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This page describes the process for responding to a divorce application on a normal track.

Refer to File a divorce application (simplified track) if you and your spouse can reach an agreement on the divorce and all ancillary matters before filing the divorce papers.

Before you respond

Before you respond to your divorce papers, make sure you understand:

If the divorce papers are filed against you, you are the defendant.

Your spouse is the plaintiff.

Note
You do not need a lawyer to represent you in a divorce case. However, you may choose to engage one if you need independent legal advice on the merits of your case and the normal divorce process.

The courts are not able to provide legal advice or recommend lawyers. Find out where to get help.

Ways to respond

You may choose to respond to the divorce papers personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer. 

If you are representing yourself, you must file all documents via eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

You must follow Part 5 of Division 2 of the Family Justice Rules and the Family Justice Courts (FJC) Practice Directions to prepare your documents before heading down personally to do the filing.

You can respond to the divorce papers in the following ways:

If you wish to remain married to your spouse, you must defend the divorce by filing:

  • A Memorandum of Appearance (MOA) (Form 18, FJC Practice Directions) within 8 days (if you are located in Singapore) or within 21 days (if you are located outside of Singapore).
    • A copy of the MOA is one of the documents served on you together with the divorce papers.
  • A defence (or a defence and counterclaim) within 14 days of filing the MOA.
    • If you intend to file a counterclaim, you will have to attend the mandatory parenting programme (MPP) at the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and file the certificate of completion if you have any children under 21 years of age.
    • The plaintiff may file and serve a reply (or reply and defence to counterclaim) within 14 days after you serve your defence (or defence and counterclaim).
    • If the plaintiff files and serves a reply and defence to counterclaim, you may file a reply within 14 days.

Respond to the proposed parenting plan

If you have been served with the Plaintiff's Proposed Parenting Plan Form (Form 11, FJC Practice Directions), you may respond in the following ways:

Respond to the proposed matrimonial property plan

If you have been served with the Plaintiff's Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan Form (Form 14, FJC Practice Directions), you must obtain the relevant Central Provident Fund (CPF) statements and additional CPF information relating to your Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat within 14 days of filing the MOA.

After obtaining the necessary CPF documents, you may respond in the following ways:

Estimated fees

Refer to the following to find out the possible fees to file the documents. You may also refer to Part 6 of the Fifth Schedule of the Family Justice Rules for the full list of court fees.

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File the MOA

$7

File a defence (or a defence and counterclaim)

$7

File a reply

$7

File a Defendant’s Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan (with the Particulars of Housing Arrangement Form)

$7

File a Defendant's Agreement (Matrimonial Property Plan) (with the Particulars of Housing Arrangement Form)

$7

File a Defendant’s Proposed Parenting Plan

$7

File a Defendant's Agreement (Parenting Plan)

$7

After you file

After you have filed the relevant documents, the plaintiff may then inform the court that the divorce case is ready to be heard by filing a request for a hearing. This is known as setting down.

After the plaintiff has set down the case, the court will send a Registrar's Notice to notify the plaintiff and you (or your lawyers, if any) of the date to attend a court session known as a case conference.

The purpose of the case conference is to prepare both parties for the contested divorce hearing.

If the case is not set down

If the plaintiff does not set down the case within 6 weeks, the court will send a Registrar's Notice to notify the plaintiff and you (or your lawyers, if any) to attend a court session known as a status conference.

Only those directly involved in the matter can attend the status conference. Members of the public are not allowed to attend. You do not have to attend the status conference yourself if you have a lawyer. Similarly, if the defendant has a lawyer, their lawyer will attend the status conference.

Note
Some court sessions may be conducted virtually. The court will inform you if you do not need to attend court in person. Find out more about virtual court sessions.

At the status conference, the court may:

If you agree to the divorce but not to all the ancillary matters, you should file the Memorandum of Appearance (MOA) (Form 18, FJC Practice Directions) within 8 days (if you are located in Singapore) or within 21 days (if you are located outside of Singapore).

Your MOA should indicate your agreement for the court to hear the ancillary matters.

A copy of MOA should have been served on you together with the divorce papers.

Respond to the proposed parenting plan

If you have been served with the Plaintiff's Proposed Parenting Plan Form (Form 11, FJC Practice Directions), you may respond in the following ways:

Respond to the proposed matrimonial property plan

If you have been served with the Plaintiff's Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan Form (Form 14, FJC Practice Directions), you must obtain the relevant Central Provident Fund (CPF) statements and additional CPF information relating to your Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat within 14 days of filing the MOA.

After obtaining the necessary CPF documents, you may respond in the following ways:

Estimated fees

Refer to the following to find out the possible fees to file the documents You may also refer to Part 6 of the Fifth Schedule of the Family Justice Rules for the full list of court fees.

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File the MOA

$7

File a Defendant’s Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan (with the Particulars of Housing Arrangement Form)

$7

File a Defendant's Agreement (Matrimonial Property Plan) (with the Particulars of Housing Arrangement Form)

$7

File a Defendant’s Proposed Parenting Plan

$7

File a Defendant's Agreement (Parenting Plan)

$7

After you file

After you have filed the relevant documents, the plaintiff may inform the court that the divorce case is ready to be heard by filing a request for a hearing. This is known as setting down.

As you have indicated that in the MOA that you are not contesting the divorce, the case will be scheduled for an uncontested divorce hearing. It is only after the Interim Judgment is granted at the hearing will the court schedule a date to hear the ancillary matters.

If the case is not set down

If the plaintiff does not set down the case within 6 weeks, the court will send a Registrar's Notice to notify the plaintiff and you (or your lawyers, if any) to attend a court session known as a status conference.

Only those directly involved in the matter can attend the status conference. Members of the public are not allowed to attend. You do not have to attend the status conference yourself if you have a lawyer. Similarly, if the defendant has a lawyer, their lawyer will attend the status conference.

Note

Some court sessions may be conducted virtually. The court will inform you if you do not need to attend court in person. Find out more about virtual court sessions.

At the status conference, the court may:

If you do not respond

If you choose to ignore the divorce papers, the plaintiff is allowed to ask the court for the divorce case to be heard by filing a request for a hearing. This is known as setting down.

The court may then proceed to schedule a date for the divorce hearing, hear the case and grant an order for divorce known as an Interim Judgment in your absence.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

Resources

Refer to:

Refer to Part VI of the FJC Practice Directions for proceedings for the dissolution of marriage under Part X of Women’s Charter.
Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide

Understand the requirements for divorce

Attend mediation and counselling, if required

Attend an ancillary matters case conference

Attend an ancillary matters hearing

2021/07/23

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