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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

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

Once you receive the Writ for Divorce, you have only 8 days to file a document called the Memorandum of Appearance.If you do not this in time, you may not be allowed to take part in the case and the court may make orders against you.


What can you do to remain married?

First of all, you should urgently source for a lawyer.

Once you receive the Writ for Divorce, this means that your spouse has started a legal case against you.

Even Mr Lee Kuan Yew does not fight his own legal cases.He hires a lawyer to handle the case for him.You, too, should engage a lawyer and it is not recommended for you to handle your own case (unless you are a practicing divorce lawyer).

Secondly, you must comply with all court timelines.If you do not do so, you may not be allowed to take part in the case and the court may make orders against you.

As mentioned, after you receive the Writ for Divorce, you have 8 days to file a document called the Memorandum of Appearance.

You also have to file a Defence (and Counterclaim, where appropriate) within 22 days (from the date that you received the Writ for Divorce).

Thirdly, you should consider carefully as to whether there is a future to your marriage.

-If you are sure there is no future to your marriage, you should tell your lawyer to apply for a divorce.

-If you are not sure whether there is no future to your marriage, you should tell your lawyer that you wish to try to reconcile with your spouse.

Fourthly, please read our blog post entitled:


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

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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Can I Get a Divorce in Singapore If I Was Married Overseas?

 The answer is: It depends.

In order to apply for a divorce from the Singapore court, where you were married is not important.


What are the requirement to apply for a divorce from the Singapore court?

In order to apply for a divorce from the Singapore court, the following are some of the conditions that must be satisfied (at the time the application for divorce is made):

-the husband is a Singapore citizen;

-the wife is a Singapore citizen;

-the husband has been habitually resident in Singapore for the 3 years immediately preceding the application; or

-the wife has been habitually resident in Singapore for the 3 years immediately preceding the application.

The key point is that the Singapore court cannot accept the divorce case if (at the time the application for divorce is made):

-both the husband and the wife are not Singapore citizens; and

-both the husband and the wife have not been habitually resident in Singapore for the 3 years immediately preceding the 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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Do I Need the Marriage Certificate In Order to be Divorced? What If It Is With my Spouse? What If I Have Lost It?

Where both parties agree and cooperate, there is no need for the original marriage certificate.

A clear, black and white photocopy of the marriage certificate will be sufficient.

Handphone photos of the marriage certificate may be accepted by the court provided the details in them are clear enough.(When the contents are too blur, the court will reject the handphone photo.)

Even where the parties are not cooperative, often, the marriage is not disputed and there would be no need to produce the original marriage certificate.


What if the only copy of the marriage certificate with your spouse?

If you do not have the original and you also do not have any copy of the marriage certificate, an application can be made for an extract from the Singapore Registry of Marriages (provided your marriage was registered in Singapore).

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 is Separation? Can I Separate From My Spouse While Remaining Under the Same Roof?

Separation is one of the basis on which you can apply for a divorce.

If both parties agree and cooperate, you can get your divorce based on 3 years of separation.

If your spouse is not agreeable, you can get your divorce based on 4 years of separation provided you have sufficient evidence of this.


What is separation?

Separation usually involves living a separate life from your spouse's life.

Naturally, this is often done by living separate and apart from your spouse.

For example, one of you may live in Changi while the other lives in Tuas.Apart from that, you live your own lives with little or no interaction between the two of you.

Thus, you two may carry on your own activities, have your own arrangements for meals, etc.

This is a very clear example.


But can you separate from your spouse while under the same roof?

The answer is, Yes, this is possible.

However, it is important to note that if your spouse later denies that the two of you were separated, you will have to prove the separation and this may be difficult to do if both of you had remained under the same roof.

Because of this, it is not recommended that you rely on separation under the same roof if your spouse may contest the divorce.

Separation while under the same roof essentially involves the same thing as separation while living at separate addresses, meaning the parties live separate lives, apart from each other.

You should:

-have separate sleeping arrangements from your spouse.

-use a separate bathroom / toilet from your spouse (who should also not be using your bathroom / toilet).

-not have a maid cleaning up both parties' rooms.

