Family Justice Courts Practice Directions

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Part VI – Proceedings for the Dissolution of Marriage under Part X of Women’s Charter

14. Particulars of Statement of Claim

Bankruptcy status of both parties

(1) The Plaintiff must conduct a bankruptcy search on the Defendant.

(2) (deleted)

(3) The Plaintiff must state the bankruptcy status of both parties in the Statement of Particulars with the relevant details as specified in sub-paragraph (5) below.

(4) (deleted)

Statement of Particulars

(5) The Statement of Particulars to be filed pursuant to rule 44(1)(b) of the Family Justice Rules must state the following information:

Bankruptcy Status

(a) whether the Plaintiff is a bankrupt;

(b) whether there are pending bankruptcy proceedings filed against the Plaintiff and if so, to state the details of such proceedings, such as the originating summons number, the type of bankruptcy proceedings (e.g. creditor’s or debtor’s bankruptcy application), the creditor(s), the amount of the Plaintiff’s debt, the stage of proceedings, etc.;

(c) whether the bankruptcy search conducted in relation to the Defendant shows that he is a bankrupt or that there are pending bankruptcy proceedings filed against the Defendant;

Domicile

(d) where the Plaintiff claims the court has jurisdiction based on domicile and neither the Plaintiff nor the Defendant is a Singapore citizen, to state the basis for claiming domicile in Singapore;

Habitual Residence

(e) where the Plaintiff claims the court has jurisdiction based on either party’s or both parties’ habitual residence in Singapore, to state the relevant details of the habitual residence, including the address(es) and duration of residence;

Separation

(f) where a statement of claim pleads facts that are based on section 95(3)(d) or (e) of the Women’s Charter (Cap. 353) (i.e. 3 years’ separation with consent and 4 years’ separation respectively), the Statement of Particulars must specifically contain the following particulars:

(i) the date which the Plaintiff and the Defendant commenced their separation;

(ii) the reasons for both parties’ intention to commence separation;

(iii) the duration of the separation;

(iv) the residential address of each party during the period of separation (if known); and

(v) if the parties have been living in separate households under the same roof for the period of the separation, to give details on how the parties have been living in separate households.

(6) The Statement of Particulars must include the following documents as annexures:

(a) a copy of the marriage certificate, including a translation thereof if it is not in the English language;

(b) a copy of the Defendant’s Consent to Grant Judgment on Three Years’ Separation in Form 192 of Appendix A to these Practice Directions (where relevant);

(c) a copy of the bankruptcy search against the Plaintiff showing the results of the search (e.g. whether the search is negative or if it shows that the Plaintiff is a bankrupt or that there are pending bankruptcy proceedings against the Plaintiff); and

(d) a copy of the bankruptcy search against the Defendant showing the results of the search (e.g. whether the search is negative or if it shows that the Defendant is a bankrupt or that there are pending bankruptcy proceedings against the Defendant).

(7) The bankruptcy search must be conducted for the year in which the Writ for Divorce is filed as well for the years that the search indicates that there were bankruptcy proceedings against the Plaintiff or Defendant.

Counterclaim

(8) The Counterclaim to be filed pursuant to rule 56(4) of the Family Justice Rules must state the following information:

(a) whether the Defendant is a bankrupt; and

(b) whether there are pending bankruptcy proceedings filed against the Defendant and if so, to state the details of such proceedings, such as the originating summons number, the type of bankruptcy proceedings (e.g. creditor’s or debtor’s bankruptcy application), the creditor(s), the amount of the Defendant’s debt, the stage of proceedings, etc.

15. Request for simplified hearing track for divorce proceedings where parties have agreed on ancillary matters

(1) Where parties to any divorce proceedings, having reached an agreement on the ancillary matters, agree to proceed with the divorce proceeding on an uncontested basis, they may request that the divorce proceedings be dealt with on a simplified hearing track.

(2) The simplified hearing track is available where —

(a) the parties have reached an agreement through a Collaborative Family Practice process (CFP), whether conducted by the Singapore Mediation Centre or through private mediators using the CFP; or

(b) the parties have negotiated privately and reached an agreement with or without the assistance of counsel.

