This is a common question asked by many clients and here are some tips.
If you and your spouse are on talking terms. You may wish to split the process into 2 parts:
- Ancillary Matters.
Part 1 – Divorce
The objective is to settle the divorce quickly. Prepare a Statement of particulars (SOP) that is not neutrual, not too acrimonious. By doing so, you hope that your spouse will accept it without a contest. If you and your spouse are still on talking terms, talk to him/her about the SOP before filing it in Court. Take note of his/her objections (if any) and and amend where necessary or reasonable.
Once again, the objective is that a fast settlement will save cost on the divorce.
Part 2 – Ancillary Matters
Do prepare a draft consent order (DCO) early – This is to settle the issues of division of matrimonial assets (especially the division of the HDB flat), children and maintenance (if applicable).
It will be good if you can discuss with your spouse regarding these issues with a view to a settle the divorce quickly.
If both parties can come to an agreement on the DCO, this will surely save costs on the divorce. Otherwise, you may need to hire a lawyer to provide you with further advice and take part in negotiations.
In the event that an agreement or settlement is not feasible, you will have to file a series of lengthy Affidavits of Assets and Means and go to trial. This will definitely escalate the costs of the divorce.
If both parties do not agree on all the issues and need to hire a divorce lawyer who will take manage the case and take part in negotiations on your behalf, some lawyers fees may start and range from $3000 to $5000. This is in hope that no trial need to be involved and only negotiations and management of the case.
However, if the above (negotiation) cannot have a conclusion on the SOP and DCO, then likely the matter will have to go for trial and the legal fees will increase substantially, depending on the complexity of the case and amount of work done.