In 2014, marriages ending due to annulments increased more than ever before, and most of them involved inter-ethnic marriages. According to the statistics released by department of statistics, Singapore, in July, 2015:
• Under Women’s Charter, there were 392 cases of annulments in 2013, and 446 cases in 2014.
• Annulments increased by 14% in 2014 compared to previous year.
• 131 out of 446 annulments involved inter-ethnic marriages, which is 29% of the entire number of annulments in 2014.
• Compared to 2004, when annulments between inter-ethnic couples were only 20 (6% of the total annulments in the year), stats of 2014 look quite alarming.
Before moving on, it is important to understand what annulment is and how it can dissolve marriages.
Annulment is a void contract, an illegal marriage. According to the Women’s Charter, annulment is an illegal or void marriage, there is no relationship between the parties and they can live separately without any liabilities on each other. So, the marital status of both the parties is restored to single and they can marry another person without any legal bindings.
Why Annulment Occur At the First Place
There may be quite a few reasons for illegal marriage, such as:
• One of the spouses has already been married to someone else. Law regards this situation as “Bigamous”
• If a person marries his close relative or blood relative, also known as “Incestuous”.
• The plaintiff was under 18 years when the marriage took place.
• The plaintiff was drunk or dosed at the time of marriage
• At the time of marriage, the plaintiff was unable to make his/her own decision to marry, due to medical or psychological disorder.
• The plaintiff was forced to marry someone he/she would not have married had he/she been free to decide.
• Inability to consummate in any of the parties and the other party had no knowledge of it prior to marriage.
• Non-consummation due to any other reason.
Such factors, especially the last one, dissolve marriages even before they begin. This trend of illegal marriages (or apparently void) has been rising in Singapore, In fact, in 2014, Singapore annulments were the highest in past 20 years.
Annulments Due to Non-Consummation
A large number of brides whose marriages had ended in annulments belonged to Vietnam. Family law experts in Singapore provided some real insight on annulments.
1. Early marriage break-ups were prominent among Singaporean-Chinese male and Viet women.
2. Majority of Vietnamese women had left their husbands within few days of marriage.
3. Majority of breakups had occurred between middle-aged Singaporean men with blue-collar jobs and Vietnam women in their 20’s.
Expert divorce lawyer Singapore provided major reasons for non-consummation:
1. Vietnam women denied having intercourse and later applied to nullify their marriages due to non-consummation.
2. Women felt cheated because they had married for a better life, but their husbands were not well-off.
3. Husbands were surprised on the attitude of their wives and how quickly they had ended their relationship without mutual discussion.
4. Most people believe, Vietnam women were mainly involved in vice trade and they wanted to prolong their stay in the country in order to earn more money.