5 Reasons For The High Divorce Rate In Singapore

by 5 October 2022Family Law & Divorce, Knowledge & Insights

Divorce rate in singapore

Marriages continue to form the basis of a family unit in cultures worldwide. Couples enter into holy matrimony together to commit to a lifetime of love and trust. However, the last few years show there’s a high number of couples separating.

Data from the Department of Statistics show that annulments, marriage dissolutions, and Divorce rates in Singapore remain at an all-time high. In 2020 alone, 6,959 married couples filed for Divorce. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) also discovered that recently-wed couples separate earlier than those married for a long time. But what are the actual reasons for the high Divorce rate in Singapore?

The high figure does not explain the entire situation. The MSF surveyed the likely causes of the rising Divorce rate. Surprisingly, adultery was only in the 3rd spot. On the top spot is “women’s independence”. Women are separating from their spouses because they have more opportunities to live independently.

Infidelity, domestic violence, lack of intimacy, and financial woes are still some of the top reasons marriages in Singapore end in Divorce. Although socio-economic factors can explain a couple’s decision to Divorce, there’s no answer that fully explains the decision.

1. Infidelity


More often than not, adultery is one of the leading causes of a marital crisis. Some couples try to work things out by forgiving the cheating partner. They may also get marriage counselling. However, for some, the betrayal can be too much. How can you still commit to someone who has broken your trust? How can you ever believe anything they say after the act?

Cheating can stem from a dying relationship or personal issues between two parties. If someone feels that their partner no longer loves them, they may look elsewhere for companionship. In most cases, couples decide to separate, and one party will choose to move out. The couple’s children may live with one of the parents or be co-parented after finalising the Divorce.

2. Domestic Violence

Women or men abused by their partners during a relationship may also file for Divorce (and, in worst cases, may even seek a Personal Protection Order against the abuser). Leaving an abusive marriage is in itself an immensely courageous act. But the trials ahead are far more complicated. People who’ve left their partners may continually be harassed or intimidated by the abusive partner.

If the abuser refuses to accept the Divorce, the victim can approach the police and file for a PPO. The court can expedite this order, especially if there is an immediate threat to the victim’s life.

Hiring a lawyer may also help the victim with the legalities surrounding domestic abuse and Divorce. They can provide invaluable advice to the client to achieve a favourable outcome.

3. Financial Woes

Love often leads people to make decisions from the heart, not the mind. A person so profoundly in love with another may want to enter into a marriage. The intentions may be genuine, but the person they marry may not necessarily meet their financial needs. Financial woes may not be an issue in the early stages of the marriage. However, the couple will eventually have to address this problem down the road.

Couples unable to make ends meet can no longer shoulder the financial burden. If one partner is deep in debt, the other may feel defeated as they can no longer bear the responsibility.

Another situation is when one of the partners is out of a job. If they don’t make an effort to become financially self-sufficient, or if they continually depend on their partner, this could cause a rift in the marriage.

4. Lack Of Intimacy

Lack Of Intimacy

Physical intimacy is essential in any committed marriage. Listening to your partner’s needs, spending quality time with them, and showering them with affection all show that you care about your spouse.

As the marriage progresses, life events can lead to a lack of intimacy. A spouse may get too preoccupied with work and make no time for their partner. Or someone in the relationship has stopped being affectionate altogether.

If both partners feel that the lack of intimacy is taking a toll on the relationship, then they may Divorce.

5. Drug And/Or Gambling Addiction

Gambling and drugs are two addictive vices. Partners who fall into this trap end up making irrational decisions. Substance abuse, for example, can alienate families and cause a mental, emotional, and physical toll on those affected.

Gambling addiction is no less different. A spouse may throw away all the couple and their family’s life savings to this vice. Pathological gamblers also often unload their frustrations on the husband or wife and the kids.


Many couples fall into the trap that love is enough to make a marriage last. But, it takes a concerted effort from both parties for a marriage to succeed. Aside from showing loyalty and commitment, couples should have difficult conversations. If the relationship is falling apart and they can no longer work it out, then a separation might be the best choice.

Divorce is a heavy decision to make, whatever the circumstances of the marriage. Couples may feel overwhelmed at the decision, not to mention all the legalities and paperwork that go along with it.

But here at Tembusu Law, we strive to make legal situations less stressful. We provide sound legal advice to help you make informed decisions. Whether you’re seeking to finalise a Divorce or address other legal matters, our lawyers are here to help. Call us now and get a free 30-minute consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions About The High Divorce Rate In Singapore

Are Divorce Rates In Singapore Increasing?

Although the number of finalised Divorce proceedings fell by 8.7% in 2021, Singapore still has one of the highest Divorce rates compared to the world.

What Are The Grounds For Divorce In Singapore?

The Singapore Divorce law states that only one possible ground for Divorce exists: the “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”.

An irretrievable marriage breakdown can be the following:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion for two years
  • Separation for three years with the spouse’s consent
  • Separation for four years

How Common Is Adultery In Singapore?

Statistics from the Department of Statistics (DOS) show that 1.3 to 2.1% of spouses who filed for Divorce said that adultery was their main reason for doing so.

Can I Sue For Adultery In Singapore?

Yes. If you can successfully prove that there was an intentional act to commit adultery, the courts will grant you a Divorce. However, cheating on the other spouse cannot guarantee that you’ll get a larger chunk of the matrimonial assets. Adultery also does not automatically grant you custody of your kids.

How Can I Get A Divorce?

A couple can only file for a writ for Divorce if they’ve been married for at least 3 years, as per the Women’s Charter.

About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.


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