Annulment of Marriage in Singapore

Sometimes, for the good of everyone involved, a marriage must come to an end. In Singapore, to legally end a marital union, two processes are available. They are (1) Annulment; (2) Divorce. This article will focus on how annulment functions in Singapore.

What is the difference between an annulment and a divorce?

Annulment refers to the legal process of making a marriage be considered null and void. It cancels or annuls a marriage by declaring that it was invalid or never existed in the first place, i.e. declaring the parties had never been married in the first place. A divorce is the dissolution or termination of a legally valid marriage, with both parties severing ties and returning to single status.

Singapore Law also mandates that a couple may not apply for a divorce for three years from the date of the marriage unless exceptional depravity or hardship is proved. However, this is not the case for annulment – a marriage can be annulled at any time

When can a marriage be annulled?

 A marriage can be annulled as long as it is within the circumstances set out of Section 106 of the Women’s Charter:

  • Marriage has not been consummated due to either party’s incapacity to do so;
  • Marriage has not been consummated due to either party’s willful refusal;
  • Marriage was conducted without either party’s valid consent, with the consent given under duress, mistake or mental disorder;
  • Either party consented to the marriage but is found to suffer from a mental disorder that deems him fit or unfit for marriage;
  • The wife was already pregnant by another man at the time of marriage;
  • Either party is suffering from any sexually transmitted disease or infection at the time of marriage.

Can the Court refuse to grant an annulment?

The Court may refuse to grant you an annulment on two grounds.

  • Not proving your case

The Court may refuse the grant of the annulment if you do not produce evidence that your spouse falls within one of the provisions of Section 106 of the Women’s Charter.

  • Annulment would be unjust to your spouse

The Court may also refuse the grant of the annulment if your spouse can convince the Court that (1) you knew that you could annul the marriage, but acted in such a way as to lead your spouse to reasonably believe that you will not seek to do so and (2) granting the annulment would be unjust to your spouse.

What happens next after an annulment?

The next question is: after the annulment is granted, what would happen to your properties and child?

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What happens to our HDB Flat?

Neither of the parties can retain the HDB flat (if one is owned). You or your former spouse may only retain the HDB flat is either parties’ parents were the people who applied initially to buy the flat. If neither of you is eligible to keep the flat, the flat will be returned to HDB. HDB will compensate you for the price you paid, but the compensation amount you receive may be lower than the price you paid. In which case, if your flat is still under a mortgage or loan, the monies will be used to pay off that mortgage or loan and only after the mortgage or loan has been paid, will the balance be returned to your CPF account. Any shortfall in the amount will count as your loss, and you will not be required to top up the account.

What about my Children?

Any children born during the marriage is still considered legitimate children of the marriage even after the marriage has been annulled.

The Court in deciding the custody, care and control of a child treats the matter as if it were a divorce. You and your former spouse would need to support your child until he is of legal age.

What about our Matrimonial Assets?

Your assets, apart from your HDB flat, which is dealt with in the abovementioned matter, is also treated the same way as if the process were a divorce. The Court will equitably divide the assets between the parties. It will take into account consideration many factors such as who owned what assets before the marriage and who was most involved and their contributions to the family.

How we can help?

We understand that while this process may be painful, it is sometimes necessary. Our lawyers are experienced in handling these matters, and if you wish to consider your options, please contact us, and we will have a fruitful consultation on the matter.

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Our specialised lawyers and their team are standing by to assist you. Our first consultation is free.

The information contained within this website contains general information about our lawyers, Law Firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.
Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. 

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Enquiry from Emerald Law


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Enquiry from Emerald Law


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