annnulment

Annulment: How to Annul a Marriage in Singapore
(Updated 2019)

What is an Annulment?

An Annulment is a legal procedure to declare that your marriage null and void, and that the marriage had never existed in the first place.

If you initiate the annulment, you will need to show proof that you have grounds(reasons) for annulment, and if it can be successfully proven, you will obtain the Judgement of Nullity from the court, and your marriage will be considered dissolved, which means the marriage will be considered void and no longer valid by the family court and the marital status of both parties will return to “Single,” unlike in a divorce where both parties are “divorced.”

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What are the requirements to qualify for an Annulment?

You may annul your marriage only if it is void or voidable by law. 

Void

A void marriage is a marriage is invalid from its beginning and is viewed as though the marriage never existed by the court, hence requires no formalities for termination even if a Judgement of Nullity is obtained or not. 

 

Incestuous Marriage

The Singapore Registry of Marriage dictates that the prohibited degrees of relationship between two people that are not permitted to from marrying each other, such as between siblings, fathers, and daughters. An application for an annulment can be formally applied for in court.

Underage Marriage

An individual below 18 years old who intends to register a marriage will have to apply for a "Special Marriage Licence". this means that if at the time of solemnization if either party is under 18 years old and is married without the special marriage license, the marriage is considered invalid and void. Both parties may apply for annulment.

Polygamy

If one party was already in a legal marriage to a third person at the time of solemnization, then the second ‘marriage’ that happened after will be regarded as void. An annulment can be carried out

Muslim Marriage solemnized under the Women’s Charter

Muslim marriages must be solemnized under the Administration of Muslim Law Act. This means that Muslim marriages that are registered under the Women's charter are considered invalid and void, and both parties may apply for an annulment.

Marriage thats not between man and woman

The Singapore law does not recognize the marital union between members of the same sex and the marriage will be declared void, and can get an annulment

Voidable

A voidable marriage is a marriage which can be canceled at the option of one or both of the parties of the marriage. 

 

Non-consummation due to an inability

Consummation refers to the first sexual intercourse between two people after marriage. A voidable marriage happens if the marriage is not consummated because either or both parties do not have the ability to consummate the marriage, such as when the husband is impotent. In such a scenario, either party may apply for an annulment of the marriage.

Non-consummation due to refusal

When the marital union isn't consummated because either you or your partner intentionally refuse to consummate it. In this circumstance, the party who refused to consummate the union can't use this reason to annul the marriage, only the other party may apply to get an annulment. However, in the event where the marriage is not consummated because both parties intentionally refuse to do so will not be considered a legal grounds for annulment. It is also worth noting that the inability to conceive is not a valid grounds for divorce by the court.

Lack of valid consent to marriage

The marriage might be voidable if either party did not consent to it. This situation may be applicable when one party may have been forced into marriage due to threats, or when the person consenting has a mental disorder that does not allow for him or her to provide valid consent. The party who did not consent can apply for an annulment

Infected by a Sexually Transmitted Disease at the time of marriage

If either party is infected by a sexually transmitted disease at the time of solemnization, that is a viable grounds for annulment of marriage for the other party.

Spouse impregnated by a third party

If someone other than the husband-to-be had impregnated the wife at the time of marriage and the husband was not aware of it, the husband may file for an annulment of the marriage.

The Process to Annul a Marriage

After you have approached a family law firm for legal advice consultation and hired a lawyer, a application for .must be filed to Court. The party filing for annulment (known as the plaintiff) must petition for an annulment on the grounds that the marriage is either void or voidable. The Defendant will then advise if he or she will be contesting the annulment.

Uncontested Annulment Hearing

If the annulment is not contested, the plaintiff will be given an uncontested court hearing date. It is compulsory for the filing party to be present in the court hearing which will last approximately 5 to 10 minutes. If everything is in order, the Court will give an interim conclusion, which will be made final after three months. The whole process takes approx 4 to 6 months to complete from the time nullity newspapers are filed in Court, assuming
the Defendant fully cooperates at the proceedings.

In the case of an uncontested annulment, the average fixed fee will be around S$2,500, while contested annulments will have higher fees.

After The Annulment

In the event you or your partner succeeds in demonstrating to the court that the marriage is valid for annulment, the court will grant a Judgment of Nullity, and your marriage will be dissolved and annulled. When the Judgment of Nullity is issued, the annulment takes effect from that day onwards. However, any child born from the time of valid marriage will still be considered legitimate children even after the annulment

Annulment – Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce vs Annulment, what is the difference?

Annulment After the Annulment is complete, your marital status will be “Single,” and the marriage will be as though it had never existed. You may apply for annulment within the first three years of your marriage. Foreigners may apply for annulment if both parties are present in Singapore at the time of filing of the papers.

Divorce – After the divorce, your marital status will be “divorced,” and the marriage will still deemed to be valid from the time it was solemnized until the time when the court grants the Last Judgement. You can only apply for a divorce after three years of your marriage. Foreigners filing for divorce need to have stayed in Singapore for at least three years.

The Court did not grant my Annulment, what options do i have now?

You can request your attorney to file an application in Court to seek the Court’s consent to
Document for an early divorce. You have to prove to the Court that

1) you have suffered exceptional hardship during
Your union

2) Your spouse has displayed exceptional
depravity towards you (that is, he/ she has
acted in a way that is exceptionally bad).

I have been married for more than three years, can I still get an annulment?

You can still get annulments as long as you can prove that the marriage has
not been consummated due to your spouse’s refusal issues, or either party’s inability to consummate the marriage

What will happen to the property that I have with my ex-spouse if i get an annulment?

After the annulment, the HDB Contract purchase will become invalid, this means that the flat will need to be surrendered to the Housing Development Board (HDB). HDB will provide a compensation subject to their valuation. The compensation amount will be used to pay off any pending housing loans as well as to pay back the CPF amount used during the purchase of the flat. The remaining amount left of the compensation will be split between the two parties.

After you have had an annulment but wish to retain the matrimonial flat, you will have to file an appeal with HDB to check if they will allow you to retain the flat under a different scheme.

The other alternative is to wait for the duration of marriage to be three years and file for a divorce instead. This way you will be able to keep the flat legally under the Single-Scheme if you are able 35 years old, or retain the flat using both you and one parents name listed as an occupier (assuming the parent does not own a flat).

In a situation where you hold private property, you may choose to buy over the other party’s share of the property, sell it, or keep it as joint tenants. However, if both parties are unable to agree, then this will escalate into a contested ancillary hearing in court where the court will make the final decision on the division of the assets.

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