterous affair, the Court may take this into account.


Sixth, what if your evidence is not strong enough? This does not necessarily mean you cannot get your divorce. Lam & Co. can advise you on a much more effective, cheaper and less risky way to apply for your divorce.
Any questions? Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.


About Lam & Co.

We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method (developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you. 

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

How to choose a Singapore Divorce Lawyer

You have thought about it carefully and you have confirmed that there is no future to your marriage. You want to divorce your spouse. The next step is to find a lawyer.

Or, your spouse has suddenly sent you the lawyer's letter or some court documents. What should you do next?
You should choose us because:

  1. We have a 24 hours (almost), 7 days a week, hotline: 6535 1800.
  2. Our hotline is answered personally by our lawyer who has more than 25 years of legal experience. 
  3. Every effort is made to answer general information questions. 
  4. Depending on complexity, we give you an immediate quote over the phone. 
  5. If it is not possible to quote over the phone, we arrange an appointment for a No Charge, No Obligation 45 minute interview. 
  6. After this interview, we share with you what we feel we can do for you and also the costing. After this, you can go home to think it over without any pressure.
  7. We are effective. For example, if we did not succeed in reducing the maintenance, our client would have to pay 20 per cent more maintenance (compared to the reduced figure). This would be, of course, a significant amount to our client. We can succeed even in an especially difficult application to reduce maintenance for the children, NOT for the spouse. (Usually, the Court is more reluctant to reduce maintenance for the children than for a spouse who is also working.)
  8. We are fast. For uncontested cases, we prepare the divorce documents on the spot at the first meeting with the client. In this way, the client can immediately show the documents to the spouse after the first meeting and if all is acceptable, an urgent appointment can be made for the documents to be signed and then filed into Court. In this way, the client's case can proceed as quickly as possible.
  9. We listen carefully to our clients. We are contactable either on our hotline (6535 1800) or our direct office number. Often, we make numerous amendments in order to tailor the documents to our clients' requirements. There can be as many as more than 10 amendments to a single document in order to get it just right.
  10. We arrange for the professional witness to our clients' signatures to come to our office to witness their signatures. This means that our clients need not wait while we try to hunt for a witness to their signature. They can come to our office and the professional witness will be waiting at our office for them. The professional witness who we engage can also translate court documents into Mandarin and dialect, if necessary.


Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.


About Lam & Co.
We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method (developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you. 

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

You are rich and you just found out your spouse is a gold-digger. What should you do?

You are a successful business person. You have worked hard and you have overcome the odds and your business has flourished. Then, you met your spouse and the two of you got married. Initially, all is well. But after some time, the two of you fall out and there are arguments. Then, suddenly, your spouse is applying for a divorce and asking for a share in your assets. What happens now?

The first and most important step, we will discuss at the end of this article.

The second step is to identify all the "matrimonial assets" that you own. The technical definition of "matrimonial assets" under the law depends on:

  • whether you acquired the assets before the marriage,
  •  whether the assets were ordinarily used or enjoyed by both you and your spouse or one or more of your children while the two of you were residing together for shelter or transportation or for household, education, recreational, social or aesthetic purposes,
  •  whether the assets have been substantially improved during the marriage by your spouse or by the both of you, and
  •  whether you acquired the assets by way of gift or inheritance.

As you can see, whether or not your spouse can claim against an asset may depend on when you acquired the asset. Naturally, if you strike lottery after the divorce is over, your spouse cannot claim against your good fortune.


Thus, if you are able to control how much bonus your company will declare for yourself (and when), you must consider carefully before deciding.

Similarly, if you are able to control when a gift will be made to you, you should also consider carefully what arrangements to make.

The third step is, of course, to identify the assets which your spouse owns or which the both of you own jointly.
Once you have identified all the assets on both sides, the next step is to collect as much evidence as you can of your:

  • "direct contributions" to the household which means paying money, eg., for the housing loan, household expenses, etc.; and
  • "indirect contributions" which includes:
  • financial contributions, eg., paying for the family's broadband, utilities bills, or the children's enrichment classes; and
  • non-financial contributions, eg., taking care of the children, doing the household chores, etc.

You should also gather whatever evidence you can to show that your spouse did NOT make non-financial contributions (or made less contributions), eg., NOT taking care of the children, NOT doing the household chores, or wasting his (or her) time instead, etc.

You should furthermore take action to boost your non-financial contributions as much as possible (eg., taking care of the children, doing the household chores, etc.) as this can significantly improve the final outcome for you.

