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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

What if My Spouse Does Not Sign The Divorce Papers. Can I Still Get a Divorce?

Sometimes, we came across clients who are concerned that if their spouses do not sign the divorce papers, they cannot proceed with the divorce case.

This is often incorrect.

Even if your spouse cannot be found at all, you can still proceed and get your divorce (provided you satisfy the court's other conditions for divorce).

If your spouse can be found, the divorce papers will be hand delivered to him.

After that, the court rules require him to:

-file a certain document (called a memorandum of appearance) within 8 days from the date that he received the divorce papers.

-file another document (called a defence (or defence and counterclaim)) within 22 days from the date that he received the divorce papers.

If he or she does not file the documents, you can proceed with the case without his or her input.

This is done by applying to court:

-for substituted service.

With the court's permission, the divorce papers can be sent to your spouse's last known address and/or last known email, WhatsApp account, etc.Even if he or she does not respond, your divorce case can still proceed.

-for dispensation of service.

With the court's permission (usually where the spouse has no last known address and no other means of being contacted), the divorce case can proceed without serving the papers on your spouse at all.

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.


Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Top 10 Tips For Handling Your Finances After A Divorce

 After a divorce, you will probably be relieved that it is all over.

However, you should also be aware that there is always the risk of further litigation (legal fights) in the future.

This is one of the major factors affecting how you should handle your finances after a divorce.

Top 10 tips

You should:

(Please note that some of the following may apply even before a divorce.)

1 (if necessary, reach out to your ex-spouse and) close all joint accounts and transfer the funds to the appropriate places:

-Your funds should go into new accounts in your sole name.

-(Of course, any assets that the court divides in your favour should be transferred to your sole name as soon as possible.You should specifically instruct your lawyer or other professional to do this paper work.Because this paper work is usually separate from the divorce, they may take no action unless you instruct them to do the paperwork.)

2 consider opening a new bank account to receive only funds from your ex-spouse.(This may be helpful to help keep track of the funds received from your ex-spouse.)

3 decide whether or not to keep a paper trail of your funds and your expenses.

-Take note that if you keep a comprehensive paper trail (including all receipts, all credit card statements, etc.) of your funds and how they are spent, this can be helpful to prove your income, your expenses.This, in turn, can support your claim for more maintenance.

-However, this can also prove how much you earned and, possibly, how much you saved.

-The reverse of keeping a comprehensive paper trail is to "go cash" and leave no paper trail.This may make it more difficult to prove your expenses (Collecting all the receipts may counter this problem).However, this may also make it more difficult for your ex-spouse to track what had happened to the cash that you have withdrawn.

4 reach out to a financial planner to make a comprehensive financial plan for the future.

-It is important to identify all sources of income (including any maintenance and any division of asset payments or transfers) and allocate and invest them wisely.

-Your financial plan for the future should also cover liabilities.

-You should try to avoid bad debt (such as credit card debt and other high interest debts).

-If you have such debt, you should come up with a plan to pay down such bad debt as soon as you can.

-You should carefully consider "good debt" (such as low interest HDB housing loan which you are able to afford).

-You should ensure that your financial plan takes into account your child(ren)'s education and also your retirement.

5 (where you can afford it) buy insurance to insure you and the child(ren) against illness, death, permanent disability, etc.

-You should ensure that you consider carefully and name the beneficiaries to your insurance policies.

6 come up with a budget (working together with your financial planner).

-Try to save something every month.It may be 65% of your income or 25% of your income or only 5% of your income.Whatever the amount, try to save something.If you succeed, it means you are spending less than you are earning which is much, much better than the reverse.

7 (following from above) create an emergency fund.

-Start by gradually building up your emergency fund to 3 months of your salary. Then, aim for 6 months.If you able to afford it, then build it up to a year and then 2 years of your salary.

-In this way, you have a safety net in case you suddenly lose your job.

