Receiving divorce papers

If you or your lawyer (if any) have received the following divorce papers, it means that your spouse has started divorce proceedings against you:

The Writ for Divorce

Form 3, Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015

The Statement of Claim

Form 6, Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015

A Statement of Claim states the relief for ancillary matters the plaintiff is seeking from you.

The Statement of Particulars

Form 8, Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015.

A Statement of Particulars explains the facts of how your marriage has irretrievably broken down (as stated in the Statement of Claim) and details of any pending bankruptcy proceedings (if applicable).

(If you have any children under 21 years of age) The Plaintiff's Proposed Parenting Plan Form

Form 11, Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015.


(If you have any children under 21 years of age)
Certificate of completion for the Mandatory Co-Parenting Programme (CPP)

It is compulsory for you to attend the CPP conducted by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) before filing for a divorce.

(If you own a Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat with the plaintiff) The Plaintiff's Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan Form

Form 14, Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015

You may wish to contact the HDB on your options regarding the flat.

The Memorandum of Appearance (Defendant) Form

Form 18, Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015


The Acknowledgment of Service (Defendant) Form

Form 17, Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015


What is a normal divorce

A divorce application will proceed on a normal track if both parties have not been able to agree on any of the following:

  • The marriage has irretrievably broken down.
  • All ancillary matters such as children's care arrangements (if applicable), maintenance and the division of matrimonial assets.

A divorce application on a normal track has 2 stages as follows:

  • The first stage deals with the divorce.
  • The second stage deals with the ancillary matters.

A divorce application on a normal track may take 12 to 18 months to conclude, is much more expensive compared to a divorce application on a simplified track and comes at a great personal cost to everyone involved.

It is therefore best for parties (and their children) if they can agree on how to move forward with a divorce.

Respond to a divorce application (normal track) step-by-step

This is the process of responding to divorce papers for a divorce application on a normal track.

If you are the party against whom the divorce application is filed, you are the defendant.

Your spouse is the plaintiff. Refer to File a divorce application (normal track) instead if you intend to file a divorce application.

Before filing

Understand the requirements for divorce

Find out if you are eligible to file for divorce in the Family Courts, the facts you can rely on in support of your divorce and the ancillary matters relating to the divorce you have to consider.

Upon receiving divorce papers

Respond to divorce papers

Understand what you should do after divorce papers have been served on you.

Submit Joint Triage Checklist

You will be notified by the court to submit a Joint Triage Checklist. This is an online questionnaire which serves to help the court better understand your family’s current situation.

After the case is set down

At a divorce hearing

Depending on how you respond to the divorce papers, the court will schedule a contested or uncontested divorce hearing. If the court grants the divorce at the hearing, the plaintiff will then extract the Interim Judgment.

Attend mediation and counselling, if required

The court will direct you and the plaintiff to attend mediation and counselling at the Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Division if you have any child under the age of 21.

Going to court for ancillary matters proceedings

Attend an ancillary matters case conference

The second stage of your divorce case takes place when the court schedules a case conference for the ancillary matters that you and the defendant cannot agree upon.

Attend an ancillary matters hearing

Once all the necessary documents are filed, the case will proceed for an ancillary matters hearing.

After the court makes the orders for ancillary matters

File an appeal, if needed

If you are not satisfied with the orders made by the court during the ancillary matters hearing, you may file an appeal to the Family Division of the High Court within 14 days of the date of the order.


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

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


Refer to:

Refer to Part VI of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015 for proceedings for the dissolution of marriage under Part 10 of the Women’s Charter.

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