Marriage-related crimes

Although the Women’s Charter governs marriage and its validity, The Penal Act also makes provisions for marriage-related crimes.

Deception about marriage status:

A man who tricks a woman into cohabiting with him, or having sexual intercourse with him, in the belief that they are lawfully married (when they in actual fact are not), is guilty of “Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage”.

Interestingly, it should be noted that this is a gender-specific crime, and can only be committed by men unto women. Whereas both genders can be charged for “going through a marriage ceremony with fraudulent intent without lawful marriage”: in which a party goes through a marriage ceremony knowing that they are not going to be lawfully married.

If charged with the first deception (under s.493 of the penal code), a man can face imprisonment for up to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine. The second deception is liable to (under s.496 of the penal code)imprisonment for a term up to 7 years, and may also be liable to fine.

Marriage when already lawfully married:

If you are married to someone whilst you have already been married to a husband or wife (and your marriage is still not void/you are not yet divorced), the latest marriage is declared void, and you may be found guilty of “marrying again during the lifetime of husband or wife” under s.494 of the Penal Code, which is punishablewith imprisonment for up to 7 years.

It is important to note that the penalties are increased if you willingly concealed the fact that you were already married to the latest party you are marrying. This is an offence under s.495, which is punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Due to the nature of these offences, it is important to seek legal advice from a lawyer in Singapore trained in both family law and divorce proceedings in Singapore. Civil litigation lawyers can help you through a difficult criminal process, whilst a divorce lawyer will guarantee you are properly unwed at the time of remarriage.

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Singapore Divorce Mediation Lawyers

Mediataion

What is Divorce Mediation?

Mediation in divorce is an alternative dispute resolution process which allows parties going through a divorce to reach an agreed settlement amicably through a neutral third party – the mediator.

The mediator functions to ensure that the agreement reached is one that the parties made voluntarily and through a fully informed decision. This is done through facilitating discussion between the parties, during which the mediator highlights important issues that the parties might have overlooked. These steps are necessary to ensure that the parties are fully informed of the details and consequences of their agreement.

The mediator’s role is however limited to providing guidance and the drafting of the final agreement, and the mediator will not make any ruling or finding with respect to the dispute unless expressly requested by all the parties involved. Ultimately, the mediator is but a neutral third party, and the terms of the agreement are to be created by the divorcing parties themselves.

The mediation process is confidential and all documents and information involved in the mediation will be privileged and not admissible as evidence or discoverable in any proceedings linked to the dispute unless these documents would have been admissible or discoverable in any event.

Why?

As compared to litigation which is expensive, time-consuming and aggressive, which might be detrimental to the parties’ already strained relationship, mediation provides a cheaper, less time-consuming and more amicable platform for divorcing parties whose relationship is not beyond that of discussion and coming to an agreement.

As compared to acting without lawyers, mediation provides a platform for the parties to better understand their rights and entitlements and therefore reach an agreement which would be in their best interest.

Where?

Parties may request for private mediation services at the Singapore Mediation Centre through their Matrimonial Mediation Scheme. The parties have the option of appointing their own mediators, or leaving the appointment of appropriate mediators by the Singapore Mediation Centre.

The lawyers at Gloria James-Civetta & Co are trained divorce mediation lawyers who are able to guide divorcing parties through the difficult process of divorce towards an amicable settlement which would be in the best interest of both parties.

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What happens to my child after divorce?

On custody, care and control, right of access, child supportchild care

As it is reasonably expected that the parents will not live together after a divorce, the court will also decide certain issues relating to the child, such that the child can still have the opportunity to interact with the parent that is not living with the child anymore.

Care and control

The adult that obtains the care and control of the child will get to live with the child. It also includes the authority to make the small decisions needed for daily living.

Custody

When courts refer to custody, they are referring to the authority to make the important decisions for the child, such as the education, religion or place of residence.

These days, court usually grants joint custody, such that the parent having care and control will still have to discuss with the other parent the important decisions in the child’s life.

Right of access

The parent without care and control will usually be granted right of access to the child. This allows the parent to visit the child at specified time and manner.