8 check with the credit bureau to confirm that your credit is good and that your ex-spouse has not adversely affected your credit worthiness.If the Credit Bureau still have the both of you on record as a married couple, clarify with them that you two have divorced.

9 make a will.This is because no one can tell the future and it is important to provide for your child(ren) and other beneficiaries.

10 make a CPF nomination.This is important for the same reason as above.


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

What Does Shared Care And Control of The Child(ren) Mean?

In order to understand shared care and control, it is important to note the difference between (A) care and control and (B) custody.


Care and control

Care and control is about the right to take care of a child and to make day-to-day, short-term decisions concerning the child's upbringing and welfare.

This may include deciding on:

-what the child will wear today.

-what the child will eat today.

-when the child with go to bed tonight.

Thus, the party that has care and control will normally have the child living with that party.Equivalently, the party who has the child living with him or her will normally be the party that has care and control.


Custody

Custody alone is about the right to make the more important, longer-term decisions concerning the upbringing and welfare of a child.

This may include:

-the type of education the child is to undergo as this concerns the more important and long-term aspects of a child's upbringing.

-(depending on the importance of this decision to the child's education), the particular school.


Shared care and control

Shared care and control means that the child(ren) spend about equal amounts of time with each parent, for eg,:

-3 days with the father and 4 days with the mother.

-a week with the father and the next week with the mother.

-two weeks with the father and the next 2 weeks with the mother.

It is also important to note that shared care and control is very rare and the court will not make this order unless it is satisfied that it is in the child(ren)'s interests.

In order to get this type of order, it is helpful:

-for the parents to live close to each other (and also close to the child(ren)'s school).

-for the child(ren)'s care arrangements to already be split between the parents and they have already established stable (and separate) households (that are near to each other and to the child(ren)'s school(s)


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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My Marriage is Not Working And I Want a Divorce. What Should I do?

 The first sentence from Leo Tolstoy's novel, Anna Karenina, says:

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."


First question

Before proceeding with a divorce, you should consider the question:

-whether or not there is a future to the marriage.

Also, you should seek professional help in considering this question.

If necessary (and if your spouse refuses to go for counseling with you), you should go for counseling on your own.


Answers

If your answer to the question is:

-Yes, I believe there is a future to my marriage; or

-I do not know whether there is a future to my marriage,

you should work with professional help towards saving your marriage.

If the your answer to the question is:

-No, I believe there is no future to my marriage,

then, you should engage a lawyer to apply for a divorce.

In the meantime, you should gather together whatever evidence you can in case you need this for the divorce application.


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

What Can I do to Increase my Chances of Getting Care & Control Over my Child(ren)?

 It is important to try to understand the judge's way of thinking about care and control.


Child(ren)'s welfare paramount consideration

Under the Women's Charter, when the judge makes any decision that is related to the child(ren), the judge is required to make the child(ren)'s welfare the paramount consideration.

This means that the judge must treat the child(ren)'s welfare as the most important factor when making any decision that is related to the child(ren).


Stable household and primary caregiver

Often, the judge will emphasize providing a stable household for the child(ren).

This, in turn, usually means that the judge will grant care and control of the child(ren) to the party who was the primary care giver during the marriage -- provided, of course, the child(ren) has (have) been well take care of by the primary care giver.

Thus, a full-time housewife who does not have a domestic helper, who is there all the time for the child(ren), closely supervising the child(ren) and where the child(ren) is (are) healthy and doing well in school is much more likely to get care and control than a parent who is none of the above.


Increasing your chances

Depending on your situation, you may be able to increase your chances of getting care and control over your child(ren) by:

-keeping a diary (a pen and paper one, not an electronic one).

In it, you should record when you get up and go to bed and how you spend your time with the child(ren).You should also record when your spouse gets up and goes to bed and how he or she spends time with the child(ren).

Naturally, such a diary will help your case if you are the primary care giver.Otherwise, it may assist your spouse's claim for care and control.Thus, care should be exercised in keeping such a diary.

