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ACP Singapore - Divorce proceedings Cheat Sheet by

Civil Procedure in Singapore

Proving the Divorce

Only 1 ground for divorce - irretr­ivable breakdown of marriage
s95(3) of the Women's Charter has 5 facts that amount to an irretr­ivable breakdown of marriage
Adultery
Unreas­onable behaviour
2 Years Desertion
Separation
Defendant has committed adultery and plaintiff finds it intole­rable to live with defendant
Defendant behaves in a way that Plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with Defendant
Defendant deserted Plaintiff for a continuous period of at least 2 yrs immedi­ately preceding the filing of Writ
Either lived apart for at least 3 years with Defend­ant's consent to judgment being granted
If plaintiff lives with Defendant for >6 months, adultery will not work
If live with >6 months wont work
Defend­ant's intention must be proven
or lived apart for at least 4 years without consent
If adulterer is named, he/she must be a party to the procee­dings
Objective test
 
must be continuous
 

Stage 1 - Resolution of Divorce

1. Plaintiff files requisite court documents
2. Plaintiff serves court documents on parties
3. Defendant files court documents
4. Defendant serves court documents on parties
5. Set down for hearing on dissol­ution of marriage
6. Court decides on dissol­ution of marriage – Interim Judgment granted, made final in 3 months (Final Judgment)

1. Plaintiff files requisite court documents

-Writ of Divorce
- Rule 54(4) Appearance - 8 / 21 days
- Rule 56 (1) Defence - 14 days
- Rule 56 (9) Proposed parenting plan - 14 days
- Rule 56 (10) Proposed Matrim­onial property plan - 14 days
-Statement of Claim
-Statement of Partic­ulars
-Notice of Procee­dings (Co-de­fen­dant)
-Agree­d/P­roposed Parenting Plan
-Agree­d/P­roposed matrim­onial property plan & Partic­ulars of Arrang­ements for Housing (HDB)

2. Plaintiff serves court documents

- Service of writ to defendant/ co-def­­endant - Personally or registered post with everything else

3 & 4. Defendant files and serves Court Documents

- Defendant has to file Memorandum of appearance (decided on whether to contest divorce)
- 22 days after receipt to complete agreement to Proposed Parenting plan and return it to Plaintiff OR file to court and serve on Plaintiff Proposed parenting plan (by defendant)
- 14 days after CPF replies standard query, sign agreement to proposed Matrim­¬onial property and return to plaintiff or file to court and serve on plaintiff defend­¬ant's proposed matrim­onial property plan

5&6. Setdown and Judgment of Dissol­ution

- Plaintiff must set action down for hearing: 2 types, contested and uncont­¬ested
- 14 days after expiry of time for filing last pleading
- If uncont­¬ested:
- In open court, attendance can be dispensed
- if court is satisfied, interim judgment to be made Final in 3 months
- If parties agree on ancillary matters, consent order can be recorded at interim judgment
- If contested:
- fixed pre-trial conference
- Parties will be sent for mediation or counse­¬lling if settlement is possible
- Hearing in open court
- If marriage broken down irretr­¬ie­v¬ably, interim judgment.
 

Resolution of Ancillary matters

Division of Matrim­onial Assets
Custody, care and control of Child
Assessment of Mainte­nance of Child and Wife

Division of matrim­onial assets

S112(10) of Women's Charter
(a) any asset acquired before the marriage by one party or both parties to the marriage —
(i) 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
(ii) which has been substa­ntially improved during the marriage by the other party or by both parties to the marriage; and
(b) any other asset of any nature acquired during the marriage by one party or both parties to the marriage, but does 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.

Custody, Care and control of Children

Sections 122 - 126 of Women’s Charter
Paramount consid­eration to be the welfare of the child
Section 125 Women’s Charter
(1) The court may at any time by order place a child in the custody of his or her father or his or her mother or of any other relative of the child or of any organi­sation or associ­ation the objects of which include child welfare, or of any other suitable person.
(2)  In deciding in whose custody a child should be placed, the paramount consid­eration shall be the welfare of the child and subject to this, the court shall have regard —
(a) to the wishes of the parents of the child; and
(b) to the wishes of the child, where he or she is of an age to express an indepe­ndent opinion.

Assessment of Mainte­nance of Child

Section 127 of Women’s Charter
127. —(1)  ­During the pendency of any matrim­onial procee­dings or when granting or at any time subsequent to the grant of a judgment of divorce, judicial separation or nullity of marriage, the court may order a parent to pay mainte­nance for the benefit of his child in such manner as the court thinks fit.

Assessment of Mainte­nance of Wife

 
(a) the income, earning capacity, property;
(b) the financial needs, obliga­tions and respon­sib­ilities of both parties;
(c) the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakd­owne;
(d) the age of each party and the duration of the marriage;
(e) any physical or mental disability of either of the parties;
(f) the contri­butions made by each of the parties to the welfare of the family;
(2)  in the financial position in which they would have been if the marriage had not broken down
 

Stage 2

1. Filing and exchange of affidavits on ancillary matters
2. Court hears parties on ancillary matters and makes orders
3. Making Interim Judgment Final

Exchange of affidavits on ancillary matters

Pre Trial Conference to set dates for exchange of affidavits on ancillary matters and date of hearing

Rule 89 FJR and Para 21 FJCPD
Parties file and exchange Affidavit of Assets and Means
Form 206
ALL assets should be disclosed

Exchange of reply affidavits (total up to 2 rounds w/o leave of Court)

2. Court makes orders on ancillary matters

S 3 FJA : Family Justice Courts comprises Family Division of High Court

S 26(4) FJA : the Chief Justice may by order published in the Gazette direct that any class or descri­ption of family procee­dings … shall be heard and determined by the Family Division of the High Court.

Family Justice Court seminar on 22 October 2015 :
Gross value S$5M
Novel point of law
Applic­ation by way of Summons for Transfer

Rule 81(2) : Ancillary matters heard in Chambers

Powers of Court:
Section 112 Women’s Charter – Power of Court to Order Division of Matrim­onial Assets
Section 113 Women’s Charter– Power of Court to Order Mainte­nance for Wife
Sections 123 & 124 Women’s Charter– Power of Court to Order Arrang­ements for Welfare of the Child
Section 127 Women’s Charter– Power of Court to Order Mainte­nance for Children

Making Interim Judgment Final

 
Interim Judgment can be made Final no less than 3 months by submitting applic­ation to make IJ final
After Ancillary Matters order made
Not after the expiration of 1 year after IJ

Registrar will cause a search to ensure :
No appeal is pending
No extension of time for appeal
No appear­anc­e/a­ffi­davit to show cause against IJ

Final Judgment (Form 33):
Issued by the Court
Conclusion of all Court procee­dings

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