There are 2 ways to bring an end to a marriage – Annulment or Divorce.
Whether you should obtain an annulment or divorce depends on which one you are eligible for.
Both annulment and divorce have certain requirements, or legal grounds, upon which you can apply for the annulment or divorce. The requirements for annulment and divorce differ.
In a divorce, on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, you have to prove certain facts such as unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion.
In an annulment, you have to prove facts that your marriage is null and void – i.e. it never existed.
The marriage is one that is invalid but can continue to exist unless one party annuls the marriage.
For example, if your marriage is not consummated due to your spouse’s refusal or their inability to do so.
A void marriage is void from the outset. Because it was never recognised as legal, both you and your spouse may treat the marriage as though it never took place.
You will need to prove that there was an error fulfilling the requirements of a valid marriage in Singapore. And even if you know it legally isn’t recognised, both parties are encouraged to still obtain a court order to ensure it’s absolute.
Need some help with your proceedings or need expert legal advice? Talk to our team of lawyers, we’re here to help.
No, you do not have to be a Singaporean to annul your marriage in Singapore. However, both you and your spouse must have resided in Singapore for at least 3 years when you start the annulment process.
Yes, you have to support your claim with evidence, otherwise, the Court can refuse to grant your annulment.
You’ll also need the following:
You may find the various forms on the Family Justice Courts website under the “Annulment” tab.
After examination of all submitted evidence by the Court and lawyers, an Interim Judgment may be granted.
Similar to getting a divorce, you and your spouse might have ancillary matters like the division of matrimonial assets to settle.
Generally, there will be no maintenance granted as the marriage is typically too short to have caused much of a change in financial situation.
As such, the typical concern is regarding banquet money, honeymoon expenses, money put in for renovation etc, which can be solved with a simple agreement.
You’ll need to meet a minimum 5 year period before you can list an HDB apartment in the open market for sale. So for couples that bought a BTO/resale flat, the usual route would be to surrender the BTO/resale flat to HDB at a loss. You may wish to try to appeal for an early sale but the chances of succeeding are not high.
Most of the time, private homes are bought in joint tenancy. Upon annulment, you might need a Draft Consent Order to change the status from joint tenancy to tenants in common. This means that each party will separately own a specified share of the home, and when either party passes away, the deceased’s share of the home will be distributed to their beneficiaries (if a Will exists) or by way of the Intestate Succession Act (if no Will exists), instead of passing automatically to the other party.
For condos in Singapore, homeowners need to hold the property for at least 3 years before they put the condos in the open market for sale, otherwise they will be liable to pay additional sellers’ stamp duty.
There will be a “cooling period” of 3 months before the Final Judgment is granted.
Once this Final Judgment is delivered, your marriage is officially annulled, and your marital status will go back to “single” and not “divorced”. You will not need to declare your previous marriage if there is a requirement to during job interviews either.
In Singapore, the marriage annulment process takes about 4-5 months, depending on the complexity of the case.
If your application to annul your marriage is unsuccessful and you’ve been married for less than 3 years, you may consider living separately from each other until the 3-year mark, then filing for a divorce.
No, it’s possible to file for an annulment on your own. However, the process can be confusing and overwhelming without an expert lawyer to guide you. There are also numerous documents you need to draft and submit within a fixed timeframe.
It’s not easy being in your position, let an experienced lawyer help you get through this. Talk to our team, we’re here for you.