-taking photos and/or videos every single day.

These can record your interactions with your child(ren) and help prove that you are the primary care giver.There is no need to wait for a special occasion like a birthday or public holiday to take photos or videos.


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

My Spouse Has Kept Me in The Dark About His (or Her) Assets. What Can I do to Find Out What Assets He (or She) Has?

 Sometimes, in a marriage, one spouse is the sole breadwinner and that spouse keeps to himself (or herself) all information about the assets acquired over the years.

Application for documents and information

In such a case, the other spouse can apply to court for discovery (documents) and interrogatories (information).


A serious limitation

However, there is a serious limitation to these applications:

The court may direct the spouse to produce the documents and the information.

However, the court will not direct the bank, finance company, stockbroker, stock exchange, etc., to provide any document or information.

If the spouse does not produce the documents or the information that the court directed him or her to produce, the court can draw an adverse inference against him or her.


Adverse inference and evidence

The adverse inference can be in the form of assuming that the spouse has more assets than the available evidence shows.

If you have no evidence at all of any assets, it is likely to be difficult to advance your case.

Thus, it is important to have as much evidence as possible.

Even evidence of some bank account or some funds from long ago may prove helpful to your case.


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800 or  email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

I Have Clear Evidence of My Spouse's Adultery (Sexual Intercourse With A Third Party Of The Opposite Sex). I am Sure to Win The Divorce Case, Correct?

The correct answer is, No, not necessarily.


What you need to prove

First of all, yes, divorce based on adultery requires proof of:

-sexual intercourse.

(Just holding hands or having dinner does not count.)

-with a third party of the opposite sex.

(We are of the view that currently, the law is that sexual intercourse between your spouse and a party of the opposite sex is required.)

Secondly, the above is not enough.

You have to also show that you find it intolerable to live with your spouse.

Also, you must not have continued living with your spouse for more than 6 months after finding out about his or her adultery.Otherwise, you cannot use that instance of adultery to apply for a divorce.

Also, you and your spouse must have been married for at least 3 years.Otherwise, the Women's Charter says you cannot apply for a normal divorce (including a divorce based on adultery) in the first 3 years of your marriage.


Benefits of applying based on adultery, are there any?

It is important to note that even if the court grants a divorce based on adultery, this does not mean that you will get more assets or more maintenance for yourself or for the child(ren).

It also does not mean that your spouse will lose care and control of the child(ren) to you.

It still depends on the circumstances of your case.


Reasons not to apply for divorce based on adultery

In fact, there are many reasons not to use adultery as a basis for divorce.

First, the court is likely to require very strong evidence of the adultery.

Secondly, there is the alternative of applying for divorce based on unreasonable behaviour (improper association instead of sexual penetration) which is much easier to prove.

Thirdly, in most cases, there is no advantage in applying based on adultery as this would not improve your claim for division of matrimonial assets, your or the child(ren)'s maintenance and/or care and control of the child(ren).

Fourthly, your spouse is far more likely to resist adultery allegations than suitably watered down allegations of unreasonable behaviour.


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800 or  email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

My Spouse Has a Lot of Credit Card Debts, Gambling Debts & Other Debts. Will They be Deducted From The Matrimonial Assets When We Divorce?

When there is a divorce, the court will divide up the parties' matrimonial assets.

Before dividing the assets, the court will deduct from:

(A) the value of the matrimonial assets,

(B) the value of the matrimonial liabilities,

in order to determine the net value of all the matrimonial assets.

The court will normally not deduct (C) the value of the parties' personal liabilities.

Thus, sometimes, the argument in court is whether a liability is

(1) a matrimonial liability; or

(2) not a matrimonial liability.


Matrimonial liabilities

Examples of matrimonial liabilities include housing loans on the matrimonial home, liabilities incurred for the household and/or the children, etc.


Non-matrimonial liabilities

Examples of non-matrimonial liabilities include liabilities incurred solely for the benefit of one party without the consent (express or implied) consent of the other party.

