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Family Law in Singapore

The sources of family law in Singapore

The legal system is based on the English legal system, which is why the main provisions on family legislation are found in the Singapore Civil Law and in the Women’s Charter. The Women’s Charter is the main legal framework referring to divorces of non-Muslims in Singapore, while the Islamic divorce is regulated by the Administration of Muslim Law Act.

With respect to the protection of children in case of divorce, the main legislation is the Guardianship of Infants Act and the Children and Young Persons Act. However, in order to enhance the protection of minors, the Government enacted the Family Justice Act in 2014. The Family Justice Act brought changes to the family justice system and to the family law in Singapore. The Act also enabled a new Singapore court to deal with all types of family law issues.

Family courts in Singapore

The Family Justice Act enabled the new family court system, called the Family Justice Courts. These courts comprise the following:

  • – family courts,
  • – youth courts,
  • – family division of the High Court.

The Singapore Family Courts handle all types of family law matters, among which divorce procedures, children’s rights, parents’ rights, juvenile issues, succession rights, but also mental capacity procedures. The Family and Youth Courts will act as first instance courts, while the Family Division of the High Court will try both first instance and appellate cases.

The latest Singapore Family Justice Rules enacted in 2014 establish simplified procedures in family law matters. Unrepresented litigants will also benefit from the support of Child Representatives and Family Court Friends in trials.

Family law proceedings in Singapore

Family Courts will have jurisdiction not only in divorce matters, but will also judge prenuptial agreements in Singapore. Considering the Singapore legislation does consider prenuptial and postnuptial agreements as binding, these agreements will be examined by Family Courts. The Family Courts will also rule in marriage annulment and judicial separation cases in Singapore. The Courts will also decide in matters such as division or sale of assets in case of divorce proceedings.

For legal representation in litigation cases you may contact our attorneys in Singapore.