(3) For the purpose of subparagraph (2)(a), the Collaborative Family Practice (CFP) is a process in which a trained counsel, i.e. the collaborative counsel, represents a party only in negotiations aimed exclusively at settlement. The CFP aims to achieve a consensual solution for family law related disputes without resort to litigation. Where the negotiations fail, the collaborative counsel will then withdraw from acting for the party concerned in order that that party may engage a new counsel to pursue the case through litigation.

(4) Where —

(a) the negotiations lead to a settlement;

(b) the parties agree to proceed with an uncontested divorce and also file a draft consent order in respect of to the ancillary matters; and

(c) the requisite documents are in order,

the Court will fix the divorce proceedings filed pursuant to the settlement, for hearing on an uncontested basis upon the filing of the divorce proceedings.

How to apply for simplified uncontested divorce proceedings (5) When filing the divorce proceedings, the applicant must select “Simplified” as the type of filing.

(6) The following documents must be filed together with the Writ for Divorce:

(a) Statement of Claim (the orders sought for the ancillary issues as agreed must be typed into the template fields for the ancillary prayers);

(b) Statement of Particulars with the following annexures:-

(i) the draft Interim Judgment with agreed ancillary issues in compliance with subparagraph 116(5) of these Practice Directions;

(ii) the bankruptcy searches of both parties, conducted in accordance with Paragraph 14(7) above;

(iii) the consent from Defendant to the simplified uncontested divorce in Form 193 of Appendix A;

(iv) a copy of the Marriage Certificate;

(v) CPF Checklist for Consent Orders, in compliance with Paragraph 116(1)(d) of these Practice Directions, if applicable.

(c) Request for Setting Down Trial for Action (in Form 29 of Appendix A to these Practice Directions); and

(d) Plaintiff’s Affidavit of Evidence in Chief.

(7) If the divorce is to be granted based on a Claim and Counterclaim, the following documents must be filed by the Defendant within 3 working days from the filing of the Writ:

(a) Counterclaim; and

(b) Defendant’s Affidavit of Evidence in Chief.

(8) In the event that subparagraph (7) is not complied with, the Court may proceed to make the appropriate orders or directions notwithstanding the failure, such as adjourning the divorce hearing or granting the interim judgment only on the claim.

16. Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan and Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan

(1) Rule 46(3)(b) of the Family Justice Rules provides that the plaintiff shall serve a copy of the agreed matrimonial property plan on the Housing and Development Board (“HDB”) prior to the filing of the agreed matrimonial property plan.

(2) Where parties have agreed that the HDB matrimonial asset is to be retained by one party (that is, Option 4 or 5 in Form 13 of Appendix A), the party seeking to file the agreed matrimonial property plan shall serve the “Request for Checking of Eligibility” in accordance with Form 194 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions on the HDB in addition to the agreed matrimonial property plan. The agreed matrimonial property plan and Form 194 shall be served on the HDB at —

(a) the Branch Office which is in charge of the estate where the HDB flat is located, where the HDB matrimonial asset is an HDB flat; and

(b) the Sales Section at HDB Centre, where the HDB matrimonial asset is an Agreement for the Lease of an HDB flat.

(3) Where the HDB matrimonial asset is an HDB flat, the information required to complete the proposed Matrimonial Property Plan in Form 14 may be obtained via the online service provided by HDB at “My HDBPage” found at www.hdb.gov.sg.

(4) The relevant CPF statements referred to in rules 46 and 56 of the Family Justice Rules are statements which show—

(a) the amount of CPF monies and the amount of accrued interest thereon utilised by the party towards the purchase of any HDB flat (i.e. the Public Housing Scheme - Withdrawal Statement);

(b) the amount of CPF monies standing in the party’s ordinary, medisave, special and retirement (if any) accounts respectively (i.e. the Statement of Account); and

(c) whether the CPF member had pledged the HDB flat in lieu of setting aside the Retirement Sum or any part thereof in his / her CPF Retirement Account and if yes, the amount of pledged Retirement Sum and the accrued interest (this is applicable to CPF members aged 55 and above only).