The first and most important step is to call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.
It is vital that you understand: The more you delay, the more risky and more expensive the application may become. 

For example, your spouse may have approached her lawyer first and may have started gathering evidence before you. This can adversely affect your case and it can cause you to end up paying more. 

Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.


About Lam & Co.
Here, we seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method (developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

Singapore Divorce: Instant Divorce, Is There Such A Thing?

The Indian Supreme Court has struck down a law that gave Muslim men the right to instantly divorce their wives. The decision was by a majority of 3 to 2. 

What is the situation in Singapore?

Singapore Divorce: Muslims

For muslims undergoing divorce, the situation is somewhat complex and revolves around the husband communicating the word, "talak", to the wife 3 times. "Talak" is Arabic for, "to release" or "to divorce". There is significant controversy whether (a) the communication must be made directly in the presence of the wife and in the presence of 2 reliable witnesses or (b) proof of communication (or admission of communication by the wife) is sufficient. 

This has led to the issue whether it was possible to have Instant Divorce by various modes of electronic communications. At least one man has resorted to "ambushing" his estranged wife by giving her an innocuous excuse to meet up and then springing out with his father and his best friend and uttering, "talak", to his wife. It is helpful to appreciate the context in which uttering talak 3 times arose. 

Before Islam, the practice in Arabia allowed men to say talak as many times as they wished. Islam then stepped in and limited the number of times that a man could say talak on separate occasions to only 3 times. On the other hand, he could say talak 3 times on one occasion but this meant that the man and his wife could not reconcile unless she marries another person, consummates that subsequent marriage and thereafter divorces that other person. 

The purpose appears to be to force the man to consider carefully before saying talak even once, much less 3 times. In Singapore, the Syariah Court carefully considers all the evidence and the testimony of all witnesses before deciding whether the man's utterance was clear and whether he had a clear intention never to reconcile.


Singapore Divorce: Non-muslims

The Women's Charter clearly says that the Court shall initially make an Interim Judgment for Divorce. Three months after the date of the Interim Judgment, the Court can then grant the Final Judgment. This effectively works as a waiting period for the couple. 

During this time, either party can go to Court to give reasons why the Interim Judgment should not be made Final. These reasons should be based on material facts that had not been brought before the Court earlier. The Court can "by general or special order from time to time" fix a shorter "waiting period". 

However, this is usually based on special circumstances which the Court thinks warrants a reduction of the usual 3 months' "waiting period". Where such special circumstances exist, the Court has in the past reduced the period to a month and even just a week. For more information on such special circumstances, please call 65351800.


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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

I JUST FOUND OUT MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN SENDING SEXY MESSAGES TO A THIRD PARTY. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Your husband is in the shower. His handphone rings and you pick up the call. A woman says, "Hi, honey, thanks so much for the flowers." When you ask who she is calling, the woman hangs up. Your husband has caller ID and you call the woman back but she does not pick up. 

What should you do? 

Another example: You get a WhatsApp message and you open it. It is a sexually suggestive message addressed to someone else. Then you check and find that it had come from your wife's handphone number. 

What should you do? 

First of all, you should not straightaway confront your spouse.

You should: 

1. Preserve the evidence. Of course, if the message has come into your handphone, you should back it up, print it out and keep the copies in a safe place (which should be someplace other than the home). Then, you should change the password on your handphone. 

If the message is on your spouse's handphone or computer, you can consider taking a photo with your own handphone or sending a copy to yourself. In this connection, you should also consider whether you have your spouse's consent (express or implied) to use his (or her) handphone and for what purpose. If your husband (or wife) has asked to help answer his calls, then that is express consent. Implied consent can be from his previous conduct in allowing you to look at his handphone or answer SMS-es for him. Whether his consent extends to taking copies can be a complex legal question.

2. Review the evidence (when you have calmed down and are in a place safe from prying eyes). Take a look at the message with fresh, objective eyes. Can there be an innocent explanation? Was it nothing more than an innocent mistake? What if your wife's colleague was playing a practical joke on her?

3. Review your relationship. Is it still all good? Do you two still have great, exciting sex? Does he still do all the little things that he knows you like best, e.g., the occasional shoulder rub, holding your hand, etc? Do you still have that special sense that it is just the two of you against the rest of the world? 

