An annulment is a legal process that officially dissolves your marriage. Unlike a divorce however, an annulment declares that your marriage effectively never existed. After completing a successful annulment, both parties marital status effectively returns to “single”.

In Singapore law, a divorce requires that you are married for at least 3 years before filing. With an annulment however, you can file to annul your marriage even if you haven’t been married for the minimum 3 year period.

Getting an annulment is not straightforward. One person must begin the process with a writ on the grounds the marriage is either voidable or void. Possible reasons that a marriage is void can include:

  • One person is already married.
  • Someone is under 18 and has not been authorised to get married.
  • Marriages between Muslims that are registered/solemnised under civil law.
  • Where the marriage was not properly solemnised.
  • The parties in the marriage are closely related by blood.

Voidable marriage examples include:

  • The wife was already pregnant by another man at the time of the marriage.
  • Due to one or both parties’ incapacity, the marriage has not been consummated.
  • One party wilfully refuses to consummate the marriage.
  • The marriage has come about without valid consent due to one party consenting under a mental disorder, mistake, or duress.

If the matter is uncontested, the annulment process takes 4-6 months. It is advisable to discuss your situation with a lawyer to determine the likely success of your case.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between an annulment and divorce?

The main difference between an annulment and a divorce is that a divorce ends a legally valid marriage, whilst an annulment declares a marriage to have been legally invalid.

If you are successful in annulling your marriage, both parties marital status effectively returns to “single”. In a divorce, both parties are referred to as “divorcees”.

What is the process for marriage annulment?

The process involves two main steps:

Firstly, you must submit your grounds for seeking an annulment, along with the appropriate proof. After this, you may be granted an Interim Judgment.

Secondly, you will settle ancillary matters surrounding any division of property and maintenance. The court may then grant a Judgment of Nullity.

One this judgment is delivered, your marriage will be officially annulled.

How long does the annulment process take?

Assuming that the process is uncontested, i.e., both you and your spouse are in agreement, you will be able to set a court hearing date. If the court is convinced by your case, you will be granted an Interim Judgment.

The final Judgment of Nullity can only be granted at least 3 months after the Interim Judgment is granted, and only if the ancillary matters have also been settled.

On average, an uncontested annulment takes around 4-5 months.

If your spouse contests the annulment, the process may take significantly longer, and will depend on the complexity of your case.

Do I need a lawyer to annul my marriage?

Technically you can file for an annulment yourself, without the help of a lawyer, but it is a complex legal process, including the drafting and submission of a number of documents.

It is highly advisable to discuss your case with a lawyer before proceeding.

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