-not cook, wash or iron clothes and/or do any household chores for your spouse (or have your spouse doing the same for you).

(It would be almost like 2 strangers living out of 2 different bedrooms under one roof.)

We are of the view that in general, separation under the same roof should be similar to separation at different addresses.

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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Will the Judge Interview My Child?

 Even if neither party applied for an interview, the judge may still interview your child.

This is done to assist the court decide what is in the child's best interest.

Often, it is to help the court come to a determination on the care arrangements for the child.


What are the factors the court will consider?

When (and even before) interviewing a child, the court will usually take the following into account:

-Whether the child is mature enough to express his or her own independent view.

-Whether the interview is likely to cause one or both parents to apply pressure on the child.

-Where to conduct the interview, including using a place that would not be intimidating to the child.

-What open questions to raise in order to better understand the child's viewpoint.

-Whether one or both parties have applied for the interview or the child had asked to speak with the judge.

-Whether one or both parties have exhibited a letter from the child and what this said.

-Look out for signs of guilt, conflicting loyalties, alienation from one of the parties, etc., in the child.


What can you do to increase your changes of getting care and control?

Of course, if you are sure that your child will always pick you when the judge asks, you need have no worries about the interview.

However, the harsh reality is that children may often prefer to live with the parent who is not the disciplinarian in the family.

Given this reality, if you are usually the disciplinarian, you will have to consider carefully how to respond to your spouse's application for care and control of your child.

You may wish to perform your usual role less forcefully and, for example, focus instead on being there for your child while he or she studies.


How do you decide what to do?

One way is to do a comprehensive series of visualization exercises:

First of all, brainstorm and identify the main options you have to foster a closer bond with your child.

For example,

-(as mentioned) be there for your child while he or she studies.

-maintain your role as disciplinarian in the family.

-stand down and give your child more room and space to be him or herself.

After that, find a quiet spot and some time to visualize like a film each of the scenarios.Reach out and sense and assess which of the scenarios is more likely to result in a closer bond with your child and pick that approach.

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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The Proposed Parent Plan. What is it?

 When you have children and you apply for a divorce, you may have to file a Proposed Parenting Plan.

What is a proposed parenting plan ("PPP")?

This is a document which you may need to file when filing a divorce that give the court the information needed to understand what you are proposing to do with the children.


Typically, the PPP will include information like:

-the child(ren)'s usual details such as name, birth certificate or other ID number and date of birth.

-what the current care arrangements are for the child(ren), including,

-current address / residence.

-school, schooling hours,

-where and by whom the child(ren) is (are) taken care of before and after school.

-current educational level.

-current financial provision: who (if anyone) is paying maintenance for the child(ren)'s expenses.

-whether and for how long the other party is able to access, visit and/or see the child(ren).

-the proposed arrangement such as any and what changes are proposed to the above.

-the court orders sought in order to put into effect the proposed changes.

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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You Got Evidence that Your Spouse Has Been Sending Sexual Messages to a Third Party. Should You Apply for a Divorce Based on Adultery?

The short answer is, Generally, no. You should consider applying based on "unreasonable behaviour" and "inappropriate association". 

What is adultery? 

Adultery is voluntarily having sexual intercourse including sexual penetration with a third party. 

For the purposes of divorce, this is what the court requires proof of. This is usually very difficult to prove. 

For example, your spouse may explain away sexual messages as "friendly banter" or "joking between normal friends", etc. Unreasonable behaviour However, in order to apply for a divorce, you can also rely on "unreasonable behaviour". The question in "unreasonable behaviour" cases is whether or not your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with your spouse. This is a much easier thing to prove than adultery. 

Furthermore, the court will answer the question subjectively and whether your attitude is reasonable is irrelevant. This makes your case even easier still compared to adultery. Inappropriate association What is inappropriate association? This could be associating with a third party in an inappropriate way. For example, holding hands intimately, kissing, going out to watch movies just the 2 of them, staying at a hotel room just the 2 of them, etc. 

What is important is that there can be "inappropriate association" even if there was not sex. Therefore, generally, you should not apply for a divorce based on adultery and instead, you should consider applying based on "unreasonable behaviour" and "inappropriate association". 

