Reasons Behind the Rise in Divorce Rates in Singapore

Reasons Behind the Rise in Divorce Rates in Singapore

In Singapore, there’s a significant uptick in divorce rates, an issue that’s become more pressing under the new divorce law. In fact, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics, there’s a % increase in divorce rate in the last 2 decades.

This trend isn’t just a mere figure; it reflects deep-seated societal shifts and personal challenges. Divorce, particularly in cases where kids are involved, is not a decision taken lightly. It’s a complex, multifaceted process, often wrought with emotional, financial, and social implications. The reasons behind this rise are varied, pointing to underlying issues ranging from personal conflicts to broader societal changes.

Common Legal Grounds for Divorce

Under the Singapore Women’s Charter, there is only one legal ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of marriage. This term encompasses several key facets, each representing situations where the marriage is deemed beyond repair. For those seeking the fastest way to divorce in Singapore, understanding these facets is crucial. They include:

Adultery: If one partner has committed adultery and the other finds it intolerable to continue living together, this constitutes grounds for divorce. The challenge often lies in proving the act of adultery, which can be a complex legal matter.

Unreasonable Behaviour: This is a broad category that includes a range of behaviours deemed to make living together unreasonable. It can cover issues like domestic abuse, habitual drunkenness or drug use, refusal to provide financial support, and more. The specifics of what constitutes unreasonable behaviour can vary, requiring a nuanced legal understanding.

Desertion: If one partner deserts the other for a continuous period of at least two years, this can be grounds for divorce. Desertion means that one spouse has left the marital home without the consent or agreement of the other, and with the intention to end the relationship.

Separation: In cases where couples have lived apart for a certain period—at least three years with mutual consent or four years without—this can be used as grounds for divorce. This separation must be continuous and demonstrate that the marital relationship has effectively ended.

Each of these facets represents a legal recognition of the challenges couples may face and provides a framework for legally concluding a marriage that is no longer tenable. Navigating these grounds requires careful consideration and often, the guidance of experienced family lawyers, especially in complex cases involving kids or substantial financial matters. Understanding these grounds is crucial for couples considering divorce, as it informs their legal strategy and preparation for the proceedings ahead.

Procedure to File for Divorce in Singapore

Filing for divorce in Singapore involves navigating a legal process with specific requirements, including a minimum duration of marriage and residency conditions. With the introduction of the new divorce law, the procedure has seen significant changes, particularly with the option of no-fault divorce. This development allows couples to proceed with a divorce without the necessity of proving fault or undergoing a period of separation, simplifying the process in certain cases.

Under the Divorce by Mutual Agreement law, couples seeking a divorce are required to demonstrate that they have been married for at least three years and have made attempts at reconciliation. In this arrangement, parties agree to a divorce based on “mutual agreement,” eliminating the need to assign blame or fault for the marriage’s dissolution. This approach can be less contentious and more straightforward, focusing on the agreement between the parties rather than the particulars of why the marriage failed.

This new facet of divorce law in Singapore represents a shift towards a more amicable approach to marital dissolution, emphasising mutual consent over fault-finding. However, the process can still vary in complexity, especially when factors like child custody, property division, and financial arrangements are involved. For couples contemplating this route, understanding these nuances is crucial. The official judiciary website provides comprehensive guidance on the procedure, offering valuable information for those navigating this challenging process.

Personal Reasons for Divorce

While legal grounds provide a framework for divorce, it’s often the personal factors that deeply influence a marriage and cause a divorce. These personal reasons are as varied and complex as the individuals involved in the relationship.

Lack of Intimacy

Intimacy, both emotional and physical, is a cornerstone of a healthy marriage. When this intimacy erodes, partners may feel a sense of isolation, as if living with a stranger rather than a life partner. The loss of closeness can stem from various factors, including busy lifestyles, emotional disconnect, or unresolved conflicts, leading to a chasm that becomes increasingly difficult to bridge.

Unmet Expectations

Expectations in a marriage, whether spoken or unspoken, play a crucial role in the health of the relationship. When these expectations are not met, it can lead to feelings of disappointment, resentment, and a sense of being undervalued or misunderstood. Over time, the accumulation of these unmet expectations can create a significant rift in the relationship, as each partner may feel that their needs and wants are consistently ignored or unaddressed.