Credit card debts incurred by one party to buy himself or herself an outrageous gift which the other party immediately objected to after finding out is more likely to be a personal liability.

However, credit card debts incurred in the normal course of the marriage to which neither party objected may be a matrimonial liability.

Gambling debts incurred by one party when the other party has been objecting to the gambling is more likely to be a personal liability.

However, gambling debts incurred on a family trip are likely to be matrimonial liabilities.

Depending on the facts, the court's decision may be made based on case by case considerations and may also depend on how the particular judge views the evidence.

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.


Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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What Are The Court's Requirements For An Annulment?

 In the first 3 years of your marriage, you cannot (successfully) apply for a normal divorce.

This means that during the first 3 years,

-you cannot (successfully) apply for a divorce if your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot be reasonably be expected to live with him or her.

-you cannot apply for a divorce if your spouse has deserted your for 2 years.

-you cannot apply for a divorce even if your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with him or her.


Annulment

In the first 3 years of your marriage, you are allowed to apply for an annulment.

An annulment is radically different from a divorce.

This is because after an annulment, the parties' status reverts back to being single.After a divorce, their status becomes that of divorcees.

The court requires certain conditions (stipulated in the Women's Charter) to be satisfied before it will grant an annulment.

These conditions (for annulment) are radically different from those for a divorce.


What are the conditions for an annulment?

Actually, there are very many different types of annulment, each with different conditions.

For example, if you married your spouse after he misled you into thinking that he was a woman, this may entitle you to an annulment.

Another is example is where you or your spouse were unable to properly consent to the marriage (perhaps due to an abnormality of the mind) which may also entitle you to an annulment.


The most common type of annulment

However, by far the most common type of annulment is based on wilful refusal to consummate the marriage.


Condition(s) for the most common type of annulment

The condition that needs to be satisfied in this type of annulment is:

-the marriage has not been consummated owing to the wilful refusal of the defendant to consummate it.

If this condition is not satisfied, the application for annulment will fail -- even if both parties agree and cooperate and sign all the annulment papers.

Generally, this condition means that:

-since the parties got married (ROM), the parties had never had sexual intercourse;

-the applicant (ie, the party applying for the annulment) constantly (or often) approached the defendant to have sexual intercourse; and

-the defendant kept refusing to have sexual intercourse with the applicant, either without any reason at all; or without any good reason.

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.


Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

I Have Been Married (ROM) for Less Than 3 Years. Can I Apply For A Divorce?

The Women's Charter does not allow you to (successfully) apply for a normal divorce within the first 3 years of your marriage.

This means that in the first 3 years of your marriage,

-you cannot (successfully) apply for a divorce if your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot be reasonably be expected to live with him or her.

-you cannot apply for a divorce if your spouse has deserted your for 2 years.

-you cannot apply for a divorce even if your spouse committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with him or her.


Annulment

In the first 3 years of your marriage, you are allowed to apply for an annulment.

However, the court requires certain conditions (stipulated in the Women's Charter) to be satisfied before it will grant an annulment.

These conditions (for annulment) are radically different from those for a divorce.


Exceptional hardship & exceptional depravity

In the first 3 years of your marriage, you are allowed to apply for an "exceptional" divorce.This must be based on:

-exceptional hardship; and/or

-exceptional depravity.

In the past, suffering from depression was sufficient to satisfy the condition to get an "exceptional" divorce.However, this no longer appears to be the case.

Now, it is much harder to get an "exceptional" divorce.

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.


Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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In a Divorce Case, What is Mediation and What Happens There?

If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, the court will often fix the case for mediation.

Mediation is essentially negotiations between the parties with the assistance of a judge (or other judicial officer).

Leading up to the mediation, the court will usually direct the parties to exchange copies of documents including:

-each party's IRS notices of assessment for the past 3 years.

-each party's bank statements for the past 3 to 6 months.

-each party's CPF statements showing the balances in their CPF accounts.