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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Custody Orders: How Many Types are There?

 A custody order 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. - choice of schools, tutors or healthcare. 

- decisions pertaining to religion, education and major healthcare issues 

- relatively few occasions where significant and longer-term decisions need to be made for the child. 


How many types of custody order are there? 

There are at least 4 types of custody orders: 

- Joint custody order. This is by far, the most common type of custody order. This is where both the parents are to make custody decisions together. 

- Sole custody order. This is where one of the parents is the sole decision maker. 

- Hybrid order: This is where the parent with custody must consult the other parent before making any decision. 

- Split custody order: This is where the custody of the children are split up between the parents. 

Both hybrid orders and split custody orders are very rare. Most custody orders are joint custody orders. Only rarely, after a contested case, does the court makes a sole custody order. This is usually where one of the parents have been abusing (or may abuse) the children and/or the parties are unable to make joint decisions for the benefit of the children despite a lot of effort. 

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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Sole Custody & Joint Custody: What is the Difference?

Many people confuse custody of children with care and control. Thus, when they mean that they want the children to live with them after the divorce, they say that they want sole custody of the children. This is not correct.

What the court has said 

The court has said: a "custody order" only gives the parent the residual right to decide on long-term matters affecting the child's welfare. For instance, the right to decide on the type of education resides with the parent(s) with custody as it concerns the more important and long-term aspects of a child's upbringing. The right to decide the particular school may also reside with the custodian(s) depending on the importance of this decision to the child's education. However, the right to decide how a child should dress or travel to school, what sport he should take up or musical instrument he should play and similar ordinary day-to-day matters, resides with the parent who has care and control. Such a demarcation between the two types of orders proposed by Dickey is generally consistent with our local jurisprudence where matters such as choice of schools, tutors or healthcare have been regarded as matters for the custodian(s) to decide .

Adopting this narrow definition of "custody", it appears that there will be relatively few occasions where significant and longer-term decisions need to be made for the child. Hence, parties will seldom need to come together to make a joint decision even if joint or no custody orders were granted. We should add that it is an almost impossible task for us to lay down an exhaustive list of matters which will fall under the concept of residual custody. The line is not always clear as to what matters would be considered the important and longer-term decisions concerning the upbringing and welfare of a child. It suffices to say that decisions pertaining to religion, education and major healthcare issues would fall into such a category. (CX v CY [2005] 3 SLR(R) 690) 

Care & control 

Thus, 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. 

- how a child should dress or travel to school. 

- what sport a child should take up. 

- what musical instrument a child should play. 


Thus, naturally, 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. - choice of schools, tutors or healthcare.

- decisions pertaining to religion, education and major healthcare issues 

- relatively few occasions where significant and longer-term decisions need to be made for the child. 


Sole custody & joint custody 

Accordingly, sole custody will enable one party to make custody decisions on his or her own. Joint custody means both parties have to agree on custody decisions before proceeding. 


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. or


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Pre-Nuptial Agreements: What Are They & Do They Work?

Pre-Nuptial agreements are agreements between persons who are about to get married.

These agreements often try to provide for, in the case of a divorce, how the parties assets are to be divided, how much maintenance is to be paid, what the arrangements will be for the children (if any), etc.


Do they work?

As all good lawyers will say, It depends.

First of all, pre-nuptial agreements are not treated like normal, arm-length commercial transactions between strangers.

Instead, when the parties are divorcing, the court will consider all the circumstances of the couple's case when deciding whether or not to uphold a pre-nuptial agreement (or which parts of the agreement).

The fact that the parties had entered into an agreement that they made in contemplation of divorce is only one of the factors for the court to take into consideration. Indeed, a pre-nuptial agreement cannot be enforced, in and of itself. ln a sense, pre-nuptial agreements work when the court upholds them. And they fail when the court refuses to uphold them. Instead, the court may decide on something different from what they had agreed to in the pre-nuptial agreement.

For example, the court may divide the couple's matrimonial assets differently from what they had agreed to in their pre-nuptial agreement.


