If you are considering a Deed of Separation in Singapore, there are some things you must know.As a Deed of Separation can be a difficult & confusing process, there are many things to consider, and it is crucial to make the right decision to protect yourself & your family.
With the relevant expertise and experience, we are a team of dedicated Divorce lawyers whom you can trust to guide and advise you so that you can make informed decisions throughout the Deed of Separation process and related legal matters, including matrimonial assets, managing personal protection orders and even Divorce cases in the Singapore Syariah Court.
Get in touch with our lawyers today for reliable and transparent legal advice on Divorce matters.
WHAT IS A DEED OF SEPARATION?
A Deed of Separation is a binding agreement or contract between you and your spouse that settles all issues which arise when you legally separate or decide to live apart. These issues usually include property division, maintenance payments for the wife and children, child custody and access rights and any number of other details that are important to you, such as repayment of loans given or reimbursement of debts paid during the marriage.
A separation agreement puts in writing the decisions you and your spouse agree to in the separation or Divorce negotiations. If an agreement can’t be reached, you would likely need a contested Divorce for the court to divide and decide on how to handle your joint assets and liabilities and decisions regarding child custody and spousal and child support.
The separation agreement must be signed by both husband and wife and their witnesses.
When negotiating a Deed of Separation, try to work together and be fair and open with your spouse to discuss your respective requests and needs and aim to reach mutually beneficial decisions. This is important because the terms and conditions contained in a Deed of Separation are legally binding during the time leading up to a Divorce and may be made permanent when it’s incorporated into the final Divorce Order.
Although you can prepare a Deed of Separation without a lawyer, it is prudent to consult one because discussions between the parties can be highly emotional and draining due to the fact that they involve a wide range of sensitive issues. A lawyer experienced in Divorce law may make the process easier, less stressful, and more beneficial for both parties.
In summary, the requirements for the Deed of Separation in Singapore include some of the following:
- Who shall have temporary care and custody of the minor when the parents cannot provide such care and control?
- What type of access arrangement exists between the parent who cares for and controls the minor and the parent who does not?
- How will the child be cared for? (Maintenance or financial arrangements, etc.)
- Does the wife also receive a monthly maintenance sum from the husband?
- Whose name will be on the title deed?
- How are joint account funds to be handled?
The list above is by no means exhaustive and may include other issues you or your spouse may be concerned about. To find out more, do contact us today for a non-obligatory consultation.
WHY WILL YOU NEED A DEED OF SEPARATION?
Although the Deed Of Separation is not necessary for a Divorce filed on the grounds of separation, having a Deed of Separation in Singapore can be beneficial in some cases, for example situations where the parties:
- are attempting to avoid the chances of a contentious Divorce and high costs of ensuing litigation;
- want to separate but remain in marriage due to various acceptable reasons (religion, etc.);
- want to wait out as the children are too young to understand what a Divorce is;
- still have doubts with regards to proceeding with a Divorce but want to start living apart and need to settle on the essential ancillary matters such as division of assets and custody of the children;
- have decided that they wish to Divorce but prefer to wait until some issues are settled before proceeding (For example, not officially applying for a Divorce as the marriage has been registered for less than three years.)
- wish to continue living in an apartment during the minimum occupancy period if they plan to keep it after Divorce.
One thing to note is that signing the Deed of Separation in Singapore does not officially end the marriage. Both parties are still considered legally married until the actual and finalised Divorce. And should one party wishes to remarry, a Divorce is necessary. Couples often opt to use a Deed of Separation in Singapore to avoid expensive, contested litigation because it can set out the conditions of legal separation and agreed ancillaries may help prevent conflicts during any eventual and future Divorce proceedings.
If you need a deed to formalise your separation from your spouse, our lawyers can draft a Deed of Separation in Singapore that best suits your needs.
WHAT ARE THE TERMS TO BE INCLUDED FOR A DEED OF SEPARATION IN SINGAPORE
The date when the separation begins and the earliest date when the Divorce process can be initiated should be stated in the Deed of Separation. Both parties involved should also know that the separation does not start the Divorce process automatically. So they will still have to agree on a date for initiating the Divorce after the separation.
The Deed of Separation may also include a term regarding the residential arrangement for the spouses, stating whether they will live together in separate residences or even share a shared space for living but not keep any marital relations or run a joint household.
Other essential terms of the Deed can include provisions for:
- Defining what type of custody will be arranged for the children. Joint custody is one of the more common choices for parents who share decision-making responsibilities for their children.
- Determining which spouse will live with the child and who will make the day-to-day decisions.
- Rights to visit/communicate with their children, specifically for the parent who lacks custody and control. You can choose between liberal or reasonable access, which provides more flexibility regarding time and visitation rights. These provisions should also cover the terms regarding access by phone, online, email or instant messaging.
- Divorcing spouses divide their marital assets and manage joint accounts, and other property.
- Maintenance for spouses and children. In most situations, the wife is entitled to maintenance during separation and after Divorce except in cases where the husband is disabled or cannot support himself.
To be deemed fair and reasonable, these terms must account for standards of living before the breakdown of marriage; the extent of contributions made by both parties; the rights, needs, interests, and welfare of the children; and any other relevant factors. Hence it is vital that you engage an experienced lawyer to assist you with your Deed of separation in Singapore.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
DEED OF SEPARATION IN SINGAPORE
How Is A Separation & Divorce Different?
In Singapore, there exists a clear distinction between the terms “Divorce” and “separation“. When you are Divorced from a spouse, your relationship/marriage has ended. It is up to you to decide if you want to look for another partner or not. In a separation, the marriage legally still exists, but it may be headed toward the stage of Divorce, which can be final.
Can I Date Other People If I Am Separated?
If you live apart from your spouse but are not legally Divorced yet, then dating while separated can still be legally permissible especially if this is stated in a Deed of Separation.
What Are The Fees For Filing For A Deed Of Separation In Singapore?
The cost of drafting an agreement varies depending on the complexity of the document that needs to be prepared and the lawyer’s fee structure. For drafting more complex agreements, you will likely pay a higher fee.
Can You Enforce A Deed Of Separation?
Yes, you can rely on the terms of the Deed of Separation in the same way that you rely on any agreement that is voluntarily signed by the parties.