-each party's CPF statements showing the amount paid towards the property and accrued interest.

-each party's list of expenses (and, if any, child(ren)'s expenses).

-each party's payslips for past 3 to 6 months.

-each party's documents showing the value of the property and the amount outstanding on the housing loan.

Mediation will be conducted on a without prejudice basis.This means that all communications made in the course of mediation will be treated in strict confidence and will not be admissible in any court unless otherwise stipulated by law.

At the mediation session, the judge (or other judicial officer) will guide the parties and their lawyers.

Often, the outstanding issues (which the parties are unable to agree on) will be identified.Then, each party's position will be determined (so that the gap between them is clarified).

The judge may organize the mediation session as he or she deems fit, including:

-seeing and speaking with all the parties and their lawyers.

-seeing and speaking with one (or the other) party and that party's lawyers only; and/or

-seeing and speaking with one (or the other) party without his or her lawyers.

If the dispute is not resolved at the mediation session, the court will direct the case to proceed to trial.

The case will then be heard by a judge other than the judicial officer conducting the mediation.


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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My Spouse is Agreeable to a Divorce. What Happens in an Uncontested Divorce?

Typically, we will conduct an initial interview to understand your situation better.

Then, we will prepare the draft divorce papers for your approval.

After you have approved them, they are shown to your spouse for his or her approval.

After both of you have approved the divorce papers, the signing copies will be prepared and an appointment fixed for the both of you to attend and sign the papers.

When you and your spouse sign, your signatures will be witnessed by a Commissioner for Oaths.

After that, the signed divorce papers will be filed into court.

Then, the court will fix a hearing date.Usually, neither of you needs to attend court.

On the hearing date, the judge will review the divorce papers and if they are in order, he or she will grant an Interim Judgment.

After that, there is a 3-month waiting period.

After the 3-month waiting period, the court will grant the Final Judgment.

(If you have any children with your spouse who are below 21 years of age, the court will also write to the both of you to attend a counseling session.If you wish to, you can call up to reschedule your appointment so that you do not need to attend at the same time as your spouse.You should not bring the children to the counseling session.)

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.


Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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My Spouse is Not Agreeable to a Divorce. What Happens in a Contested Divorce?

 Typically, we will conduct an initial interview to understand your situation better.


Parenting program

If you have any children with your spouse who are below 21 years of age, you will be registered for a parenting program.

This program consists of a one-time, 2 to 3-hour session.It will usually not be about how to reconcile with your spouse.Instead, it will normally focus on how the divorce may impact on your child(ren) and how the parties should not use the child(ren) as a pawn(s), etc.

It is for you to attend on your own.In other words, there is no need for your spouse to attend with you.You should also not bring your child(ren).

After you complete the program, you will normally be given a certificate of completion.

This certificate will be filed into court together with the divorce papers.


Divorce papers

In the meantime, the divorce papers will be prepared.

After the papers are filed into court, the court will affix its seal to them.

The divorce papers (including Writ for Divorce) will then be served on your spouse.

Counting from the date that he or she received the papers, your spouse is required to:

-file his or her memorandum of appearance within 8 days; and

-file his or her defence (and counterclaim, where applicable) within 22 days.

If he or she does not file the documents, you can proceed with the case without his or her input.

If your spouse files the documents in time, the court will call the parties' lawyers for a case conference.


Mediation

Often, the parties would go for mediation after that.

Mediation is essentially negotiations with the assistance of a judge.

If mediation is successful, the rest of the case will be "just paper work" and no further "fighting" is required.

If the mediation is not successful and the parties are not able to agree on anything, the court will fix the case for trial.


Trial

At the trial, both sides will get the chance to call their witnesses (including themselves) to prove the facts on which the divorce is based.

If there is insufficient evidence, the divorce application will be dismissed and the parties will remain married.

If there is sufficient evidence of the facts for divorce, the divorce will be granted.


Affidavit of assets and means

After that, the parties will be required to file their affidavits of assets and means.