What are the factors that make a pre-nuptial agreement more likely to be upheld?


The following factors usually make a pre-nuptial agreement more likely to be upheld:


- The agreement is a formal agreement in writing.

- The parties signed it before a witness.

- The parties signed it in the form of a deed.

- Both the parties had the benefit of legal advice before signing the agreement.

- The agreement benefited both parties (not just one party).

- The agreement was not made under any threats.

- The agreement does not disadvantage one party.

- The parties played active roles in negotiating the terms. (That is, the agreement was the result of active negotiation by both parties. Its terms were not dictated by one party to the other party.)

- The terms of the agreement are fair to both parties.


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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PPO (Personal Protection Order): What Happens After the Summons is Issued?

The court may grant you a PPO if there is sufficient evidence that:

- "family violence" has been committed (or is likely to be committed) against a family member; and

- that it is necessary for the protection of the family member.

After you file an application for PPO, the court will issue a summons against the Respondent (the person said to have committed (or is likely to commit) family violence).


Summons

The summons will expressly state the date and time for the first mention of the PPO case in Family Court No. 1 of the Family Justice Courts.

You (the Complainant) and also the Respondent are required to attend the first mention date.


Service of summons

After the summons is issued, the court's process server will try to deliver the summons to the Respondent (personal service) at that address that you have given in your application.

This is so that the Respondent is notified of the application and also the first mention date.



First mention date

On the first mention date, you and the Respondent should attend punctually at Family Court No. 1 of the Family Justice Courts. If you fail to turn up, your application is likely to be struck out. If the Respondent fails to turn up, a warrant of arrest will be issued against him or her.

At the first mention date, the court officer will ensure that the Respondent is made aware of the contents of your complaint.

If the Respondent admits to your complaint and consents to your application and the court is satisfied, the court will issue a PPO.

If the Respondent does not admit to your complaint or refuses to consent to your application, the court may direct you and the Respondent to attend before the court family specialist for mediation. (Depending on the availability of time slots, this mediation session may or may not take place on the same day as the first mention date.)

After the mediation session, the parties will appear before the Judge again.

Again, if the Respondent admits to your complaint and consents to your application and the court is satisfied, the court will issue a PPO.

But, if the Respondent does not admit to your complaint or refuses to consent to your application, the court will give directions for the parties to prepare for the hearing of the case.



Preparation for hearing

To prepare for the hearing, the court will usually:

- ask the Respondent whether or not he or she wishes to engage a lawyer.

- ask you and the Respondent how many witnesses each of you wish to call for the hearing of the case.

- give directions for the parties to prepare their statements, their witnesses' statements (if any) and other documents.



Further mention date(s)

The court will also direct that the parties' statements, their witnesses' statements (if any) and other documents be filed and exchanged at a subsequent further mention date(s).

These further mention dates often lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes.



Hearing date(s)

Once the court has determined that all the parties' documents are in order and the parties are ready for hearing, the court will fix a hearing date or hearing dates.

The hearing date will usually be fixed about 4 weeks from the last mention date.

The timing is often at 9.30am, 11.15am, 2.30pm or 4.15pm.


Depending on the complexity of the case, the number of witnesses, etc., the court may allocate a quarter day or a half day or a full day or more days of hearing.



Hearing

On the hearing date(s), the parties should attend punctually together with their witnesses and extra copies of the relevant documents.

Before that, the parties should request the court for an interpreter if either of the parties or any of the witnesses require one.

The hearing will be held in camera. This means that (unless the court directs otherwise) only the parties can remain in the court room when evidence is being given.

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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How Do You Apply for a PPO (Personal Protection Order)?

The court may grant you a PPO if there is sufficient evidence that:


- "family violence" has been committed (or is likely to be committed) against a family member; and

- that it is necessary for the protection of the family member.


Who can apply

You can apply for a PPO for yourself and/or your minor children if:

- you are above 21 years of age; or

- you are below 21 years of age but you are married (or you have been married before).



If you are incapacitated, your guardian, your relative or the person responsible for your care may apply for you.

Who can you apply against

You can apply for a PPO against:


- your spouse or ex-spouse.

