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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

Does an ex-wife really get half the man's money?

Of the people who've advised me to just marry a rich man instead of slave away to earn money, there have been close friends, superiors at work and even complete strangers here in sunny Singapore. At least half have concluded with a triumphant, "even better, get a divorce and take half his money!"

Fortunately or unfortunately, while maintenance payments are often made out to ex-wives, it's a myth that divorce automatically entitles her to half the ex-husband's money.

LEGAL REASONS FOR PAYING MAINTENANCE AFTER DIVORCE

If you're planning to serve divorce papers on a soon-to-be-ex spouse, it's important to know why maintenance is even ordered. The court isn't going to just order one party to pay the other because he cheated or stopped putting in effort after 10 years.

In addition, you have to bear in mind that the court often orders division of property as well, which will affect the amount of maintenance that must be paid.

There are two reasons maintenance is ordered:

1. Child maintenance:

One of the biggest decisions the court will be making is which parent gets custody, as well as care and control of the child. Once it is decided who the child will live with, the court can order any or both of the parents to pay maintenance for the child. The parent who has custody, care and control of the child can also receive maintenance from the remaining parent. This maintenance is usually payable only until the child turns 21.

2. Maintenance for ex-wife:

This is the kind of maintenance people tend to find the most interesting, and the most scandalous. The idea is that the court will try to let the ex-wife enjoy the same standard of living as they would have if their marriage hadn't flopped. This is usually supposed to continue till one of them dies, or the wife remarries. In practice, the actual amount tends to be lower than people imagine.

SO HOW MUCH DOES AN EX-WIFE USUALLY GET AFTER DIVORCE?

Nadia, a lawyer at Kalco Law who handles divorce matters, says the ways in which assets are divided and orders to pay maintenance are made can differ wildly depending on the circumstances of the marriage.

However, guys can rest assured that in practice, it is highly unlikely the court will order the husband to divide half his assets AND pay half his salary to the wife for the rest of his life in a divorce in Singapore.

Nadia says, "The division of assets (including the HDB flat) depends on each party's contribution to the assets over the course of the marriage. The contribution can also be non-monetary e.g. tending to household chores. However, if there is little or no contribution by the wife to a short-term and childless marriage, then the chances of her obtaining a share of the assets are slim."

Many factors are considered when deciding on the amount to be paid, and it is quite difficult to predict beforehand exactly how much one will get. Some of the factors the judge will consider include:

Financial standing and earning capacity of both parties: A very wealth ex-husband is likely to pay more in maintenance to his ex-wife than a very poor one, all other factors being equal. Conversely, a very wealthy ex-wife with a high paying career is likely to get less than a housewife without higher educational qualifications, all other factors being equal.

Standard of living enjoyed by both parties during the marriage: If you lived a very modest lifestyle when you were married, don't expect to transform into Cinderella after finding her glass slipper once you're divorced.

Ages of the parties: If the ex-wife is older, the court is more likely to order higher maintenance payments.

Duration of the marriage: If you've only been married for a year, don't expect to get much, if anything at all, especially if no kids are involved. Nadia says, "The longer the marriage, the higher the chances of the ex-wife obtaining a higher share of the matrimonial assets. This is because more often than not, an individual's contribution (direct or indirect, financial or non-financial) is greater the longer the marriage."'

Contributions made to the family: Generally, the more a party has contributed to the family, the more favourably the court will look upon them. Contributions can include paying for the family home and looking after the children.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET NOTHING?

The short answer is that yes, in some instances an ex-wife can get nothing in a divorce in Singapore.

"If the marriage was a short and childless one and/or she is more than able to support herself on her monthly income, it is possible for the ex-wife to get no maintenance," Nadia says.

Husbands can forget about claiming maintenance even if they marry the richest woman on the island, as Singapore law does not allow it. Sorry, guys.

So the next time you hear someone talking about marrying rich men, you have another reason to shut them up.

This article was first published in Money Smart.SG

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

Singaporean millennials are divorcing less, but why?

Since 1980, the divorce rate in Singapore has roughly doubled from 3.8 per 1,000 married resident males (or 3.8 per 1,000 married resident females) to 6.9 per 1,000 married resident males in 2017 (or 6.5 per 1,000 married resident females). This trend isn't limited to Singapore: studies have shown that divorce rates have doubled globally between 1970 and 2008.

One of the biggest contributors to this change was culture, where individual happiness became more important than "traditional" values. As such, the stigma around the separation of spouses became less commonplace, especially when the marriage is clearly not working out for either party.


