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About syariah divorce law

Syariah divorce in Singapore is governed under the provisions of the Administration of Muslim Law Act in Singapore. This is managed and handled by the Syariah Court of Singapore, which is a creature of statute under the Administration of Muslim Law Act.

The Syariah Court in general handles all matters relating to divorce and also issues Inheritance Certificates for estate and inheritance matters.

With regards to the divorce process, the request for a divorce hearing begins with the filing and submission of a properly completed Registration Form. This form can be downloaded from the Syariah Court website and is available in both English and Malay.

The Syariah Court will usually respond with and acknowledgement to confirm that the Registration has been submitted successfully and the case will then be referred to compulsory or mandatory counselling.

The time taken for getting a counselling appointment is usually 4 to 6 weeks from successful registration.

Syariah divorce process


Counselling is usually conducted by external agencies appointed by the Syariah Court. The minimum is usually to have 1 to 2 sessions of the same.

If parties are not able to reconcile and wish to continue to proceed with the divorce, the counsellor will issue a notice to proceed, and parties have a fixed period of 6 months from the date of the last counselling to file the Originating Summons in the Syariah Court.

Getting a lawyer

If you intend to obtain the services of a syariah lawyer in Singapore, this would be the best time to proceed with the engagement as your lawyer will then process and prepare all the necessary forms for the filing of the Originating Summons.

Depending on the nature of the divorce, there may be several issues to be addressed in the proceedings. This may include:

Ground for Divorce

In Singapore, there are 4 accepted grounds of divorce, Talak, Ta’lik, Fasakh and Khuluk.

Talak is when the husband in the marriage pronounces the divorce. This can be done prior to filing or in Court. It is a grounds for divorce that both the husband and the wife can rely on.

Ta’lik is when the Husband fails in his marriage obligations as agreed at the time of contracting the marriage. This usually includes an undertaking by the husband to not fail in properly providing for a wife, including her maintenance and shelter.

This is a ground for divorce that the wife can rely on, but which she has to prove.

Fasakh can be generalised as ill treatment off the wife by the husband. The Administration of Muslim Law Act has a non-exhaustive list of examples, including harming the wife or destroying the property of the wife.

This is a ground for divorce that the wife can rely on, but which she has to prove.

Children’s Issues

There are two main issues when it comes to children, Custody and Care & Control.

Custody referee to the long term decision making rights over the child, on issues such as healthcare, medical treatment, education and religion.

Custody is usually joint between the parties barring specific circumstances.

Care & Control refers to the daily care over the child. When deciding which party should have Care & Control, the Court’s paramount consideration will be the welfare and best interests of the child, I.e. who is the better care giver, not who wants of feels a need to look after the child.

Division of Matrimonial Property

In the normal scheme of things, Matrimonial Property to be divided includes the HDB property and also the CPF monies of the Husband. The court will make a finding of the parties respective contributions to the property and then decide on the appropriate distribution between the parties. There may be an uplift on the wife’s award, depending on her contributions.

Alimony Monies – Nafkah Iddah and Mutaah

Nafkah Iddah is the payment of a wife’s maintenance costs for three months post divorce. This is based on the religious requirement that she is not able to re-marry for those three months. This amount is usually fixed based on the financial capabilities of the husband.

Nafkah Mutaah is a payment as a consolatory gift between the husband and the wife. It is usually fixed by the court taking into consideration the length of the marriage. In arriving at the specific figure, the Court would have to balance between the financial capabilities of the husband and the social requirements of the wife.

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