- your own children, including your adopted children or stepchildren.

- your parents.

- your parents-in-law.

- your siblings.

- any other relative whom the Court regards as a member of your family.



Where can you go to apply for a PPO?


You can go to:

A. Family Violence Specialist Centres ('FVSC')

- Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence (PAVe)
Blk 211 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 #01-1446
Singapore 560211
Tel: 6555 0390


- TRANS SAFE Centre
Blk 410 Bedok North Avenue 2 #01-58
Singapore 460410
Tel: 6449 9088


- Care Corner Project StART
Blk 7A Commonwealth Ave #01-672
Singapore 141007
Tel: 64761482


B. Family Justice Courts ('FJC').


- The Family Protection Centre ('FPC')
Family Justice Courts, Level 1
3 Havelock Square
Singapore 059725


What happens when you get to the FPC or the FVSC?


After you get to the FPC or the FVSC, a Court Family Specialist may attend to you and brief you on information regarding your safety that you may need.

After that, you will be brought before a Judge who will consider your application and who may ask you questions about the application.

You will have to swear or affirm that your application and your answers to the Judge are all true and correct.

If your application is in order, you will have to pay S$1.00 and a summons will be issued.

If you have questions about how to apply for a PPO, who do you call?

If you have questions, you can call: 6435 5077 which is available:

Monday to Thursday from 8.30am to 6pm,
Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm

or you can email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 Husband Kept Threatening (or Harassing) Me but He Never Touched Me. Can I apply for a PPO (Personal Protection Order)?

Quite a lot of people are aware that they can apply for a PPO (Personal Protection Order) if their spouse beat them up.

However, can you apply for a PPO if your spouse only keeps threatening (or harassing) you?

What if he or she never touches you?


Women's Charter

The Women's Charter says the court may issue a PPO if there is sufficient evidence that:


- "family violence" has been committed (or is likely to be committed) against a family member; and

- that it is necessary for the protection of the family member.


The Women's Charter also says:

"hurt" means bodily pain, disease or infirmity; and

"family violence" means the commission of any of the following acts:


(a) wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, a family member in fear of hurt;

(b) causing hurt to a family member by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in hurt;

(c) wrongfully confining or restraining a family member against his will; or

(d) causing continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member,

but does not include any force lawfully used in self-defence, or by way of correction towards a child below 21 years of age;


Family Violence

This means that depending on the circumstances, "family violence" can include:


- your spouse putting you in fear of bodily pain.

- (or your spouse trying to put you in fear of bodily pain.)

- confining or restraining you against your will.

- continual harassment.

No contact


Thus, even if there was no contact between your spouse and yourself, as long as he or she wilfully or knowingly place (or attempt to place) you in fear of bodily pain, you can apply for a PPO.

Similarly, if your spouse causes continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to you, you can also apply for a PPO, even if your spouse never touched you.

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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What Does a Consent Divorce (a.k.a. Uncontested Divorce) Involve?

 A consent divorce is usually where:

- both parties agree on all the terms of the divorce and

- cooperate fully throughout the divorce process.


This is also known as an uncontested divorce.

(This is different from cases where the parties do not agree which are known as contested divorces cases.)

Broad overview of a consent divorce

Often, the parties would have also agreed on all the terms of the divorce.

In that case, the cheapest, fastest and most effective process will be via Simplified Divorce Proceedings.


In Simplified Divorce Proceedings,

- both parties sign the appropriate documents in front of a professional witness (a Commissioner for Oaths).

- the signed documents are filed into court.

- the court fixes a hearing date.

- on the hearing date, the judge will access the court file and go through the application for divorce and the supporting documents. Usually, both the parties do not need to attend court. If all the papers are in order, the judge will grant the Interim Judgment.

- then, the applying party's lawyers (ie, the Plaintiff's lawyers) will apply for the sealed copy of the Interim Judgment.

- after 3 months has passed from the date of the Interim Judgment, the Plaintiff's lawyers will apply for the sealed copy of the Final Judgment.

- usually, at the end of the process, each of the parties will get a copy of the Interim Judgment and the Final Judgment.


