Q1: What is the difference between separation and divorce?
A separation is not the same as a divorce.
The key difference between separation and divorce is that when you are separated, you are still legally married to your spouse even though you are living apart. If you later decide to get divorced, you need to go through the legal steps necessary to terminate your marriage.
Q2. What are some of the pre-divorce considerations?
Some of the things you need to consider before getting a divorce are:
- The legal requirements based on the type of marriage (for example, you would need to file for divorce with the Family Justice Courts for civil marriages or the Syariah Court for Muslim marriages.)
- The financial and psychological impact of divorce on your family
- Divorce for civil marriages
- The parenting plan for your children and their well-being
- The housing and living arrangements that may affect separate household budgets.
- How prepared you are for life changes after the divorce
Q3: How can counselling help my family?
When a marriage ends, it can be an emotionally difficult time for the family.
Counselling can help your family cope with divorce, as the counsellor may share insights and teach coping skills to help the family manage the aftermath of a divorce. You may be able to learn more about the resources and support that are available in the community.
Q4: Where can I get counselling and other forms of support?
Counselling is available at the four Divorce Support Specialist Agencies (DSSAs). The staff at the DSSAs are experienced social workers and counsellors with specialised skills in working with divorcing and divorced families and children. Counselling is available as individual, joint or family sessions.
Q5: What is co-parenting?
Co-parenting happens when both you and your ex-spouse continue to work together to raise your children even though you are divorced and may no longer be living together. Cooperative co-parenting gives your children stability, despite changes to the family structure.
Find out more about co-parenting.
Q6: Where can I get free legal advice?
Some organisations offer legal clinics where you can seek free legal advice on divorce matters. These may include child custody, divorce maintenance issues, and/or any other ancillary matters. You can get more information at our Legal Aid page.
Q7: Are support programmes and counselling offered for free at DSSA?
The support programmes and counselling services provided by the Divorce Support Specialist Agencies are free. To find out more please contact your nearest DSSA.
Q8: How can I get help on child maintenance issues?
The parent who has custody, care and control of the children can apply for child maintenance. If you are not receiving divorce maintenance regularly, or if you are not receiving the full amount of the maintenance, you may apply to enforce the maintenance order. This is a legal matter and needs to be done through the Courts.
If you prefer not to do this at the Family Justice Courts, you may also file your complaint via the video-filing service which is available at the Maintenance Support Central (MSC) of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations or HELP FSC.
These organisations can also assist with the filing of fresh maintenance applications. The social workers and staff will help you with the application process which uses a video link service with the Family Justice Courts. They can also provide counselling and other areas of social support, if needed.
Parties may also seek to vary their maintenance order if their circumstances have changed. You may approach the Community Justice Centre for assistance to vary your maintenance order.
Q9: How do I get help when I am faced with family violence?
If you or your children are the victims of domestic violence, you may
1. Call the police to seek help.
2. Visit any of the Family Violence Specialist Centres nearest to you for advice and assistance
- PAVE: (65) 6555 0390
- TRANS SAFE Centre: (65) 6449 9088
- Care Corner Project StART: (65) 6476 1482
For more information, please see Family Violence on the MSF website.
Q10: What is mediation?
Mediation is a process that offers a safe and supportive environment for parties to communicate openly with each other. Parties can be guided to explore options for themselves and their children through the assistance of a neutral third party (a mediator). Mediation can help you:
- Save time, money and the stress of going through the Courts systems
- Find better ways of dealing with conflict in a neutral setting
- Focus on what is best for your children and family
For more information on mediation, please see the Singapore Mediation Centre website.