(5) The additional CPF information referred to in rules 46 and 56 of the Family Justice Rules are statements which show, amongst other things, whether there is any amount which the CPF member must set aside or top up to his CPF Retirement Account when he/she sells, transfers or otherwise disposes of his/her HDB flat and if yes, the amount (this is applicable to CPF members aged 55 and above).

(6) The relevant CPF statements may be obtained in the following manner —

(a) by using the Statement Request, an online service provided in the CPF website at http://www.cpf.gov.sg, (“the CPF website”); or

(b) by attending, either personally or through an authorised representative, at any of the CPF Board offices and making a personal request for the relevant CPF statements, for which purpose a party or his authorised representative is to produce, for the CPF Board’s verification —

(i) the National Registration Identity Card or passport of the party; and

(ii) where applicable, the original letter of authorisation signed by the party (i.e. the CPF member) and the National Registration Identity Card or passport of the authorised representative.

(7) The additional CPF information may be obtained by serving the original copy of Form 197 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions on the CPF Board at the Public Housing Section Novena Square Office of the CPF Board. Solicitors who wish to complete Form 197 on behalf of their clients shall annex a covering letter to Form 197 stating that they are the solicitors representing the CPF member for whom the enquiries are made. The CPF Board shall give the respective parties the written answers to the request for additional CPF information within one month of the service of Form 197.

(8) The date of the relevant CPF statements obtained must be no earlier than 3 months from the date of the filing of the writ.

(9) The replies of the HDB and the relevant CPF statements shall be retained by the parties and shown to the Court at the mediation or hearing of the ancillary matters, if necessary.

17. Status conferences

(1) Status conferences will be conducted for matrimonial proceedings under Part X of the Women’s Charter before the case is set down for hearing.

(2) Status conferences are conducted for the purposes of ensuring that cases are dealt with and disposed of without delay and to assign time frames for the disposition of cases.

(3) At the status conference, the matters to be considered include the following:

(a) service of the writ and the affidavit of service;

(b) filing of all necessary documents;

(c) the likelihood of settlement;

(d) ages of the child / children of the marriage;

(e) directions for parties to exchange a list of relevant information on the ancillary issues;

(f) directions for parties to attend mandatory counselling and mediation at the at the Family Justice Courts;

(g) the dates of the mediation and counselling sessions;

(h) the date of setting down; and

(i) the necessity (if any) to transfer the proceedings to the Family Division of the High Court for hearing and determination.

(4) To facilitate a more effective and expedient processing of cases and to reduce the number of court attendances, a Registrar’s Notice (“the First Status Conference Notice”) in the format as set out in Form 198 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions will be sent to the plaintiff within 6 weeks directing the plaintiff either —

(a) to set down the case for hearing by a stipulated date if the pleadings are closed; or

(b) to inform the Court of the status of the matter if the pleadings are not closed, for which purpose —

(i) the requisite information shall be given in Form 199 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions and shall be sent to the Court within 7 days of the First Status Conference Notice; and

(ii) upon receipt of Form 199, the Court will consider the reasons stated in the form and may make the appropriate directions for the matter.

(5) If the plaintiff fails to set down and to reply to the First Status Conference Notice in accordance with sub-paragraph (4) above, a Second Status Conference Notice in Form 200 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions shall be sent directing the plaintiff to set down the matter by a stipulated date, failing which the plaintiff is to attend a Status Conference.

(6) Where a case is set down for hearing before a status conference, the status conference will be vacated.

18. Uncontested Matrimonial Proceedings in Chambers

(1) In uncontested matrimonial proceedings under section 95 and section 101, Part X of the Women’s Charter (Cap 353), the Court may dispense with the attendance of counsel and parties at the uncontested divorce hearing.