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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Your Spouse Agrees to Divorce. Can You Divorce Without Saying Any Bad Things About Him or Her?

 In Singapore, there is no such thing as a divorce for no reason.

Even if both parties agree and cooperate fully from beginning to the end of the divorce case, there must be a reason (or a ground or a basis) for the divorce

Not only that, the reason for the divorce must be one of the following:


- 3-year separation and the other side agrees to the divorce.

- 4-year separation.

- unreasonable behaviour.

- adultery.

- 2-year desertion. (This means abandoning the home and refusing to come home for at least 2 years.)


One is enough 

One of the reasons is good enough.

This means that you do not need to satisfy all the 5 conditions mentioned above. In fact, you do not need to even satisfy 2 of the conditions. However, you must satisfy at least one of the conditions. If you do not satisfy any of the 5 conditions, you cannot get a divorce even if both sides agree and cooperate throughout the divorce case.


Separation

If you and your spouse have lived separately and apart from each other
for at least 3 years and your spouse agrees to the divorce, you can
apply without having to say bad things about each other.


Unreasonable behaviour

However, many couples who have not separated for at least 3 years and who wish to apply for their divorce straightaway (and not delay anymore) would apply based on "unreasonable behaviour". For "unreasonable behaviour", in order to get the divorce, the applicant has to fulfill the legal requirement that the spouse has behaved in such a way that the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to live with the spouse.

Essentially, this will involve the applicant saying "bad things" about the spouse's behaviour.

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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How Should You Go About Choosing a Divorce Lawyer?

Divorce proceedings can be very stressful and the lawyer you choose can make a big difference to the process as well as the outcome.

How should you go about choosing a divorce lawyer?

What should you look out for?

What to look out for

When choosing your lawyer, look out for whether or not he (or she):

  • listens to you, your questions, your concerns and your fears and where appropriate, provide reassurances.
  • answers your questions, gives you sufficient background to understand the situation. For example, even if both parties agree and cooperate in the divorce, the court has its own conditions that must be satisfied before it will grant the divorce. What are these conditions and do you satisfy them? Were these questions raised and answered?
  • encourage you to ask questions.
  • empathize with your situation.
  • tell you about potential problems even before you engage him or her. For example, does he or she tell you that you do not qualify for an annulment. Does he or she tell you what you need to look out for in order to succeed?
  • is patient with you. When you do not understand, does he or she repeat or explain in another way?
  • tries to do what is best for you even if by doing so, he or she earns less money. For example, does he or she put in genuine effort to try to resolve your case amicably (if possible) or does he or she fight all the way without trying to resolve the case?


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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In a Divorce, How Does the Court Divide the Matrimonial Assets?

In a divorce, often, an important question is how the matrimonial assets are divided between the parties.

How exactly does the court go about deciding how to divide the matrimonial assets?

Broad brush approach

The court will adopt a broad brush approach. This means that the court will not spend a lot of time trying to find out exactly how much was spent by each of the parties over the years of their marriage.

Structured approach

Instead, the court will adopt the structured approach.

Under this approach, the judge will:

- identify all the matrimonial assets (not only properties and bank accounts in joint names) and deduct all liabilities to get the net value.

- identify each party's direct financial contributions towards the acquisition or improvement of the matrimonial assets. (Examples of direct financial contributions include paying for the housing loan using cash and/or CPF funds.)

- determine the ratio of direct contributions between the parties.

- identify each party's indirect contributions (both financial and non-financial indirect contributions) towards the acquisition or improvement of the matrimonial assets. (Examples of indirect financial contributions include paying for the household expenses, etc. Examples of indirect non-financial contributions include taking care of the children, washing the toilet bowl, mopping the floor, sending the children to and from school, reading them to bed, etc.)

- determine the ratio of indirect contributions between the parties.

- take the average (or some other weightage, depending on the circumstances) of the two ratios to arrive at a final ratio.

The judge may give more or less weight to each type of contribution depending on the circumstances of the case. He (or she) may also adjust the final ratio to achieve a just and equitable outcome.

