The family law system in Singapore is based on the Westminster model. This means that the laws governing family matters are derived from England and Wales, but adapted to suit local conditions. Some of these laws include divorce, child custody and adoption.

Separation and Divorce

Separation and divorce are terms that refer to when a married couple decides to separate, or end their marriage. There are two types of separation: legal separation and judicial separation. Legal Separation means that you and your spouse have agreed to live apart for at-least 2 years with no intention of ever getting back together again. Judicial Separation means that one spouse sues for an order from the court stating how long they must remain separated before having a decree nisi issued against them which is essentially a notice saying “You’re divorced now”

Child Custody

Child custody is the right to have physical custody of a child. Child custody can be sole or joint, full or partial, supervised or unsupervised and shared by two parents.

  • Sole Custody: A parent who has sole legal custody of a child has unlimited access to their children and makes all major decisions concerning them.
  • Joint Custody: Parents split up responsibilities between them in regards to raising their children; one parent acts as a “primary caregiver” while other acts more like a “co-parent”.


Adoption is a legal process of transferring parental rights and responsibilities from one party to another. Adoptions can be long, complicated and expensive. They can also be emotionally taxing for all involved parties involved in the process, including birth parents and adoptive parents.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal Maintenance is a form of financial support for the spouse or partner who has been financially dependent on the other spouse. It can be awarded in addition to child support, property division and other forms of financial support.

Variation of Court Order

If you are asked to attend court and do not attend, the court will issue a summons to you. The summons may be issued by email or letter and will inform you that there has been an application made for an order to vary a court order. You can apply for an order to vary a child support scheme if:

  • You have been served with a notice requiring payment of child support under section 22;
  • The amount payable under your current child maintenance order has changed; or
  • Your circumstances have changed such that it no longer makes sense for people who were ordered not to pay maintenance anymore.

If you are considering a divorce and family law matter, You can get immediate legal assistance from a Singapore Family Lawyer. who will assist you in all aspects of the process from initial consultations to court appearances.