Annulment of Marriage

  • Divorce
Annulment of Marriage

Have you been married for less than three years and found that your marriage is just not working out? Do you need to wait for three years to pass before filing for divorce? The answer is no, you might not need to.

Singapore law dictates parties satisfying the jurisdiction requirements must first wait three years from the date of marriage before commencing the divorce process. There are, however, six reasons that allow a marriage to be annulled–even before three years have passed:

  1. Due to the incapacity of either party to consummate it, the marriage has not been consummated;
  2. Due to the defendant’s wilful refusal to consummate it, the marriage has not been consummated;
  3. Either of the parties to the marriage did not provide valid consent, whether in consequence of duress, mental disorder, mistake, or otherwise;
  4. Though capable of giving valid consent, a party was suffering (continuously or intermittently) from a mental disorder at the time of the marriage, within the meaning of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2008 of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage;
  5. At the time of the marriage, the defendant was suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or
  6. The defendant was impregnated by a person other than the plaintiff at the time of marriage.

For an annulment to be an efficient and straightforward process, the other party must agree to the grounds of annulment. It would be best, therefore, if both parties agree.

If the other party does not agree to the grounds of annulment and instead contests it, the plaintiff must defend the filed application and prove the reasons to annul the marriage. In such a situation, a lawyer will provide proper legal advice to ensure that you prepare the evidence required to succeed.

One of the most common grounds for annulment is one party’s allegation that despite his or her attempts at consummation, the other spouse has willfully refused to consummate the marriage.

The entire annulment process can take only four to six months from the moment that lawyers are engaged to the final decision being granted. Once the marriage has been successfully annulled (already including the three months required after the Singapore court approves the annulment), then it will be like the marriage never existed. The annulled party’s status will then be deemed single once more. With a divorce trial, on the other hand, the process can be drawn-out, and the divorced party’s status will be a divorcee as opposed to single.

What documents do you need to file?

Although this process is not particularly complicated, there are still formalities to be aware of should you intend to annul the marriage. There are several documents that you need to file, which your lawyer can help you with. These include:

  1. Writ of Nullity;
  2. Statement of claim for nullity;
  3. Statement of particulars;
  4. Affidavit of evidence in chief;
  5. Acknowledgment of service;
  6. Memorandum of appearance (defendant);
  7. Request for setting down the action for trial;
  8. Application for setting down (parties’ attendance required); and
  9. Draft consent order.

Filing these documents will start the proceedings. It is also necessary, however, for both parties to appear in open court before a judge so as to answer a few questions before obtaining an annulment.

Whether or not the grounds for annulment have been contested, it can be challenging to put together the requirements. We strongly advise you to seek legal assistance from an experienced lawyer.

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