Divorce Rates Declining for Younger Couples, but Increasing for Older Ones

After hitting its peak in 2007, the divorce rate in Singapore has been steadily declining. Interestingly, a huge driving force behind this trend was millennials. In contrast to older generations, younger couples have been getting divorced a lot less than they were in 2007.

For example, the divorce rate of males aged between 20 to 34 has declined by 20-30% from 2007 to 2017. It has also declined similarly for females in the same age group, though to a less extent for the youngest group in the 20-24 years of age.


Millennials Are Marrying Later

One of the reasons why millennials are divorcing less might be because they are taking more time to get married, as shown in the chart below. In other words, millennials taking more time to get married could be helping them be more cautious and selective in picking their partners (and sometimes even cohabiting before marriage), ultimately leading to more stable unions.

On the flipside, it could also mean that they are able to have more stable marriages because they have more time to prepare themselves for it, financially, emotionally or in any other ways.


Financial Burdens of Marriage and Being Single

Last on our list of potential reasons why millennials are divorcing less is the rising financial burdens of separation. First, weddings themselves have gotten very expensive, costing about S$40,000 on average.

The rising cost of living and wedding means that millennials may need to wait longer to get married (as we explored above), and economic scale advantages of a married couple may produce additional incentive to stay together.


But, Singaporean Millennials Are Still Divorcing More Than Their Parents

One big caveat of our findings is that millennials are still divorcing more than their parents. For example, the divorce rate of those aged 45 or more, though rising, remain below 10 divorces per 1,000 married residents, at least 40% lower than that of millennials.

Still, that divorce rate for younger couples has declined so dramatically is indeed a positive sign. No matter how bad the marriage had been, resetting your life after separating from your spouse can bring a lot of upheavals in your life.

Divorces can also be financially painful, with uncontested divorce costing about S$2,500 to contested ones costing about S$24,000 in Singapore. That more and more millennials are avoiding this emotionally and financially costly mistake sounds like a good reason to celebrate.

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

YOU OR YOUR SPOUSE CAN OPERATE THE JOINT ACCOUNT. YOUR MARRIAGE IS NOT STABLE. WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

Introduction

  • Every month, you put all your salary into a joint account with your spouse. Either one of you can go to the bank & draw out the money. But recently, your relationship has soured. What should you do?
  • Singapore Divorce Lawyer Recommends the following:
You should see a lawyer ASAP
  • We recommend you call Lam & Co. as soon as you can at 6535 1800.
  • We have come across such situations and we are able to help you.
Who does the money belong to?
  • Unfortunately, the law on this (as to who the funds in a joint bank account belong to) is less clear that the law on joint tenancy of property.
  • (For joint tenancy of property, it is clear that if one party passes away, the survivor becomes the owner of the deceased's half.)
  • This will depend on the evidence, including:
    • whether there was any express agreement (whether in writing or verbal) between you and your spouse.
    • whether there was any implied agreement between the two of you.
    • the prior conduct of the both of you, for example, the funds were used:
    • only for family purposes.
    • also for purely personal things such as a computer game for one of you only.
    • whether both parties knew of the way of the funds were used.
Possible Option
  • One possible option is for you to check with your lawyer and then
    • withdraw all the money by way of funds transfer into your sole account
    • and then have your lawyer notify your spouse and
    • offer to place the all the money into a new joint account that can only be operated with both parties' approval.
  • However, before proceeding with this option, it is important you check with us first so we can understand your particular situation thoroughly before proceeding.

If you have any questions, please call us at 6535 1800.
About Lam & Co.
Here, we seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method(developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.
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WILL THE COURT ORDER AN ADVERTISEMENT TO TRY TO FIND THE NATURAL FATHER? ADOPTION LAWYER: IT DEPENDS

If you wish to adopt a child and the Natural Father cannot be found, the Court may order you (and your spouse) to place an advertisement in order to try to locate the Natural Father.

In what situations is the Court more likely to order an advertisement?

In what situations is the Court less likely to do so?

It is best to consider a few possible situations:

If the Natural Father did not know about the pregnancy, the Court is likely to want the Natural Father's input before deciding on whether or not to grant the Adoption. So, in this situation, the Court is likely to order that an advertisement be placed.

If the Natural Father knew about the pregnancy and the delivery of the child but the Natural Mother moved away without any forwarding contact, the Court is likely to order advertising.

If the Natural Father knew about the pregnancy, the delivery of the child and how to contact the Natural Mother but the Natural Father decided to have nothing to do with the child and also advertising would not be effective in bringing the Adoption proceedings to the Natural Father's notice, the Court is likely to say there is no need to advertise.