(2) The party filing the Request for Setting Down Action for Trial on an uncontested basis shall, at the same time, file the following:

(a) where the plaintiff is proceeding on the statement of claim, the Affidavit of Evidence in Chief in Form 201 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions to attest to the veracity of the contents found in the statement of claim and statement of particulars;

(b) where the defendant is proceeding on the counterclaim, the Affidavit of Evidence in Chief in Form 202 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions to attest to the veracity of the contents of the counterclaim;

(c) where there is a Private Investigator’s (PI) report to be adduced as evidence, the Affidavit of Evidence in Chief of the PI exhibiting the PI report;

(d) the draft consent order, in compliance with Paragraph 116(5) of these Practice Directions, incorporating the terms of the agreement, if any;

(e) CPF Checklist for Consent Orders, in compliance with Paragraph 116(1)(d) of these Practice Directions, if applicable; and

(f) Form 203 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions, a copy which shall be sent to the other party at the same time by the filing party.

(3) Where the documents are in order, the court may proceed to grant the relevant orders in chambers without requiring the attendance of the parties.

(4) Notwithstanding the above, the Court has the discretion to fix the matter for open court hearing and require the attendance of parties.

(5) This procedure shall be complied with by counsel acting for the party filing the Request for Setting Down Action for Trial in all applicable cases unless an application for exemption is submitted citing special grounds (for example where parties wish to make any further application related to the grant of an interim judgment, including applications for abridgment of time).

(6) If parties are applying for an exemption under sub-paragraph (5) above, the party filing the Request for Setting Down Action for Trial on an uncontested basis shall, at the same time, file Form 204 instead of Form 203 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions.

19. Uncontested Matrimonial Proceedings in open court hearings

(1) In uncontested matrimonial proceedings under sections 105 and 106, Part X of the Women’s Charter (Cap 353), the party filing the Request for Setting Down Action for Trial on an uncontested basis shall, at the same time, file the following:

(a) where the plaintiff is proceeding on the statement of claim, the Affidavit of Evidence in Chief in Form 201 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions to attest to the veracity of the contents found in the statement of claim and statement of particulars;

(b) where the defendant is proceeding on the counterclaim, the Affidavit of Evidence in Chief in Form 202 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions to attest to the veracity of the contents of the counterclaim;

(c) where there is a Private Investigator’s (PI) report to be adduced as evidence, the Affidavit of Evidence in Chief of the PI exhibiting the PI report;

(d) the draft consent order, in compliance with Paragraph 116(5) of these Practice Directions, incorporating the terms of the agreement, if any;

(e) CPF Checklist for Consent Orders, in compliance with Paragraph 116(1)(d) of these Practice Directions, if applicable; and

(f) Form 204 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions, a copy of which shall be sent to the other party at the same time by the filing party.

(2) For the open court hearings of uncontested matrimonial proceedings under section 105 and 106, Part X of the Women’s Charter or pursuant to Paragraphs 18(4) and 18(5) above, there is no need for the plaintiff to be made to confirm every paragraph of the statement of claim and statement of particulars. Counsel will only need to put to the plaintiff in the witness box the questions which will prove the following matters:

(a) the marriage;

(b) the particulars of the children (if any);

(c) the ground on which the action is founded; and

(d) the reliefs claimed.

(3) For this purpose and to facilitate the proceedings, counsel should supply a copy each of the statement of claim and statement of particulars to their respective clients.

(4) If parties have reached an ancillary matters agreement, and intend to have it recorded at the open court hearing, counsel shall file the draft consent order, in compliance with Paragraph 116(5) of these Practice Directions, incorporating the terms of the said agreement at least 7 working days prior to the open court hearing. The document name selected for the draft consent order in the Electronic Filing Service shall be “Draft Consent Order”.

(5) Notwithstanding the adoption of this simplified procedure, counsel will still be expected to bring to the attention of the Court any specific matters in connection with or arising from the proceedings of which the Court should be aware. In particular, if section 123 of the Women’s Charter is applicable, the Directions set out in Paragraph 10 of these Practice Directions shall be complied with.

