Muslim Divorce in Singapore

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Divorce under Muslim Law

According to the religious teachings of Islam, Syariah law is not only considered an infallible law of God but is also regarded as a religious law that all Muslims should adhere to. It contains a list of ethical and moral codes that govern the fundamentals for mental, physical, and spiritual behaviors that all Muslim individuals must follow.

The Syariah court has the jurisdiction to hear divorce applications, and there are certain grounds for the dissolution of a Muslim marriage. If a husband is seeking a Muslim divorce in Singapore, he does not necessarily need to have any grounds for the divorce.

The reason for this is their right to pronounce a divorce or ‘talak’, an Arabic term that loosely translates into ‘to release’ or ‘to divorce’. It essentially means that the husband has the right to divorce his wife without having to prove anything to get one.

However, a divorce pronounced without any grounds can affect the man in terms of the nafkah iddah and mutaah the wife can receive from him. This also may affect the access he has to his children after the divorce. As of 22 October 2018, Muslim men have the option to apply (to the Syariah court) for a Muslim divorce in Singapore as a plaintiff without the need to pronounce a talak.

If the wife is applying for a divorce under Muslim law, she has three options for grounds for divorce:

  • Khuluk
  • Cerai taklik
  • Fasakh

However, if the wife has the consent of her husband to divorce, in this case, the Court will order the husband to pronounce the divorce.

Khuluk is defined as a divorce by redemption or compensation, referring to the wife’s right to seek a Muslim divorce in Singapore. In this case, the woman will be responsible for paying a sum of money as a redemption or compensation upon the mutual agreement of both parties.

Cerai taklik is a divorce that occurs due to a breach of the marriage conditions. In the wife’s application for the dissolution of marriage, she will be required to provide proof that her husband breached the taklik, which is a conditional marriage stipulation. These stipulations are usually cited by the husband at the time of contracting a marriage. These are generally listed on their Marriage Certificate.

Fasakh is termed as an annulment of marriage, and under the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), there are specific conditions in which a fasakh can be granted. Some of them include the following:

  • Ill-treatment: If the husband has habitually assaulted the wife or he has cohabitated with another woman who is not his wife.
  • Estrangement: If the wife has been estranged from her husband without a maintenance provision for over three months.
  • Imprisonment: If the husband has been jailed for a period of  three years or upwards and his sentence is final.
  • Impotency: If the husband has been impotent during their marriage and continues to be so.
  • Insanity: If her husband is insane or suffering from a chronic condition that cannot be cured or takes a long time to treat, resulting in the marriage being harmful to the wife.

Upon filing for a Muslim divorce in Singapore, both parties will be required to undergo the following:

  • Counseling: This mandatory session must be attended by both the husband and wife to try to save the marriage.
  • Parenting program: If they have a child who is under 21, both parties must attend this program.
  • Mediation: This is carried out for the purpose of discussing the divorce and ancillary issues, including nafkah iddah and mutaah payments, child custody, and matrimonial property division.
  • Pre-trial conference: If mediation does not result in an agreement, the Syariah court will fix a date to discuss the divorce proceedings as well as to explain what is to be expected at the trial.
  • Trial: If both parties have Muslim divorce lawyers in SG to represent them, the husband and wife, as well as their lawyers, will be required to attend the trial.

Once the Syariah court has given its decision regarding the divorce and ancillary matters, either party has the right to file an appeal with the Appeal Board if they are unhappy with the verdict. This appeal must be done within 30 days from the date of the decision.

The decision to divorce is not an easy one to make, and it is a complex legal process that requires guidance from experts who can help you achieve a successful resolution with the consideration of your legal and emotional needs.

With nearly 28 years following the establishment of our law firm, A. Rohim Noor Lila LLP will not only ensure that your interests are represented but that you also have a hassle-free process as possible. Get in touch with us to discuss how our leading Muslim divorce lawyers in Singapore can help you.