These are sworn statements listing out:

-the parties' assets and liabilities

-the parties' income and expenses

-the child(ren)'s expenses

-the parties' direct and indirect contributions towards the assets and the household, etc.


Ancillary matters hearing

Once all appropriate evidence has been filed, the court will fix the case for an ancillary matters ("AM") hearing.

At this hearing, the court will hear the parties' lawyers and in the end, decide on issues such as the child(ren)'s custody, care and control and maintenance, spousal maintenance, division of matrimonial assets, etc.

After the usual 3-month waiting period and the outcome of the AM hearing, the final judgment will be granted and the divorce completed.


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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My Spouse and I Are Going To Divorce. Should I Go To Court or Should I Negotiate With My Spouse?

There are many benefits to a negotiated settlement.


Benefits of a settlement

The benefits of a settlement (instead of a court battle) may include:

-lower risk.

You can control the terms that you settle on (since you can decide on what terms to agree to).

If you fight the case, you have no control over the terms that the judge decides.

-(as mentioned above) having more control over the final outcome.

-lower cost.

-finishing in a shorter time.

Usually, a contested divorce will take more time, money and effort than an uncontested (consented) divorce.

-less emotionally draining and less acrimonious.

-a better understanding of each other's perspectives and concerns.

-better and more effective communications between the parties.

We highly recommend that you engage a lawyer to settle the case for you.Otherwise, you may not know what to look out for.

In particular, it is important to note that after you settle the divorce with your spouse, it may be difficult (or even impossible) to vary (or change) the terms later.


Situations where negotiations may not be suitable

Where your spouse is known to show toxic, abusive and/or dangerous behaviour towards you, it may not be safe or suitable to negotiate directly with your spouse.

You should consider reaching out to a professional to assist with the negotiations.

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.


Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

My Spouse Wants A Divorce and He (or She) Refuses to Go for Counseling. How Can I Save My Marriage?

If your spouse wants a divorce and refuses to go for counseling, this means that the situation is serious and you must take immediate action.


What you can do

First of all, you should consider going to a see a counselor on your own.

This may appear strange.We feel this can be a good idea because even if you went alone, the counselor may still be able to help you by:

-introducing an impartial, objective and professional perspective.

-identifying the issues and sources of conflict.

-suggesting ways to resolve them.

Whether or not you see a counselor on your own, you should also take a "time out".

In this context, we mean you should find some quiet time to think and assess the situation.

This should not be when you two are arguing or having a conflict.It should also not be when the two of you have just been arguing.

It is important to have some distance and some time to calm down in order to think properly and calmly review the situation.

Secondly, as you want to save the marriage, you should identify the sources of conflict.

Here, you will usually be in a good position to do so since you are married to your spouse and you often be familiar with his or her likes and dislikes.

Thirdly, you have to decide how to resolve the conflicts.

On this point, the most common situation is:

-The both of you have already argued over these conflicts over and over again. And, that is probably the reason why your spouse wants a divorce.

Because of this, you must face up to the hard truths:

-Your spouse is not willing (or not able) to change his or her stance.

-Worse still, he or she is not willing to attending counseling.

(This means there is no chance of working out the problem with the help of a professional.)

-You must ask yourself:

Are you prepared to give in on this (and other) source(s) of conflict or not?

You should share your conclusions from the above with your counselor before taking any action.

In this way, you can leverage on his or her professional input and maximize your chances of success.

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.


Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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What Conditions Must I Satisfy In Order to Get A Divorce In Singapore?

 If two Chinese nationals, all of a sudden, flew into Singapore and applied to the Singapore court for a divorce, will the court accept their application?

If you thought that the scenario is very strange and unlikely, you are right.

If you also thought that the Singapore court would say, No to the application, you are also right.


Must I be a Singapore citizen?Not necessarily, …

The Singapore court can accept an application for divorce provided:

-at least one of the parties is a Singapore citizen.