The Court will also consider:
details of your (and your spouse's) last contact with the Natural Father such as the date of last contact, mode of contact, whether a face to face meeting, correspondence via letter, email, SMS or WhatsApp, etc, speaking over the phone, etc, and the contents of such communication;

what attempts you (and your spouse) have made to try to located the Natural Father, whether directly, or through his relatives, friends and/or employers;
details of what is known of the Natural Father's relatives, friends and/or employers, such as their names, addresses and how they are connected to the Natural Father; the Natural Father's nationality; and whether advertising would be effective in bringing the Adoption proceedings to the Natural Father's notice.

If you have any questions, please call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.


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

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

MY FRIENDS SAY THEIR DIVORCE TOOK 3 MONTHS? IS THIS CORRECT? SINGAPORE DIVORCE LAWYER: PROBABLY NOT

 All your friends tell you that their divorce took them only 3 months.

Is this correct?
The truth is:

  • probably not.
The accurate picture is as follows:
  • The Women's Charter does not allow the Court to immediately grant you a Final Judgment for Divorce.
  • It requires the Court to initially ("in the first instance") issue you with an Interim Judgment.
  • Not only that, the Women's Charter also prohibits the Court from granting you the Final Judgment "before the expiration of 3 months" from the date of the Interim Judgment unless the Court fixes a shorter time period. In other words, the Court can grant you the Final Judgment only 3 months after the Interim Judgment -- unless there are sufficient reasons for the Court to fix a shorter time period.
  • Sufficient reasons for the Court to fix a time period shorter than 3 months include:
  • the wife is pregnant with a third party's child and they are in a hurry for the divorce to be completed in order get married before the child is born; or
  • a third party is pregnant with the husband' child and they are in a hurry for the divorce to be completed in order get married before the child is born.
  • Based on the above reasons, Lam & Co. has managed, in the appropriate cases, to persuade the Court to reduce the 3 month period to just a week or a month.
  • The following is unlikely to be a sufficient reason for the Court to fix a significantly shorter time period:
  • you and your spouse have already separated for more than 3 years (or more) and there is no likelihood of reconciliation and so, there is no reason to wait.
For an expert opinion on your chances of reducing the waiting period to below 3 months, call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.

About Lam & Co.
We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method(developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.
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Q: CAN I DIVORCE AFTER 3 YRS SEPARATE ROOMS; UNDER ONE ROOF? A: SINGAPORE DIVORCE LAWYER: IT DEPENDS

Under the Women's Charter, you can divorce based on the fact that:

This is commonly referred to as "3 year separation".
Of course, if the two of you decided to separate and then lived separate and apart from each other, one in China and the other in Germany, in that case, clearly, there is "3 year separation".
Similarly, it there is clearly "3 year separation" if one of you lived in Changi and the other in Tuas.
However, what if the two of you only maintained separate rooms under one roof? Is that enough to satisfy the Court's requirements?

The answer is:

  • It depends.
In order to satisfy the Court's requirements for "3 year separation", it is generally not enough for the two of you to merely have separate rooms under one roof and no intimacy for 3 years while all the time carrying on as before, still acting like husband and wife, for example, still having one of you preparing meals for the family, including the spouse; still having one of you wash the clothes, including the spouse's clothes; and still having one of you clean up after the spouse (or still having the maid to clean up after the both of you), etc. In other words, if the ONLY change is separate rooms and no intimacy, that is unlikely to be enough if you two otherwise continued to live together like husband and wife.
It is vital for "3 year separation" that you two have "lived apart" for those 3 years.
For more details on what is acceptable to the Court in order to constitute "3 year separation", call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.

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

APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY & APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

Before 1 March 2010, if your relative were become mentally incapable of taking care of his (or her) own affairs, you would apply for the Appointment of a Committee. 

From 1 March 2010 onward, in such a situation, you would apply for the Appointment of a Deputy.
Although there are some similarities between these two processes, there are a lot more differences and these differences are significant.
The differences include the following:

  • Before, there was no public authority specifically put in charge of supervising Committees appointed for mentally incapable persons. Now, the Office of the Public Guardian has been set up, among other things, to supervise Deputies and also to deal with complaints about how a Deputy is exercising his (or her) powers.
  • Before, there was no need for the Committee to report to anyone. Now, every Deputy must file an annual report with the Office of Public Guardian.
  • Before, the Court would usually grant very broad powers to the Committee so that the Committee would never have to go back to the Court. Now, the Court will grant the minimum powers required and later, if there is any need for further powers, the Deputy is expected to apply to Court again at a subsequent date.
  • (For example, it is now fairly common for the Court to grant the power to rent out the Patient's HDB flat. Later, if there is a need to sell the HDB flat for the benefit of the Patient, only subsequently, when the Deputy is able to justify this need for this, would the Court grant the power to sell the Patient's HDB flat.)
  • Now, there has been a change in definition of mental incapacity to whether a person is able to make decisions for himself.
  • Now, a form has prescribed to be used as the basis for the Medical Report from the doctor on the Patient's mental condition.

Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800 for any issues on Appointment of Deputy.

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

SINGAPORE ADOPTION LAWYER: HOME STUDY REPORT, WHAT IS IT, HOW MUCH IS IT, WHAT GOES INTO IT

When am I required to get a Home Study Report prepared?
You are required to do so if you wish to adopt a foreign-born child or if you wish to adopt a child from the MSF (Ministry of Social & Family Development) Fostering Scheme.

Should I get a Home Study Report done before or after I start looking for the child that I wish to adopt?
You should get the Home Study Report done before you start looking. You need a favourable Home Study Report before you are allowed to agree to adopt any child from any agency or individual or to start any application to Court for legal adoption.

What is a Home Study Report?
A Home Study Report is a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the adoption and your family circumstances, including an assessment as to whether you and your spouse are allowed by law and also ready to adopt a child.

Who is able to prepare the Home Study Report?
Only professional social service staff from voluntary welfare organizations that have been accredited by the MSF can prepare Home Study Reports.

How much does it cost for a Home Study Report to be prepared?
It usually costs S$1,500/- but this may change from time to time and it is best to check with the relevant voluntary welfare organization.

What is the validity period of a Home Study Report?
Two years. After that, you will have to apply for a fresh Home Study Report.

What usually goes into a Home Study Report?
Usually, a Home Study Report will include, among other items, the adoptive parents' particulars, a list of the official contacts between the Assessor (who prepared the report) and the adoptive parents, who requested the preparation of the report (usually this will be the adoptive parents), the adoptive parents' motivation for adopting, their detailed background information, including their personality, general appearance, family background, education and employment history, marital relationship, religious beliefs, health condition, finances, their home and its neighbourhood, the results of background checks on them, their (character) references and their parenting skills and attitudes.

If you have any further questions, please call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.


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

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Q: WHAT IS UNREASONABLE BEHAVIOUR? WHAT ISN'T? A: DIRECT FROM A SINGAPORE DIVORCE LAWYER

 If you have been married for more than 3 years and you now wish to divorce your spouse, Unreasonable Behaviour is one of the facts that can support your application. But what is Unreasonable Behaviour?

First of all, the Women's Charter says:

In the context of divorce, the following behaviour is not Unreasonable Behaviour:
  • pure incompatibility in characters. This means that if the only issue in your marriage is that your character and your spouse's character are not compatible, this will not be accepted. Ie, you did nothing wrong and your spouse did nothing wrong and you two cannot get along simply because your characters are different -- this will not work. This is not the type of Unresaonable Behaviour that the Court can accept.
  • pure incompatibility in lifestyles. The above also applies to different lifestyles. If the only issue in your marriage is that your character and your spouse's lifestyles are not compatible, this will not be accepted. Again, you did nothing wrong and your spouse did nothing wrong and you two cannot get along simply because your characters are different -- this will not work.
Some examples will make the situation even clearer.
For example, you and your spouse are at home and the both of you do not wish to speak to each other. By itself, this is not Unreasonable Behaviour.
Another example, you ask your spouse how his (or her) day was and he (or she) ignores you and does not reply. A pattern of such behaviour can be Unreasonable Behaviour.
For example, you and your spouse are both not interested in being intimate with each other. Again, by itself, this is not Unreasonable Behaviour.
Another example would be where you keep approaching your spouse with the intention of being intimate but each time, your spouse gives the same excuse, I have a headache, I have a headache. This can be Unreasonable Behaviour.

Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800 for any further information you need on Unreasonable Behaviour.

About Lam & Co.
We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method(developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.
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APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY: I ALREADY GOT THE MEDICAL REPORT FROM THE DOCTOR. CAN THE COURT REJECT IT?

Let's say your relative is suffering from dementia and you have already gotten the doctor to prepare the Medical Report even before you went to see Lam & Co. (that is, before we are able to provide any guidance). 

