Things to know about Annulling a Marriage in Singapore
The annulment of marriage in Singapore is the legal process that allows you to get separated from your spouse, dissolve the marriage entirely, and erase it even from existence.
If you are confused with the same term and legal process, this guide is for you. In this guide, we have covered all the details regarding the same and several other terms and facts associated with it.
What Does It Mean to Annul a Marriage?
The annulment is the legal procedure that allows you to dissolve your marriage and declare it null, meaning that you never got married.
What is the difference between an annulment and a divorce?
The annulment process allows you to dissolve your marriage, as in the divorce process. However, unlike a divorce, an annulment makes it appear as if there never was a marriage in the first place. At the same time, divorce means that the marriage can be dissolved with no objection to its previous existence.
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Upon the successful process of an annulment, both parties’ marital status will be returned to single but not divorcees, which they get after getting divorced.
An annulment is completely different from a divorce when proving the facts. However, you only need to prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken for a divorce, which can be proved by supplying certain facts, such as adultery or separation.
In contrast, the marriage annulment requires that you prove your marriage is voidable or void, including proving that the marriage itself was or was not valid.
What does it mean by a marriage that is void or voidable?
A void marriage is an invalid marriage from the day you got married, even if you decide not to get separated or officially annul your marriage. In this situation, both of your marital statuses will remain married until or unless you formally annulled it.
On the other side, the voidable marriage is one that is invalid but will continue to keep on going unless either of the parties decides to announce the marriage. However, you might need to fulfill several other criteria before the court considers your marriage voidable.
There are several different conditions for both void and a voidable marriage.
When it comes to the grounds of a void marriage, you will be required to prove that you failed to fulfill the valid marriage criteria, including improper solemnization of marriage or a marriage between close relatives (which is strictly restricted and against the law in Singapore).
For voidable marriage, you need to prove certain grounds. For example, suppose you are a male; your marriage will be considered voidable only if your spouse was pregnant by another man when you both tie knots. In another scenario, your marriage might not have been consummated due to either party’s incapacity or the other’s refusal to consummate it.
Requirements for Annulling Your Marriage in Singapore
Do I have to be a Singaporean to annul my marriage here?
No, it is not mandatory for you to be a Singapore citizen to annul your void or voidable marriage in Singapore. But, you, along with your spouse, should be residing in Singapore when you commence the annulment proceedings.
Deadline for applying to annul your marriage
If your marriage is voidable, you need to apply for annulment within 3 years after the marriage.
Fortunately, when we talk of void marriages, there is no such limit to annul your marriage.
Evidence proving that your marriage is void or voidable
To prove the annulment of your marriage, you are first required to present the evidence proving that your marriage is void or voidable.
For instance, if you claim that your marriage is voidable, your wife is not ready to consummate it. If, you do not have enough evidence to prove that your marriage is voidable. In that situation, the court will indeed reject the grant of an annulment.
It is always said that, for the annulment applications filed in regards to voidable marriage, even if you manage to provide the relevant evidence to claim that your marriage is voidable, the court still has the authority to refuse to grant annul your marriage under the following circumstances:
Though you were aware that you could annul the marriage, you behaved in a way that caused your spouse to believe you could not; and
Your spouse would be treated unfairly if your annulment was granted.
Remember that in applying for an annulment, you must be truthful. For example, on 22 Dec 2020, a man received a 1-week jail sentence for submitting false information in an annulment application, claiming that he and his wife had not consummated their marriage.
What is the Process for Annulling a Marriage in Singapore?
Generally, the Annulment of marriage in Singapore involves a two-step process.
During the first stage, you must prove the grounds for annulment and present your proof to receive an Interim Judgment.
In the next step, you’ll have to settle ancillary property distribution and maintenance issues, and then you’ll be granted an Annulment of Nullity. This means you’d be legally divorced, and your marital status would be changed to “single.”.
Among the documents you may need to file for the annulment of your marriage are a writ for annulment of marriage, along with other valid documents including:
- A claim statement setting forth the grounds for the annulment;
- Particulars setting forth the facts supporting your annulment ground(s);
- (In case you are parents together and cannot agree on a parenting plan), you need to present your proposal for a parenting plan;
- (If both parents can agree on a parenting plan) A property plan that outlines your proposed arrangements for the children; and
- A Matrimonial Property Plan stating the arrangements to be made regarding your HDB flat (if you and your spouse own HDB apartments together).
Parents have no obligation to attend the Mandatory Parenting Program in the middle of an annulment, which applies only to couples going through a divorce.
How long will the annulment process take?
Once your spouse does not contest your annulment application, you will be able to set a court hearing date to have the annulment uncontested. If the court finds your case convincing, it will grant you an interim judgment for annulment.
An uncontested annulment may take as long as 4 to 5 months if an Interim Judgment is granted first and only if all ancillary matters are finalized. Therefore, the final Judgment may not be granted until at least 3 months after an Interim Judgment is granted.
Depending on how complex your case is, the annulment process may be delayed if your spouse contests your petition for annulment.
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What happens during ancillary proceedings?
Once the interim judgment is granted, the next process you have to undergo is ancillary proceedings. These include the division of assets in the marriage, spousal maintenance, and child support. The courts consider the same factors when determining whether to grant a divorce when considering an annulment.
In a divorce, you will need to determine how you will split up the property you and your ex-spouse had together.
A range of factors determines this, including your spouse and you each made towards the family and the matrimonial assets.
An annulment almost always occurs within three years of marriage; therefore, if you haven’t had the minimum occupancy period for your flat, you may need to surrender that flat to HDB.
Spousal maintenance and child maintenance (if applicable) are determined by various factors, including the spouse and children’s financial needs and the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage by the spouse and children.
As well as how the spouse or children travel and eat, what kind of transport they use will determine the standard of living.
The custody of a child refers to who has jurisdiction over important decisions regarding the child, for example, his or her education, religion, and healthcare. Normally, custody will be decided based on which parent will best serve the child’s interests. However, courts often grant both parents joint custody to foster a cooperative relationship.
The court will grant a final Judgment of Nullity once all ancillary matters are resolved, following which your marriage will be officially declared null.
What will the legitimacy status of my children be if my marriage is annulled?
A void marriage does not affect the legitimacy of the children born after the marriage if the parties believe that the marriage was valid when they got married.
Avoidable marriage that is annulled still has the right to raise its children.
What if your application to annul your marriage is unsuccessful?
It was unsuccessful when attempting to annul your marriage, whatever the reason. In that case, you may consider the following if you have been married for less than three years:
You must prove exceptional hardship or depravity if you apply for an early divorce.
To file for divorce, you must be living apart from your spouse for at least 3 years.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File for an Annulment of Marriage in Singapore?
You don’t need to hire a lawyer to file for an Annulment of Marriage in Singapore, as you can file an annulment yourself. Without legal assistance, however, annulments can be confusing and complex. Several documents must be prepared and submitted by the due date to file for annulment.
With the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney, you can draft your divorce documents accurately and maximize the value of your marital assets, spousal support, and child custody.
After reading the above article, you might have cleared all the details on the annulment of marriage in Singapore and several other related things associated with the same. However, if you need a translation service to translate your documents into English, choose none other than a Singapore translator. They are a professional translation company that provides reliable service at a cost-effective price.