If parties wish to live apart permanently but do not wish to commence divorce proceedings for various reasons, then you may make an application to Court for Judicial Separation.
A Judicial Separation is divorce from bed and board, this means that the couple won’t have to live with each other or continue to have a relationship with each other as a married couple. Reasons for why parties may not want to get a divorce but opt for a Judicial Separation include religious commitments, moral grounds, societal norms or responsibility of their children.
A decree of Judicial Separation is a court order similar to a divorce, under which the couple remains legally separated but not divorced. In Singapore a couple has to follow certain obligations to be eligible for a Judicial Separation. The couple should be married legally for a period of 3 years; otherwise they will not qualify for Separation. There are exceptional circumstances to this rule, where events of such gravitas permit, the courts may consider the case for early Separation. If a spouse engages in illegal activities, adultery or domestic violence such that the party becomes unbearable to live with, these would be reasons sufficient for a Judicial Separation.
After the Judicial Separation is granted, parties’ normal marital obligations cease and they no longer have to go on living together. However, a judgment of Judicial Separation granted by the court does not allow parties to remarry.
The court has the same range of powers as in divorce cases to issue orders on dividing the matrimonial property and providing for the custody and maintenance of children.