An example

For example, even if the husband came up with 100% of direct financial contributions and the wife came up with 0%, if the husband and the wife were then found to have put in equal indirect contributions: 50% : 50%, then the average of these 2 ratios would yield a result of 75% of the net value to the husband and 25% to the wife.

Length of marriage

It should also be note that:

- for short marriages (3 years and less), the courts have given almost all the weight to the parties' ratio of direct contributions and given little or no weight to the parties' ratio of indirect contributions.

- for long marriages (30 years and above), the courts have given significantly less weight to the parties' direct contributions and much more weight to the parties' ratio of indirect contributions.

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In a Divorce, the Court will Divide the Matrimonial Assets. What are Considered Matrimonial Assets?

In a divorce, often, an important question is how the matrimonial assets are divided between the parties.

What exactly are the matrimonial assets? Are they limited to just the matrimonial home that is in both parties' names? Or, are they limited to the matrimonial home, regardless of whether owned by both parties or just one of the parties? Do matrimonial assets extend beyond the matrimonial home? Do they include funds in one parties' bank account that he or she had worked for on his or her own?


Women's Charter, Section 112(10)

In Singapore, the words, "matrimonial assets" are defined in Section 112(10) of the Women's Charter.


Matrimonial assets include:

- any asset acquired during the marriage by one party or both parties to the marriage,

- any asset acquired before the marriage by one party or both parties to the marriage that is:

* ordinarily used or enjoyed by both parties or one or more of their children while the parties are residing together for shelter or transportation or for household, education, recreational, social or aesthetic purposes; or

* which has been substantially improved during the marriage by the other party or by both parties to the marriage


- includes any asset that has been acquired by one party at any time by gift or inheritance and that has been substantially improved during the marriage by the other party or by both parties to the marriage.



Matrimonial assets do not include:

- any asset (not being a matrimonial home) that has been acquired by one party at any time by gift or inheritance and that has not been substantially improved during the marriage by the other party or by both parties to the marriage.

Any asset acquired during the marriage by one party

Matrimonial assets include the funds in one parties' bank account that he or she had worked for on his or her own during the marriage.

Matrimonial assets are not limited to the matrimonial home.



Call us 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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If You Are an Expat in Singapore, Can You Apply For a Divorce Here?

If 2 Singaporeans who are married to each other and later agree and cooperate to divorce, of course, they can apply for a divorce in Singapore -- even if they were married abroad.


One Singaporean and the other Expat: Can they apply for a divorce in Singapore?

But, what if one of them is not a Singaporean citizen, can they still apply for a divorce in Singapore?

The short answer is: Yes, they can.

The Singapore court can accept the case provided at least one of the parties is a Singapore citizen.

What if neither are Singaporean citizens or both are Expats:  

Can they apply for a divorce in Singapore?

The law says that a couple can apply to divorce in Singapore provided:

- at least one of them is a Singapore citizen; or

- at least one of them has been habitually resident in Singapore for the
most recent 3 years leading up to the divorce application.

In other words, if neither of the couple is a Singapore citizen and neither of them has been habitually resident in Singapore for the most recent 3 years, then the couple cannot apply to divorce in Singapore.



Call us 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

What Can You Do To Find Out About Your Spouse's Assets?

Sometimes, during the marriage, your spouse may not tell you anything about his or her assets.

In such a situation, how can you get the court to divide the matrimonial assets fairly if you not know what assets your spouse has?


Discovery & Interrogatories

You can apply to court for discovery and interrogatories.

In discovery, the judge may order your spouse to produce documents that are relevant to the case. These may include:


- both parties' IRAS Notices of Assessment for three years.

- both parties' pay slips for six months.

- both parties' bank statements for three months.


In interrogatories, the judge may order your spouse to give answer to
specific questions.



What if Your Spouse Does Not Give Discovery or Interrogatories?

Unfortunately, if your spouse ignores the court order to produce documents or to give answers, the court will not order your spouse's bank or his employer or the Inland Revenue Authority to produce the documents and give the answers.

Instead, the court has the power to draw an adverse inference against your spouse.

This means that the court can assume that your spouse has more assets than he or she has declared (even if you are not able to prove what assets he or she has).


Call us 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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