Divorce is a time of distress, regardless whether you are the initiating party or not. In Singapore, divorce is made harder with a tough set of rules that is aimed at encouraging reconciliation. Therefore, it is crucial for anyone who is considering divorce to take note of the 10 important factors below.
- Evaluate if you have tried to salvage your relationship
Before you take any action on your notion in getting a divorce, this should be the first thing that you do. It is easy for anyone to decide on a divorce during times of distress or anger, but it will be a rash decision to make if you choose to do so without thinking it through rationally. Evaluate your relationship critically and decide if you have tried to salvage your relationship and failed. If your spouse had not respond appropriately to your attempts at salvaging the relationship, please read on and find out what you need to know before taking action in getting a divorce.
- Keep the best interest of your children in mind
If you have children, it is of utmost importance that you keep their best interest in mind when considering a divorce. They will be affected when you and your spouse divorce and begin to negotiate for custody. It is thus essential for you to consider their best interest before filing for divorce. Is a joint custody something you will want and accept? Singapore is well known for ruling for a joint or shared custody for the children, so it is necessary for you to decide before triggering a divorce. You should also look at your situation realistically and plan how to reduce the stress for your children.
- Take note of your family finances
You need to know as much about your family finances as possible when you are considering divorce. Start gathering copies of the income tax returns, bank accounts details, bank statements, credit card statements, investments portfolio, mortgage balance, value of your assets as well as depreciating liabilities such as a car. The clearer you are about your family finances, the better your position will be when you file for a divorce.
- Tabulate your own financial needs
If you are considering a divorce, you may want to list down your own financial needs and see if you will need to cut down on your expenses after the divorce. Importantly, set a budget that will see you through your personal expenses and the cost for your children. Next, you should also evaluate if your job is secure and if there will be huge amount of expenses in the foreseeable future.
- Decide if you would like to keep your matrimonial home
If you intend to fight for custody of your children, you need to think deeply about where you will stay. If you wish to keep your matrimonial home, you need to have enough money to pay off your spouse’s share of the house. If you decide to sell it, you need to have a solid plan of where you will be staying after the divorce so that your chance of getting custody is higher.
- Keep track of what is happening at home
Document everything that is happening at home so that you can present them as evidence during the divorce process. Note down how much time you spend with the children and how much time your spouse spend with the children. You can even note down the time you spend to clean the house or wash the car. All these can become your allies during the child custody process.
- Be honest with yourself regarding domestic violence and adultery
Domestic violence can take many forms. It can be physical, mental and verbal. If you are facing domestic violence, harassment or parental alienation at home, you need to keep track of the incidents. If you suspect that your spouse is having an affair, keep any evidence (electronic communication, receipts of possible gifts, etc) that you can find. Additionally, avoid any form of confrontation to prevent your spouse from accusing you of domestic violence in return during the divorce.
- Decide what you want to do after the divorce
If you have been a stay at home mum or have given up your personal life in order to provide for the family, you should think about what you want to do after the divorce. Plan out where you will like to be in the next one year, five years and even ten years. Get an idea of what you want to do for yourself, and decide if you will like the life you envision. Be honest with yourself, because once the divorce is initiated, your present lifestyle is going to change drastically, whether you like it or not.
- Create a support system for yourself
Before you go ahead with any serious decision, you should speak to people whom you can trust. Find your support system first, be it your family members, relatives or friends. These people will support you emotionally during the gruelling divorce process. However, be aware that these people will try to give you kindly advice in their own ways. Be firm with your own decision, when you have cleared all doubts from your mind.
- Speak to an experienced divorce lawyer
This is the most significant factor in this list. If you are intending on filing for divorce, you must speak to an experienced divorce lawyer. If you have children and decide to fight for child custody, ensure that your lawyer is experienced in child custody. The lawyer whom you speak to must be someone you feel comfortable with. You have to understand the divorce process and learn more about the strategy that your family lawyer will take. Additionally, find out the costs of litigation and any additional cost that might surface during the divorce process.
Divorce is never an easy decision to make, but if you have gone through these 10 factors and decide that you truly want a divorce, the experienced team of family lawyers at GJC Law can give you advice and guide you through the divorce process.