If two Chinese nationals, all of a sudden, flew into Singapore and applied to the Singapore court for a divorce, will the court accept their application?
If you thought that the scenario is very strange and unlikely, you are right.
If you also thought that the Singapore court would say, No to the application, you are also right.
Must I be a Singapore citizen?Not necessarily, …
The Singapore court can accept an application for divorce provided:
-at least one of the parties is a Singapore citizen.
In other words, a foreigner can apply for a divorce in Singapore if his or her spouse is a Singapore citizen.
And, of course, a Singapore citizen can always apply for a divorce in Singapore.
Can foreigners apply for a divorce in Singapore?Yes, provided …
Foreigners can apply for a divorce in Singapore provided:
-at least one of the parties has been habitually resident in Singapore for the most recent 3 years leading up to the application for divorce; and/or
-the defendant is a Singapore citizen.
5 basis for divorce
Apart from the above conditions, the court also requires that at least one of the following conditions are satisfied before it will grant a divorce:
-the defendant has committed adultery and the plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the defendant;
-the defendant has behaved in such a way that the plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with the defendant;
-the defendant has deserted the plaintiff for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the writ;
-the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 3 years immediately preceding the filing of the writ and the defendant consents to a judgment being granted;
-the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 4 years immediately preceding the filing of the writ.
Apart from the above conditions, it is also relevant to note that there can be situations involving foreigners where the marriage and the divorce raise issues which are more closely connected to the foreign country (than to Singapore).
For example, the family could have been in the foreigner's country for many years.(In fact, the family could even still be living abroad when the divorce case is started in Singapore.)
In such a case, even though the other conditions for divorce are satisfied, the defendant may apply to the Singapore court to stop the case here and argue that the applicant should apply for divorce in the foreign country instead.
The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.
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Lam & Co. (Advocates & Solicitors): An International and Singapore divorce law firm.
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