Simplifying Divorce – What Should I Do?
During the divorce process, you’ll need to make many significant decisions that will affect your loved ones for years. At this stage, the more organised you are, the better the quality of your negotiations (and resulting settlement agreement) will be.
If you choose an experienced divorce lawyer to guide you through your proceedings, they’ll take you through a thorough discovery process to help you financially prepare for divorce negotiations. But some advanced financial planning before you start your divorce can go a long way.
Financial planning is critical if you are faced with the prospect of a divorce.
A new set of facts will force you to rethink your financial future in a fundamentally different way from what you were used to as a married couple.
Accurate information is critical to making informed decisions about your financial future. It is also important to remember that the legal and emotional aspects of your divorce will influence a lot of your financial decisions.
Read more: Avoiding Financial Mistakes in Your Divorce
Understanding the Divorce Process and Costs
During a divorce, there is much at stake; you will need to make decisions that are likely to impact every aspect of life in the future. The Singapore Divorce Lawyer blog can help inform you about all the steps involved in the divorce process.
There are many steps involved in getting a divorce in Singapore, including filing for divorce, attending mediation, and submitting documents. Preparation and knowledge will improve the quality of your negotiations.
"In this manner, individuals are able to identify issues they may not have been aware of previously" - Gloria James
Documenting the Family’s Financial Status
Before the divorce process begins, your divorce lawyer will need information about your marriage and its official documentation.
This documentation tells the story of what has happened in your marriage financially and in any other way.
The following is a list of information you need to disclose to your divorce lawyer:
- Current Assets and Liabilities, such as Properties, Credit Card Debts, and CPF Contributions
- Existing Wills
- Assets that are held in Sole or Joint Names
- Present Income from all Sources and IRAS Statements
- Bank Accounts held in Sole or Joint names
- Insurance and Savings Policies
- Everyday Expenses (e.g., Mobile Phones Bills, Clothing, Meals, Groceries, Vehicle Maintenance, Utilities, and Internet)
- School Fees, Tuition Bills, & Ongoing Education Finances
- Future Expenditure (Child’s Growing Needs)
There is also the possibility that you may have overlooked nonfinancial/indirect contributions that are eligible for property division.
Some often-overlooked assets include keepsakes, gifts exchanged between parties, family heirlooms, lottery winnings, and income from owned businesses.
Speaking to Your Spouse
Be mindful of your spouse’s mental state when you sit them down and tell them you want a divorce. Hearing “I want a divorce” can be unsettling, and most times, your spouse won’t be anticipating this, even if your relationship has been hitting some bumps.
It’s impossible to say how you and your spouse will feel at that moment and how they will engage. So, speak as you have prepared, and do not engage in taunts or insults.
Validating your spouse in their feelings of shock, anger, or sadness can help prevent the conversation from steering toward a blame game. Most importantly, it would make speaking to your spouse smoother if you accept responsibility and offer your understanding.
Read more: How to Tell your Spouse You want a Divorce
Settling Disputes on Children & Property
The most common areas of contention during divorce are disagreements about the care of the children and division of property.
Under current family law, there is a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility except in cases involving violence or child abuse. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 time split – arrangements will depend on what is practicable and in the child’s best interests.
When there is a dispute about the division of matrimonial assets, the Court will look at how much each party contributed directly to the assets. These would include documentary evidence of, for instance, the CPF account statement of the monies to show how much the party has paid towards the mortgage of the matrimonial property.
If there are any debts or obligations incurred by either party for their collective benefit or done in the interest of the children of the marriage, the court will consider them as a contributing factor in ascertaining the division of assets.
In light of the areas of contention above, it is important to know the baseline – what the best case and worst case scenarios are.
This involves going through your unique set of circumstances and analysing case precedents with your lawyer (i.e., what the Singapore Family Justice Court had ordered in previous cases with a similar factual matrix).
It is essential to manage your expectations and to have a realistic perspective of what both parties can ultimately obtain through the divorce proceedings.
Ultimately, the Court will consider each case on its own facts while comparing it with past cases.
Focusing on The Big Picture
The last tip for preparing for a divorce is to stay focused on the big picture.
The decisions you’ll need to make during the divorce will affect you and your children for years to come, so don’t get bogged down in fighting over semantics or trying to be right.
Nobody wins in divorce, but if you focus on what's most important, like the kids and your future, instead of the painful past, you'll have a much better chance of divorcing amicably and achieving a settlement agreement you feel comfortable with.
What can GJC Do to Help?
Our lawyers can advise you on related matters such as child custody, spousal support, and division of marital assets. As a starting point, we will advise you on how to avoid a contested divorce, which can be acrimonious, expensive, and lengthy.
Very often, through mediation, considerations for the children, and effective communication, our Singapore Divorce Lawyers see our clientele being able to set aside their irreconcilable differences with their spouse.
Our family law practitioners will offer a high standard of representation and compassionate guidance from the start to the end of your matter.
We are committed to providing you with the legal help you need when you need it most, regardless of your situation.