In other words, a foreigner can apply for a divorce in Singapore if his or her spouse is a Singapore citizen.

And, of course, a Singapore citizen can always apply for a divorce in Singapore.


Can foreigners apply for a divorce in Singapore?Yes, provided …

Foreigners can apply for a divorce in Singapore provided:

-at least one of the parties has been habitually resident in Singapore for the most recent 3 years leading up to the application for divorce; and/or

-the defendant is a Singapore citizen.


5 basis for divorce

Apart from the above conditions, the court also requires that at least one of the following conditions are satisfied before it will grant a divorce:

-the defendant has committed adultery and the plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the defendant;

-the defendant has behaved in such a way that the plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with the defendant;

-the defendant has deserted the plaintiff for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the writ;

-the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years immediately preceding the filing of the writ and the defendant consents to a judgment being granted;

-the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 4 years immediately preceding the filing of the writ.


Suitable forum

Apart from the above conditions, it is also relevant to note that there can be situations involving foreigners where the marriage and the divorce raise issues which are more closely connected to the foreign country (than to Singapore).

For example, the family could have been in the foreigner's country for many years.(In fact, the family could even still be living abroad when the divorce case is started in Singapore.)

In such a case, even though the other conditions for divorce are satisfied, the defendant may apply to the Singapore court to stop the case here and argue that the applicant should apply for divorce in the foreign country instead.


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

What Can I Do to Help My Child Through My Divorce?

 A divorce is likely to be a challenging and possibly traumatic experience for your child.

It is important to tune in and focus from your child's perspective what he or she is going through.


The experience from child's perspective

Naturally, your child's age and maturity will have a major impact on how he or she sees things.

Your child may feel:

-distress, anxiety, conflicting emotions, conflicting loyalties to the parents and/or stress

-a deep sense of loss, possibly loss of the parents' love, care, loss of the previously stable home

-confusion, anger, sadness, grief and/or even depression

-drawn into the issues between the parents and distracted from school work and other "normal" activities

-disregarded (abandoned and/or neglected) by one or both parents.


What you can do

First of all, you should ensure that you are truly available and accessible to your child.You should be there for your child if and when he or she has any questions or when he or she just want you to be there for him or her.

Being available and accessible is vitally important.This is because your child is likely to reach out to you when he or she feels like it.Even if you reach out to your child, your child may not be ready at that time.Thus, you must be ready if and when your child reaches out to you.

Secondly, do communicate with your child.Find a quiet place and time when the other parent is not around to sit down and have a short conversation.(Be ready in case it becomes a long conversation.)Keep the conversation going as long and as short as the child is comfortable with.

It is fine to address the child's many feelings on different occasions and there is no need to cover everything at one go.

Of course, you should address whatever your child wishes to talk about.

Do:

-assure your child that you love and care for him or her and you will still be there for him or her.

-reassure your child that the divorce was due to the parents being unable to get along and has nothing to do with your child.

-assure your child that you and your spouse will work together to ensure stability for him or her.

-address your child's questions and explain any changes to routine that have resulted from the divorce.

-look out for any signs of depression or other mental abnormalities.

-look out for any symptoms that may be connected to divorce.For example, unexplained pains and aches, reluctance to attendance school, etc.

-show even more care and concern for your child during this trying time.

When in doubt, seek the help of a mental health, medical and/or legal professional.


The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

How Soon After My Divorce Can I Re-Marry?

Sometimes, there are persons who want to (or need to) remarry on an urgent basis.

And they would have heard that in a divorce, the court will grant an interim judgment before the final judgment.

Because of this, they want to know whether they can remarry after getting the interim judgment.

The answer is, No, the final judgment is required.

Once you have the final judgment in hand, you can immediately apply to the Registry of Marriages ("ROM").

(A gentle reminder: You will have to file a notice of marriage at the ROM.)

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.


Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

How Can I "Turn Over a New Leaf" To Try and Save My Marriage?