Child support (also known as maintenance of the child)

For a child under 21, there is a parental responsibility to provide for the child’s needs. In deciding how much maintenance to order for a child, the court will take into consideration matters such as the financial needs and earning capacity of the parents and the child, and their standard of living before the divorce. Legal representation from a Singapore divorce lawyer is recommended for maintenance cases such as to better present yours and your child’s financial situation.

Recently, Singapore has been promoting the use of mediation to resolve custodial issues. Gloria-James Civetta & Co. is one of the top law firms in Singapore specialising in family law cases such as child custody. We offer a free 20-minute consultation, where you can speak with one of our friendly matrimonial lawyers to assess your case.

“You don`t just get lawyer – you get an entire team”

Email us or call +65 63370469 to speak to one of our friendly lawyers.

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Division of Matrimonial

Singapore Divorce

Assets (After ANJ v ANK [2014] SGCA 34)

ANJ v ANK [2015] SGCA 34 is a recent Court of Appeal pronouncement that has revolutionised family law in Singapore, particularly the law governing the division of matrimonial assets.

The team of lawyers at Gloria James-Civetta & Co have reviewed the current decision and prepared a short summary of the implications of the decision.

What is the principle that guides the courts in the division of matrimonial assets?

Section 46 (1) of the Women’s Charter (“WC”) is the starting point that guides that courts. The division of matrimonial assets is founded upon the prevailing ideology of marriage as an equal co-operative partnership of efforts.Matrimonial assets

Under Section 112 (1) of the WC, the courts have to divide matrimonial assets in a manner that is just and equitable. This is a guiding principle of family law in Singapore. Therefore, the directive of the court is to reach a just and equitable division of matrimonial assets based on the personal efforts that both parties contributed to enriching their marital partnership.

Pre- ANJ v ANK

The old family law regime in Singapore, lower courts would use the ‘uplifting approach’ whereby the direct financial contribution of each party to the acquisition of matrimonial assets were the starting point. The court would then adjust these proportions by giving the spouse with a greater non-financial contribution an ‘uplift’.

This approach has been criticised as it would double credit one party as that party will gain the percentage of the uplift which would be deducted from the other party. However, the Court of Appeal in ANJ v ANK has now clarified the position.

New method by the court in ANJ v ANK

In ANJ v ANK, the court came up with a structured approach to divide matrimonial assets. This is done in three steps:

  • The court will ascribe a ratio for direct financial contribution of the parties
  • The court will ascribe a second ratio to reflect the non-financial contributions or indirect contributions of the parties
  • The court will use the ratio in 1) and 2) to get an average percentage contribution.

The benefit of this method is that it allows the courts to give the financial and non-financial contribution of parties’ equal weightage.

For more information on family law in Singapore concerning the division of matrimonial assets or the implications that this new method in ANJ v ANK will have for your case, Gloria James-Civetta & Co has a team of dedicated lawyers who are able to answer your questions.

 “You don`t just get lawyer – you get an entire team”

Email us or call +65 63370469 to speak to one of our friendly lawyers.

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Singapore Matrimonial Law

Maintenance for Wife

As a wife, am I entitled to Financial Support from my husband?

Under Section 113 of the Women’s Charter, the court may order a husband to pay maintenance to his wife a) during the course of any matrimonial proceedings or b) when granting or after a judgment of divorce, separation or nullity of marriage has been granted.

However, under Section 113, this maintenance order will be granted based on the discretion of the judge. This means that wives are not entitled to financial support as of right. Your best divorce lawyer will be able to guide you through this process with clarity.

Can an Apply for increased maintenance?

Section 69 (1) allows a wife whose husband is neglecting to provide her with reasonable maintenance to apply to the court to seek an order for maintenance.

What factors does the court take into account when awarding maintenance?

Ultimately, when awarding maintenance, the court aims to place the parties in a financial position that they would have been had the marriage not broken down.

