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Singapore Syariah Court Divorce Process

Introduction to Syariah Divorce Procedures

Annulment? Separation? Divorce? Heavy terms with even heavier repercussions. Nobody would want to or even entertain thoughts of going through this dreadful process during happier times, especially during when marriage meant “happy ever after”. But who can predict the future and what it beholds for each of us?

 

At this juncture, you feel that you have done the best you can and are now faced with the inevitable and controversial but yet necessary decision on whether to proceed to the Courts and or an expert divorce lawyer in helping you move forward through this difficult process, for you and your children.

 

So how do you even begin? Who do you talk to regarding issues in your marriage?

 

In the Singapore context, under the Administration of Muslim Law Act (Chapter 3 of the Statutes of Singapore), the Syariah Court has the jurisdiction to regulate Muslim marriages.

 

Counselling sessions before applying for divorce

Before one may file for divorce in the Syariah Court, the marriage must first be a Muslim marriage and the couple (you and your partner) must have attended and completed the counselling sessions under the Marriage Counselling Program.

 

It is not a necessity for both parties to be Singaporean but must satisfy certain jurisdictional requirement before they are allowed to file their application for divorce in the Syariah Court. You might ask why is counselling necessary at the stage when you have already decided to proceed with a divorce?

 

Well, counselling has various purposes and aims. When you go for counselling, an appointed counsellor will work with you to explore strategies to try and help you overcome concerns or difficulties. Depending on your needs, the counsellor will provide practical, psychological and emotional support. You are highly encouraged to openly share your issues with the counsellor to enable them to provide you with the relevant support and solutions for your current situation.

 

The Marriage Counselling Programme provides a safe and neutral platform for you and your spouse to discuss your marital concerns. It is the counsellor’s objective to ensure that both you and your spouse are fully aware of the impact of the decision that one party or both parties are making. Where necessary, access to other forms of support from other agencies will be provided to minimise the impact of marital breakdown on yourself and/or your children.

 

Counselling is compulsory as you will not be allowed to file for divorce if you have not obtained the letter stating that you have completed counselling from the relevant agency.

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Reconciliation After Counselling

After you have completed counselling, you are required to inform the counsellor on whether you intend to proceed with the divorce proceedings. No further action will be taken if both parties have decided to reconcile unless talak has been pronounced.

Proceeding With Your Divorce Application

If your decision is to proceed with divorce, the next step would be to file your divorce papers in the Syariah Court. You will need to prepare the necessary Court-approved forms, namely the Case Statement along with your Proposed Parenting Plan (if you have minor children) and Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan. The Case Statement must state the grounds for divorce that you are relying on and the reliefs you are claiming for during the divorce. There are other supporting documents that will need to be submitted as follows:

  • Original Marriage Certificate issued by Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM)
  • Children’s Birth Certificates
  • Latest CPF statement showing Public Housing Withdrawal details
  • Latest CPF statement showing the balance in your Ordinary, Special, Medisave, Retirement and Investment Accounts
  • Latest HDB standard query reply (applicable to HDB flat owners / permitted occupiers only)
  • Latest HDB / Bank statement on outstanding housing mortgage loan
  • Property Statement (applicable to private property owners only)

 

If your papers are in order and accepted by the Syariah Court, the Court will issue an Originating Summons which you will need to personally serve on your spouse along with the forms started above. This process will usually be done by your appointed Solicitor if you have engaged one.

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Should there be children below the age of 21, a Proposed Parenting Plan and Agreed Parenting Plan are also required to be submitted by you and your partner together with the Case Statement.

After all the required documents have been submitted by both parties, a mediation date will be given.

Mediation will be your first court session if your marriage was registered and solemnised in Singapore. Both plaintiff and defendant must attend the mediation session in person even though either party has engaged a lawyer.

However, before attending the mediation session, you may wish to consider some pointers;

  • Plans to settle the dispute
  • Your claim against the defendant and how the defendant is likely to react.
  • The strength of your case and the probability of getting what you want at the hearing.

You and your spouse are encouraged to exchange the following documents prior to seeing the mediator;

  • Estimated value of your property based on recent transactions reflected in the HDB or URA websites.
  • Latest CPF statement showing the Public Housing Withdrawal details.
  • Latest CPF statement showing the balance in your Ordinary, Special, Medisave, Retirement and Investment accounts.
  • Latest HDB/Bank statement on the outstanding loan on the property.
  • Housing Loan Eligibility if you are proposing for the property to be transferred to you.
  • The defendant is required to file his/her memorandum of defence within 21 days from the date he/she receives the originating summons i.e. before the mediation session.

If a compromise can be reached after the mediation session, a settlement agreement will be drafted and a pronouncement / confirmation of Talak & Consent Court Order will pursue and the divorce will be finalised.

However, should it be otherwise, then a pre-trial conference where further directions will entail.

The more difficult the divorce is, the longer it will take to finalise it with some cases can take up to a year or more before the final judgement of divorce can be granted.

Getting Your Divorce Certificate In Singapore

It is quite a tedious process to undergo and it can be mentally and psychologically testing for parties involved and in particular, for children, should there be any to be in the middle of all these processes.

Do consider your options carefully before embarking on your mission to dissolve your marriage and applying for a divorce.

 

Engaging a lawyer is not compulsory but it is definitely helpful especially when there is a lot at stake.

As lawyers, our professional duty is to represent our clients through their divorce proceedings. We will not advise you on whether or not is it better for you to divorce. That is a decision that you will have to make on your own accord.

If you have not made up your mind or wish to save your marriage, please proceed to a counsellor or Ustaz who will be able to advise you better. 

We are here to assist those whom wish to divorce or are in the midst of divorce or PPO proceedings.

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CONTACT US TODAY

Our specialised lawyers and their team are standing by to assist you. Our first consultation is free.

The information contained within this website contains general information about our lawyers, Law Firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.
Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. 

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