Sometimes, counseling does not work.

This could be because your spouse adamantly refuses to go for counseling.

This could be because the both of you have tried counseling without success.

Often, in counseling, issues are raised and efforts are made to try to resolve them, etc.

However, sometimes, despite both parties' best efforts, no resolution is achieved.


Turning over a new leaf

The common meaning of turning over a new leaf is to:

-start to act or behave in a better or more responsible way.

However, our meaning is different.

Our meaning is closer to chong2 xin1 zuo4 ren2 which means to

-start a new life; or

-make a fresh start.


The thinking behind chong2 xin1 zuo4 ren2

The thinking is as follows:

-Sometimes, the solution to serious marital problems is not to surface issues, talk about them and agree on how to resolve them.

-Sometimes, both parties already know what the issues are.

-Sometimes, surfacing these issues and talking about them can make things worse.

-One way forward is to give in to the other side -- surrender totally and completely.

By suddenly re-setting the relationship, by instantaneously changing into the perfect spouse, you can send a clear signal to your spouse that you are very serious about saving your marriage.


Good news

The good news is that you are likely to be in a good position to be the perfect spouse to your spouse.

The reasons are:

-You already know what the problems are.

-You already know what he or she likes and dislikes.

-You know exactly how to be the perfect spouse.


The 3 nevers

To be the perfect spouse, there are 3 things you should never do.

You should:

-never argue with your spouse.

(If there is an old issue that you disagree with your spouse about, you must give in to him or her.

Remember:

You are aiming to be the perfect spouse.)

-never nag.

(If there is a new issue that you disagree with your spouse about, you can raise this with your spouse only two times (on separate occasions).After that you must give in to him or her.

Remember:

No nagging

You cannot win any argument with your spouse:

If you lose the argument, you lose.

If you win the argument, you still lose.

And, no nagging.Perfect spouses never nag.)

-never demand or bargain.

(Never say to her: I have been so good; I have been a perfect spouse so you should do this or that.

Remember:

You are aiming to be a perfect spouse to your spouse and perfect spouses do not make demands or bargain like that.)

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.


Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

After My Spouse Has Applied For a Divorce Against Me, How Can I still Reconcile With My Spouse?

f your spouse serves a Writ for Divorce on you, this means that she has taken legal action to apply for a divorce from you.This is a serious matter and you should please read our blog post entitled:

My Spouse Has Filed For Divorce.I Want to Remain Married.What can I Do about It?


How you can try to reconcile with your spouse.

There are at least 2 main ways to try to reconcile with your spouse.

One way is to go for counseling.

The other way is to "turn over a new leaf".

In this blog post, we will talk about counseling.


How counseling can help to save your marriage

By undergoing counseling in good faith, you signal and demonstrate that the marriage is important to you and you are prepared to work to salvage it.

While undergoing counseling,

-both of you can get advice from an impartial and experienced professional on how to move forward.

-both of you will be able to raise issues which may not have been raised before so that all issues can be resolved.

-both of you can unburden whatever emotional load you may have been carrying.

-both of you can undertake trust and bond re-building exercises under the guidance of the counselor.


What if my spouse does not wish to attend counseling?

Even if your spouse does not want to attend any counseling, you should consider attending counseling on your own.This may enable you to get a better insight into the problem areas between you and your spouse.

We can then tactfully inform your spouse that you have started to attend counseling on your own and encourage him or her to attend together with you.

Alternatively, we can propose for your spouse to select his or her own counselor and for him or her to attend on his or her own first.Later, you can attend on your own.If all is goes well and the both of you are comfortable with it, then, both you and your spouse can attend counseling together.

(For how to "turn over a new leaf", please read our blog post entitled:


How Can I "Turn Over a New Leaf" To Try and Save My Marriage?)

The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Call 6535 1800 now for a No Obligation discussion.

Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.

We can help by addressing your questions and speaking about how to move forward.

For a no obligation discussion, call +65 6535 1800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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