In considering whether to award maintenance, the court will consider the following factors (as listed out in Section 114):

  • the income, earning capacity, property or any financial resource that each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities that each party has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • standard of living enjoyed by the parties before the breakdown of the marriage
  • age of parties to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
  • contributions made by each party to the welfare of the family (including looking after the home or caring for the family);
  • the value to either party of any benefit which the party will lose a chance to acquire after the dissolution of the marriage (e.g. a pension)

How long will the Maintenance Last?

Based on Section 117 of the Women’s Charter, the maintenance order will expire on:

  • The death of the husbandor
  • The death of the wife; or
  • The remarriage of the wife.

Alternatively, a Maintenance Order will last until it is revoked by the courts or varied by another court order.

If you are looking to apply for maintenance or facing an application for maintenance, Gloria James-Civetta& Co has a team of dedicated family law lawyers who can give youlegal advice on the next step to take.

Gloria James-Civetta& Co (“GJC Law”), is an established Law Firm, with one of largest matrimonial law departments in Singapore.

“You don`t just get lawyer – you get an entire team”

Email us or call +65 63370469 to speak to one of our friendly lawyers.

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Singapore Divorce Matters

Child Maintenance Issues Explained

Matrimonial law in Singapore is governed by the Women’s Charter (“WC’). If you have questions on interim child maintenance or child maintenance after the divorce, as you Singapore divorce lawyer for further clarification. child maintenance

Who is Responsible for Child Maintenance?

Under Section 68 of the WC, it is the duty of parents to maintain their children, whether or not they are in his or her custody. Under Section 46(1) of the WC, both mother and father are equally responsible in caring and providing for the children. Therefore, under family law in Singapore, both parents are responsible for child maintenance.

Child Maintenance includes paying for the costs of the child’s accommodation, clothing, food and education.

How does the Court rule on Child Maintenance Orders?

When ruling on a Child Maintenance Order, the court will consider all the circumstances of the case. The main factors that the court will consider are:

a) the financial needs of the child; and

b) the ability of the parent who is being sued for maintenance to meet these needs.

Other factors that the court will take into consideration are listed in Section 69(4) of the WC include:

– whether the child has any mental or physical disability

– the manner in which the child was being (and expected to be) raised and educated

What if Child Maintenance Costs Increase years down the track?

In family law in Singapore, it is trite law that a Child Maintenance Order will cease once the child turns 21 years old, unless there has been an order made under Section 69(5) of the WC to allow the child to continue receiving maintenance from the parent despite having reached adulthood.

As the child grows up, the costs of his clothing, food and education will increase. Thus Section 72 of the WC allows for the application for a variation of the Child Maintenance Order.

The court may vary an existing Child Maintenance Order if there is a change in circumstances and the person applying for the variation of the Child Maintenance Order shows proof of that. The court may also consider the changes in the general cost of living when varying a Child Maintenance Order.

If you need legal advice on Child Maintenance Order or are seeking to vary an existing one, Gloria James-Civetta & Co has a dedicated team of lawyers that can help you.

Gloria James-Civetta & Co (“GJC Law”), is an established Law Firm, with one of largest matrimonial law departments in Singapore.

“You don`t just get lawyer – you get an entire team”

Email us or call +65 63370469 to speak to one of our friendly lawyers.

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Processes involved with Divorce

Getting a divorce is not an easy task as it involves many complexities. In this blog, we will discuss the process of How to do divorce.

The divorce process starts from filing all the necessary paperwork to the courts, which includes submitting a writ of divorce accompanied by a statement of claim citing the grounds under which you are seeking divorce.

Once done with that the partner who is filing a divorce must also submit a proposal stating how any minor children of the union will be provided for after the separation is finalized. They also need to give a housing plan detailing how the shared home will be divided or disposed. The respondent spouse is informed about the initiation of divorce process, once all documents are received by the court.

The process continues with a Status Conference scheduled by the court within six weeks from the respondent’s declaration of having no objection to the grounds. But if the respondent has objected, then the spouses have to enter into court-mandated counselling until they reconcile or they decide that divorce is inevitable.

The court puts an effort to save the marriage by providing a three-month cooling-off period. Also, in order to grant a divorce, it is important that the judge is completely convinced that the marriage is beyond repair. After getting convinced, the judge provides a certificate of divorce.

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