The only ground for divorce in Singapore is irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Separation is one of the more common legally defined means for proving this breakdown has occurred. It is particularly common when neither party is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage and they are able to reach an amicable conclusion to their situation. In order for separation to be used as a grounds for divorce, the parties will either have to be:

  1. Separated for a continuous period of three years with consent; or
  2. Separated for a continuous period of four years without consent

Many couples will document the terms of their separation by using a Deed of Separation. This can be particularly valuable in situations where you are unable to start divorce proceedings having been married for less than three years or want to remain in the marriage for other reasons.

It helps to formalise the separation and sets a start date to be eligible to claim for divorce on the grounds of separation. If the terms are deemed fair and just, it could speed up proceedings around ancillary matters. Ultimately, saving time and money.

Our experienced family lawyers offer a free initial consultation if you and/or your partner are considering separation as a possible precursor to divorce.

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Deed of Separation


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Frequently asked questions

What is a Deed of Separation?

A Deed of Separation is a formal, legally binding document that is signed by a married couple and contains terms surrounding their desire to live separately. Couples will often enter into such an agreement as a precursor to a divorce in the future.

There are two categories of clauses in a Deed of Separation:

  1. Terms relating to the separation itself. This would include reference to when the parties separated, the living arrangements, and an agreement that both parties will be living separately from one another.
  2. Terms on financial arrangements. This must be mutually agreed upon and would cover aspects such as the division of matrimonial assets, maintenance, and the living arrangements for any children.
What is a Judicial Separation?

In certain situations couple would like to be lawfully separated, but not formally divorced. In this situation, a couple can apply for judicial separation from the Family Justice Court.

This route is sometimes taken due to religious commitments, children, or due to other societal pressures.

In order to file for judicial separation you must have already been married for a minimum of three years.

A judicial separation frees the couple from all marital obligations and both parties can permanently live separate lives.

The judicial separation also entitles parties to similar claims as they would have had if they had pursued a divorce. This includes aspects such as the division of matrimonial assets, child custody, and care and control of the children.

Where judicial separation diverts from that of a divorce is that both parties are not able to remarry. In order to remarry, they would have to legally divorce.

Can I separate without a Deed of Separation?

Yes, some couples will separate informally without creating a Deed of Separation.

For the court to use informal separation as a reason for divorce, the couple must be able to show that both parties intended for the separation to lead to a divorce.

This can be done by:

  1. Physical separation – either under the same roof or in separate locations.
  2. Absence of spousal duties – i.e., if parties are living under the same roof, they should be able to prove they are living entirely independent lives. This means not cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the household.
How much does a Deed of Separation cost?

We charge a fixed fee of $1,500. Please get in touch for a free initial consultation if you would like to find out more.

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Client testimonials

I was glad to have chosen PKWA Law to represent me in my divorce case. Mr Low Jin Liang gave me a clear overview in the initial meetup and constantly ensure that I have complete understanding at every milestone of the case. His advice is always putting my best interest first which is very important for my case. Also, special thanks given to Mr Jason Mak who has been constantly following up on my case promptly and providing insights on miscellaneous matters.

Keline Ong

PKWA’s Jessica and Corinne are pleasant to work with, professional and reliable. My case was smooth and successful. Thumbs up!

A Lek

The free consultation went smooth and proceeded to engage the firm to handle my divorce. Overall, I am very satisfied with the service provided by the team (Jessica/Corrine) whom have handled my professionally.

Winston T

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