Trust Issues

Trust is the foundation upon which all strong relationships are built. When trust is shattered, be it through infidelity, deceit, or even broken promises, the damage can be profound and lasting. Restoring trust requires time, effort, and often external assistance, and even then, some relationships may never fully recover from such breaches.

Lifestyle and Personality Clashes

As individuals grow and evolve, so do their lifestyles and personalities. When these changes lead to diverging paths or incompatible lifestyles, it can create significant friction in a marriage. What once was a harmonious relationship can turn into a constant struggle for common ground.

Stress and External Pressures

External stressors, including demanding careers, societal expectations, or familial obligations, can exert immense pressure on a marriage. These stressors can overshadow the needs of the relationship, leading to neglect, miscommunication, and resentment.

Addiction and Destructive Behaviours

When one partner is battling addiction or engaging in destructive behaviours, it places an enormous strain on the marriage. These issues not only disrupt daily life but also impede emotional connection and trust, often leading to a breakdown in the relationship.

Mental Health Issues

Mental health is critical to individual well-being and the health of a relationship. Untreated mental health issues can manifest in various ways, impacting communication, intimacy, and the overall dynamic of the marriage.

Cultural and Familial Differences

Marriages that bridge different cultural or familial backgrounds can face unique challenges. Misunderstandings arising from different cultural norms and expectations can create conflicts that are difficult to navigate without empathy, respect, and open communication.

Lack of Conflict Resolution Skills

The ability to resolve conflicts effectively is key to a healthy marriage. Lack of these skills can lead to a buildup of unresolved issues, resentment, and anger, eroding the relationship over time and making reconciliation increasingly challenging.

Independence and Autonomy

The desire for personal growth and independence is natural, but it can sometimes clash with marital commitments. When one or both partners feel confined by the marriage, it can lead to a desire for separation and a reevaluation of the relationship.

Incompatibility Over Time

People change, and these changes can lead to incompatibility in a marriage. What might have been a perfect match initially can evolve into a relationship where partners no longer share common goals, interests, or values.

Impact of Social Media and External Influence

The rise of social media has introduced a new dynamic into relationships. The constant comparison, unrealistic portrayals of ‘perfect relationships’, and external influences can impact a marriage by creating dissatisfaction and unrealistic expectations, contributing to its deterioration.

The Role of Counselling and Support in Divorce Matters

When it comes to marital discord, counselling and support emerge as pivotal tools, offering couples a path to navigate through their challenges with greater understanding and empathy. Professional counselling, such as marital counselling, serves as a critical resource, providing a neutral and safe space for couples to openly discuss and explore the issues straining their relationship.

In counselling sessions, trained therapists employ various approaches tailored to the specific needs and dynamics of the couple. These methods may include communication enhancement techniques, conflict resolution strategies, and emotional support mechanisms. Through these guided discussions and exercises, couples may learn the underlying issues that plague their relationship while also enhancing their communication skills so that they can express themselves constructively and emphatically.

For couples on the brink of divorce, counselling can serve two primary purposes. First, it can provide a last effort to salvage the marriage by helping partners reconcile differences and rekindle their connection. Alternatively, if divorce is the most viable option, counselling can help couples navigate the process amicably. It can assist in establishing a foundation for effective co-parenting, resolving lingering emotional issues, and parting ways on respectful terms.

Life after Divorce: What to Expect

The aftermath of a divorce, especially when kids are involved, brings a new set of challenges. Adjusting to life as a single parent, managing co-parenting responsibilities, and dealing with the emotional and financial changes post-divorce are significant aspects that need to be navigated with care and support. 

Individuals often face a period of adjustment where they learn to redefine their lives and identities outside the context of marriage. This transition can be complex, involving emotional healing, rediscovering personal goals, and establishing new routines. For parents, ensuring the well-being and stability of their children remains a top priority, often requiring open communication and collaboration with their former spouse.

Reflecting on Marital Dynamics and Moving Forward

Understanding the myriad reasons behind the rising divorce rates in Singapore – from legal grounds like the new no-fault divorce law to personal reasons such as lack of intimacy and the impact of social media – is crucial. It highlights the importance of addressing these issues in your marriage proactively, whether through open communication, counselling, or other supportive means. Recognising these factors not only aids in maintaining healthier relationships but also contributes to better societal well-being. If you’re facing marital difficulties, exploring options like counselling might provide a pathway to reconciliation or, at the very least, a more amicable separation.

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