And just like any other litigation, the dissolution process has consecutive steps that are followed according to Singapore law.
The dissolution action starts when one of the spouses (petitioner) files a petition, a summons, an income and expense declaration, and a schedule of assets and debts with the court.
The petition is a document that requests the court to terminate the marriage between petitioner and respondent. (The non-filing spouse is the respondent.)
The summons is the document that serves notice that the dissolution action has been started. The income declaration (plaintiffs moving papers) is to give the judge some idea of the finances of the parties involved, the basis for decisions on child and spousal support.
After the filing of the moving papers, they shall be served on the other spouse. Normally, this happens within 30 days from the petition date.
Divorce Procedure For Uncontested cases
Most divorces go uncontested. For this type Divorce Procedure, the client communicates the agreements the parties have arrived at to his or her lawyer. The lawyer prepares the necessary paperwork, gets the required signatures, and mails the paperwork to the court for processing.
This entire process is completed in a few weeks or a few months. Then, everybody sits out the six-month waiting period to run. Afterwards, the divorce procedure in Singapore becomes final.
Once the moving papers are served, the respondent has 30 days to answer. The response has paperwork required, answering allegations of the petitioner, and an income and expense declaration of the respondent.
When filing this, the case becomes at-issue, meaning in dispute.
This is the formal time to gather information from the other party. These include written questions (interrogatories), requests for documentations and other evidence, and face-to-face interviews of the spouses by the opposing attorneys (depositions).
The dissolution action (divorce procedure)takes time. In this interval, there are needs for court orders. These include restraining orders, child and spousal support, etc., temporary orders until the court has time to issue permanent orders.
Most people assume that after all the steps had been taken, trial follows. The fact is that very few divorce cases ever end up in a trial.
Because of courtroom shortage and other issues, a system had been devised where negotiation is expected and demanded by the courts. The main court policy is to resolve family law matters outside of the courtroom.
Another big reason for cases settled out of court is the legal fees involved. Trial requires substantial attorney time, and consequently, substantial costs.
In a nutshell, divorces do extract a big price in all aspects, foremost of which are the actual legal costs. Divorce Lawyers in Singapore can cost anywhere from SGD 1500 onwards.