Unreasonable Behaviour: Divorce In Singapore

by 30 August 2023Knowledge & Insights

Divorce is the legal dissolution of marriage, a process that involves the termination of the marital relationship and the resolution of various legal matters. In Singapore, divorce is governed by the Women’s Charter, which outlines different grounds for divorce, including unreasonable behaviour.

Unreasonable behaviour, also known as “unreasonable conduct,” is grounds for divorce in Singapore. It refers to behaviour by one spouse that makes it unreasonable for the other spouse to continue living with them. This can include many actions or omissions that have caused the marriage breakdown, such as infidelity, emotional or physical abuse, addiction, or neglect.

A decision favouring or against divorce does not automatically imply guilt or innocence on the part of the spouse alleged to have committed misconduct. The court’s verdict is solely based on the viability of the marriage and whether it can reasonably be expected to continue.

The emphasis is on whether the alleged acts make it unreasonable to expect the couple to continue their marital relationship.

This article will explore the concept of unreasonable behaviour divorce in Singapore in-depth, including its legal definition, requirements, process, consequences, controversies, and alternative options. We will also discuss the challenges and considerations involved in pursuing unreasonable behaviour in divorce, the court’s role, and the importance of seeking legal advice.

1. Understanding Unreasonable Behaviour Divorce

Grounds For Unreasonable Behaviour

Unreasonable behaviour is one of the grounds for divorce in Singapore, as stated in Section 95(3)(a) of the Women’s Charter. It refers to behaviour by one spouse that makes it unreasonable for the other spouse to continue living with them.

To file for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, the petitioner needs to prove that the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably expect to live with them.

Common Examples Of Unreasonable Behaviour

Examples of unreasonable behaviour in divorce cases can include infidelity, emotional or physical abuse, addiction, neglect, financial misconduct, or abandonment. These actions or omissions are considered to have caused the marriage breakdown and made it intolerable for the petitioner to continue living with the respondent.

How Unreasonable Behaviour Is Assessed

When assessing unreasonable behaviour in divorce cases, the court looks at the overall impact of the behaviour on the petitioner. It considers the case’s specific circumstances, including the severity, frequency, and duration of the behaviour, as well as the impact on the petitioner’s physical and mental well-being.

The court also considers the subjective perception of the petitioner, taking into account cultural, social, and personal factors.

It’s important to note that each divorce case is unique. The court will assess unreasonable behaviour based on the facts and circumstances. It’s advisable to seek legal advice from an experienced divorce lawyer in Singapore to understand better the legal requirements and implications of pursuing an unreasonable behaviour divorce.

2. Legal Requirements and Processes

Meeting The Legal Requirements

To file for divorce based on unreasonable behaviour in Singapore, the petitioner (the spouse initiating the divorce) must provide evidence that the respondent’s (the other spouse) behaviour has been unreasonable and has caused the breakdown of the marriage.

This may involve documenting unreasonable behaviour, such as infidelity, abuse, or neglect.

Initiating The Divorce Process

Once the petitioner has gathered evidence of unreasonable behaviour, they can file a divorce petition with the Family Court in Singapore, citing unreasonable behaviour as the ground for divorce.

The petitioner must state the details of the unreasonable behaviour allegations in the petition, and the respondent has the opportunity to respond and defend against the allegations.

Role Of The Court And Relevant Legal Procedures

The court plays a significant role in the divorce process in Singapore. After the divorce petition has been filed, the court may require both parties to attend counselling or mediation sessions to explore the possibility of reconciliation.

If reconciliation is impossible, the court will proceed with the divorce proceedings, which may involve further hearings, evidence submissions, and legal arguments.

The court will ultimately decide on the divorce and any related matters, such as custody, division of assets, and spousal maintenance, based on the evidence and relevant laws in Singapore.

3. Legal Consequences And Considerations

In Singapore, an unreasonable behaviour divorce is a fault-based ground for divorce. This means that the spouse seeking the divorce needs to prove that the unreasonable behaviour of the other spouse has caused the marriage to break down irretrievably.

If successful, the court may grant a decree of divorce based on unreasonable behaviour.

However, it’s important to note that proving unreasonable behaviour can be subjective and challenging, as the court requires specific and sufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations.

Impact On The Division Of Assets, Alimony, And Child Custody

In Singapore, the grounds for divorce, including unreasonable behaviour, do not directly impact the division of assets, alimony, and child custody. Singapore follows a “clean break” principle, where the division of assets, alimony, and child custody are determined separately from the grounds for divorce.

The court will consider various factors, such as the needs and welfare of the children, the financial contributions of each party, and the length of the marriage, to determine a fair and equitable division of assets, alimony, and child custody arrangements.

4. Challenges And Controversies

The Subjective Of Unreasonable Behaviour

One controversy could be the subjective nature of unreasonable behaviour based on the perception and interpretation of the spouse filing for divorce. This could lead to disputes over what constitutes unreasonable behaviour and whether the conduct alleged by one spouse is sufficient grounds for divorce.

Impact On Division Of Assets

Another controversy could be the impact of unreasonable behaviour in divorce on the division of assets. If one spouse is found to have engaged in unreasonable behaviour, it could affect the division of marital assets and the determination of alimony payments, leading to disputes and disagreements between the parties involved.

Impact On Child Custody

Unreasonable behaviour in divorce could also impact child custody arrangements, as the behaviour alleged by one spouse may be considered relevant to the determination of custody and visitation rights. This could lead to contentious disputes over the child’s best interests and the impact of unreasonable behaviour on the child’s well-being.

Public Disclosure Of Private Matters

Another controversy surrounding unreasonable behaviour in divorce could be the public disclosure of private and sensitive matters in court. As the grounds for divorce are based on alleged unreasonable behaviour, it may require spouses to disclose personal and confidential details of their marital relationship in a public forum, which could be uncomfortable or embarrassing.

Conclusion On Unreasonable Behaviour Divorce In Singapore

In conclusion, navigating an unreasonable behaviour divorce in Singapore can be legally complex and emotionally challenging. Understanding the legal implications and impact on the division of assets, alimony, and child custody is crucial.

It is vital to cautiously approach unreasonable behaviour in divorce, seek legal advice from a qualified family lawyer, and thoroughly understand the legal requirements and evidentiary standards involved. Divorce is a significant life event, and taking proactive steps to protect your rights and interests is essential.

Remember, you do not have to go through it alone – a qualified family lawyer can provide valuable guidance and support. Seek professional legal advice to make informed decisions and ensure the best possible outcome in your unreasonable behaviour divorce case.

Frequently Asked Questions About Unreasonable Behaviour Divorce In Singapore

What Is Unreasonable Behaviour In Divorce?

Unreasonable Behaviour Divorce refers to a ground for divorce where one spouse alleges that the other spouse’s behaviour has been so unreasonable that it is no longer tolerable to continue the marriage.

What Are Some Examples Of Unreasonable Behaviour?

Examples of unreasonable behaviour may include infidelity, domestic violence, substance abuse, neglect, abandonment, or emotional abuse.

Can I File For An Unreasonable Behaviour Divorce If My Spouse Denies The Allegations?

Yes, you can still file for an unreasonable behaviour divorce even if your spouse denies the allegations. However, you must provide evidence and support your claims in court.

What Are The Alternatives To Unreasonable Behaviour Divorce In Singapore?

In Singapore, the alternatives to unreasonable behaviour divorce include filing for divorce on other grounds such as adultery, desertion, or separation, or applying for a separation order or a judicial separation if you do not want to dissolve the marriage.

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About the author

Tembusu Law


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