Or, has your husband become self-absorbed, withdrawn or emotionally distant? Did he get angry or defensive and flare up at you over minor things or innocent, normal questions? Did he complain that you were too controlling of him and his movements? Was he out of the home for more and longer periods, using excuses like business trips, more demanding situations at the office, after hours meetings, etc?

4. Seek independent help. You may wish to reach out to a trusted and wise friend or religious leader for an alternative assessment of the situation. In any case, you should seriously consider seeking independent, professional advice from a marriage counselor and a lawyer.


Do you have any questions? Please call +65  6.535.1800.


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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT DIVORCE LAWYER

For most people, divorce is a rare and scary thing. You simply do not have any previous experience with it and there are many horror stories you have heard from your friends.

In this article, we share with you how to choose the right divorce lawyer for you.

We have come up with a list of things to do. Do them and you will dramatically increase your chances of choosing the right lawyer.


1. Choose a lawyer who is easy to contact.

If you cannot even contact the lawyer easily, how can he be the right lawyer for you? What if you have an urgent question which a simple phone call can resolve? Are you able to get in touch with your lawyer?

At Lam & Co, our hotline (at 6.535.1800) is "On" 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We try our very best to pick up each and every call. If we are in the gym shower or are unable to take your call immediately, we have caller ID and we will call you back as soon as we can.


2. Choose a lawyer who listens to you.

Did the lawyer give you a chance to say what was on your mind? Did he listen to what you said? Did he ask you how he can help you? Did he answer your question directly and completely? Did you get a chance to tell him the background to your case?


3. Choose a lawyer who is clear about how he charges.

An example of a clear charging policy a package fee subject only to the condition that your spouse cooperates fully throughout the case. This way, you know precisely what you need to arrange with your spouse (cooperation) and exactly what you have to pay the lawyer (quoted fee).


4. Choose a lawyer you are comfortable with.

This last item is the most important of all.

After speaking with the lawyer on the phone, go to his office and meet him (or her) in person. Talk to him and find out what level of personal compatibility you have with him and how comfortable you are sharing with him (or her) intimate details of your case.


It is vital that the two of you are able to work closely and effectively together in order to achieve your common goals. 

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

HOW TO GET A HASSLE-FREE, UNCONTESTED DIVORCE

An uncontested divorce is one where (i) both parties decide to divorce amicably; and (ii) they also settle between themselves all the terms (e.g., the children, maintenance, flat, legal costs, etc.).

Even after the above two conditions are satisfied, the Singapore Court has other conditions which must be satisfied before it will grant the divorce.

For example, either the husband or the wife must be a Singapore citizen. Otherwise, at least one of them must have been habitually resident in Singapore for the most recent 3 years (leading up to the filing of the application for Divorce). If none of these conditions are satisfied, the Singapore Court will not accept the case.

Apart from the above, for couples who have been married for 3 years or more, they must also satisfy at least one of the following conditions:

  • (a) 3 years' separation and the defendant consents to the divorce.
  • (b) 4 years' separation.
  • (c) the defendant committed adultery (and the plaintiff (applicant) finds it intolerable to live with the defendant).
  • (d) the defendant's behaviour was so unreasonable that the plaintiff (applicant) cannot reasonably be expected to live with the defendant.
  • (e) 2 years' desertion (i.e., the defendant abandoned the plaintiff for 2 years).

It is also important to ensure that the Housing & Development Board (HDB) have no objections to what the parties decide to do with their HDB flat after the divorce.

In order to ensure that all the details are in order, it is best to call Lam & Co. (at 6.535.1800) to discuss the matter. We will be glad to address critical issues such as:

  • (a) Is not having sex with your spouse for 3 years the same as 3 years' separation? Is sleeping in separate rooms for 3 years the same as 3 years' separation? In order to separate from your spouse by moving out to a different address, must you update the address in your Identity Card? If 3 years ago, you moved out but did not update the address in your Identity Card, can you still get a divorce based on 3 years' separation?
  • (b) What is the difference between joint custody and sole custody of the children? What does it mean if you let your spouse get care and control of the children?
  • (c) Can you split up the children after the divorce so that each of you can apply for an HDB flat with one of the children? Would the Court accept such a reason for splitting up the children? If not, what reasons can the Court accept for splitting up the children?
  • (d) How to check that HDB have no objection to what you intend to do with the HDB flat? What will happen if HDB objects? Will this stop the divorce?
  • (e) What is the point of S$1.00 per month maintenance (which you keep hearing your friends talking about)? When your spouse remarries, do you still have to continue paying her maintenance? 
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