Generally, civil marriages or divorces in Singapore are heard in the Family Justice Court under the Women’s Charter. However, Muslim divorces have an entirely different set of considerations and procedure you have to follow through. The Syariah court is the only court in the land with the mandate to hear and determine cases concerning divorce and other family related matters for Muslims, as stipulated under section 35 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA).
Eligibility of Muslim divorce proceedings
You are only allowed to pursue this form of separation if you were married under Muslim law. This also means that all parties are Muslims and that Muslim law is applied in contrast to the family court which belongs with state courts and hears civil marriage disputes.
What are the requirements for a Muslim Divorce?
There are a number of different requirements that have to be met before a Muslim divorce is initiated and carried through to completion. It is extremely important that you know what is required of you before embarking on the lengthy process. The Syariah divorce lawyers that we talked to provided the following requirements depending on the nature of your divorce.
- The husband may divorce his wife without any burden of proof upon pronouncing the talak
- A wife may apply for a divorce but is required by Muslim law to prove that the husband has breached taklik or fasakh.
- If the husband gives his consent, then the court will cause him to pronounce the talak
- Both the wife and husband may agree to a khuluk, divorce requested by the wife where the wife is required to pay a sum or an amount in kind the quantum of which is to be adjusted by the court depending on the means of the couple.
- Fasakh, which is annulling of the marriage. Some factors the marriage can be annulled includes negligence in providing nafkah, physical abuse, impotency and many more stated in AMLA.
Procedures for Muslim divorce in Singapore
The procedure for getting a divorce as a Muslim in Singapore with your chosen divorce lawyer on your side could take only a few weeks to follow through.
- First the interested couple or individual will apply for divorce.
- The Syariah court will require that the couple attend therapy for up to eight weeks to try and mediate.
- If the couple fails to mediate after the counselling sessions, the couple chooses to go forward with the divorce.
- The couple will be directed to attend mediation at the Syariah court.
- Following the mediation agreement, the court will grant a divorce as per the terms agreed upon.
- If no agreement is reached, the court will either set the pre-trial proceedings where further directions are given and the case then goes to trial or they can assign a hakim chosen by the couple to arbitrate the case.
As evident from the above, this is just the tip of the iceberg bearing in mind that divorces be they civil or Muslim can be emotionally draining and lengthy complex legal procedures especially where parties disagree on the divorce or key aspects of their separation. Whichever the case, you need to consult with a reputable Muslim divorce Singapore lawyer.