Can the Court reject the Medical Report?
The short and sharp answer is:

  • Yes, if certain requirements are not satisfied.
For example, the Court will not accept
  • handwritten reports; or
  • Medical Reports that are not in the prescribed form.
The Court is also likely to require you to get further and additional Medical Reports if the original Medical Report is not sufficiently detailed.
In order to avoid this, Lam & Co. will advise its client not to get the Medical Report prepared in advance. Instead, the client should come and see us as early as possible and we will write to the hospital (chosen by the client). We will enclose a copy of the correct form to use and also inform the hospital of the do's and don't's in order to minimize the chances of rejection or the need for additional Medical Reports.

Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.

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

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

CHILD'S BIRTH CERT DOES NOT HAVE FATHER'S NAME. CAN I ADOPT THE CHILD WITHOUT THE FATHER'S CONSENT?

You wish to adopt a child. The child's Birth Certificate does not show the natural father's name. In the spaces for the natural father's name, NRIC number, race, everything, there are only dashes ("-").
The question is whether you can apply to Court to adopt the child without the natural father's Consent.
The answer is:

  • It depends.
First of all, even though the child's Birth Certificate does not show any of the natural father's details, the Judge is not foolish and the Judge knows that every child has a father.
Second, the Judge is required by Singapore law to insist on seeing the natural father's signed consent unless certain exceptions apply. If none of these exceptions apply, the Judge cannot grant the adoption without the natural father's consent.

Third, the exceptions include situations where

  • the natural father has abandoned, neglected, persistently ill-treated the child or cannot be found and reasonable notice of the application for adoption has been given to him where he can be found;
  • the natural father is unfit due to any physical or mental incapacity to have the care and control of the child, the unfitness is likely to continue indefinitely and reasonable notice of the application for an adoption order has been given to him; or
  • in all the circumstances of the case, the natural father's consent ought to be dispensed with (that is, done away with).
If the natural father cannot be found in order for his consent to be obtained, we can apply to court to dispense with (do away with) the his consent. This will usually require a detailed affidavit (sworn statement) from you explaining why the natural father cannot be found even though you have put in your very best efforts. We can help you prepare this affidavit.
For assistance, call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.

About Lam & Co.

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

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Q: WE FULLY AGREE TO THE DIVORCE, WILL THE COURT GRANT IT? A: SINGAPORE DIVORCE LAWYER: IT DEPENDS

So the question is:

  • If I and my spouse agree fully and cooperate completely in applying for our divorce, will the Judge definitely grant the divorce order?
The answer is:
  • Not necessarily. It depends.
First of all, even if the both of you agree and cooperate 100 per cent, the Judge has his (or her) own conditions (as imposed by Singapore law). If the conditions are not satisfied, then even if the both of you agree and cooperate fully, your application for divorce will definitely fail.
Second, if you have been married more than 3 years, the conditions are much easier to satisfy (compared to if you have been married for less then 3 years).
Third, there are 5 conditions. Here, we have good news and bad news. The good news is you do not need to satisfy all 5 conditions. You do not even have to satisfy 2 of the conditions. However, you must satisfy at least one of the 5 conditions in order to get your divorce.

Fourth, the 5 conditions are: 

  • you and your spouse have been separated (living apart) for at least 3 years and your spouse will sign a Consent to the divorce.
  • you and your spouse have been separated (living apart) for at least 4 years.
  • your spouse has deserted you (abandoned you and refused to come home) for at least 2 years.
  • your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with him (or her).
  • your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him (or her) ("unreasonable behaviour").

Fifth, if you have been married for less than 3 years, the conditions are much stricter. In this situation, there are 2 conditions.
The 2 conditions are:

  • exceptional hardship suffered by the plaintiff (ie, the party who is applying for the divorce); or
  • exceptional depravity on the part of the defendant (ie, the party against whom the divorce case is against).

For a better understanding of your situation, call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.
About Lam & Co.
We seek to appreciate and understand your situation and put your aims and objective first. We will use our tried and tested Lamnco Method(developed over more than 25 years of successful legal experience) and strive for the best possible outcome for you.

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5 SIMPLE STEPS TO GET AN APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY

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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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10 SIMPLE STEPS TO GET AN ADOPTION DONE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Call Lam & Co. at 6535 1800 now.


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

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

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

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

If you Google for:

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

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

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

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

The truth is:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


About Lam & Co.

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

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Philip Lam - Singapore Divorce Lawyer

How to choose a Singapore Divorce Lawyer

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

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

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


Call Lam & Co. now at 6535 1800.


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

Rate this blog entry:
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