20. Documents for use in trials of contested matrimonial proceedings under Part X of the Women’s Charter (Cap 353)

(1) This Paragraph shall apply to trials of contested matrimonial proceedings. For matrimonial proceedings filed before 1 April 2006, any reference in this Paragraph to the plaintiff and defendant shall be read as a reference to the petitioner and respondent respectively.

(2) To improve the conduct of contested matrimonial proceedings and to reduce the time taken in the presentation of cases in Court, the following documents shall be prepared by the respective solicitors of the parties:

(a) a bundle of documents (an agreed bundle where possible);

(b) a bundle of authorities; and

(c) an opening statement.

Bundle of documents

(3) Documents to be used at trial should be consolidated into bundles paginated consecutively throughout at the top right hand corner. An index of contents of each bundle in the manner and form set out in Form 205 of Appendix A must also be furnished. No bundle of documents is necessary in cases where parties are not relying on any document at the trial.

(4) It is the responsibility of solicitors for all parties to agree and prepare an agreed bundle as soon as possible. The scope to which the agreement extends must be stated in the index sheet of the agreed bundle.

(5) In cases where certain documents cannot be agreed upon, these should be separately bundled as the plaintiff’s bundle, the defendant’s bundle or such other party’s bundle as the case may be.

(6) The documents in the bundles should —

(a) be firmly secured together with plastic ring binding or plastic spine thermal binding. The rings or spines should be red for plaintiffs and blue for defendants with a transparent plastic cover in front and at the back;

(b) have flags to mark out documents to which repeated references will be made in the course of the hearing. Such flags shall bear the appropriate indicium by which the document is indicated in the index of contents. Flags shall be spaced out evenly along the right side of the bundle so that as far as possible they do not overlap one another; and

(c) be legible. Clear legible photocopies of original documents may be exhibited instead of the originals provided the originals are made available for inspection by the other parties before the hearing and by the Judge at the hearing.

(7) Where originals and copies of documents are included in one bundle, it should be stated in the index which documents are originals and which are copies.

(8) Only documents which are relevant or necessary for the trial shall be included in the bundles. In cases where the Court is of the opinion that costs have been wasted by the inclusion of unnecessary documents, the Court will have no hesitation in making a special order for costs against the relevant person.

(9) A core bundle should (unless clearly unnecessary) also be provided containing the most important documents upon which the case will turn or to which repeated reference will have to be made. The documents in this bundle should normally be paginated but should also be cross-referenced to copies of the documents included in the main bundles. The bundle supplied to the Court should be contained in a loose-leaf file which can easily have further documents added to it if required.

(10) The bundles of documents including the agreed bundle and core bundle, if applicable, shall be filed and served on all relevant parties at least 3 days before trial.

Bundle of authorities

(11) The requirements set out in Paragraph 90(9) to (11) shall, with the necessary modifications, be complied with in respect of proceedings falling within this Paragraph.

Opening statements

(12) The requirements set out in Paragraph 90(12) shall, with the necessary modifications, be complied with.

Timeline for tendering documents

(13) Paragraphs 90(13) and 90(14) shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to proceedings to which this Paragraph applies.

21. Affidavit of Assets and Means

(1) The Affidavit of Assets and Means (“AOM”) to be filed pursuant to rule 89 of the Family Justice Rules shall be in Form 206 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions.

(2) The list of documents to be produced by each of the parties and exhibited to the AOM shall, where relevant, be as follows:

(a) the party’s payslips for the last 6 months before the filing of the AOM;

(b) the party’s evidence of employment, as well as evidence confirming his or her salary (eg. a letter from the party’s employer or a copy of an employment contract);

(c) the party’s Notice of Assessment of Income for the past 3 years before the filing of the AOM;

(d) if the party is an undischarged bankrupt, the Statement of Affairs and the latest Income and Expenditure Statement filed with the Official Assignee;

(e) the party’s updated Central Provident Fund (“CPF”) statements (which must be dated not more than 2 weeks before the filing of the AOM), showing contributions made by the party towards the purchase of any immoveable property and the balances in the party’s CPF accounts (if any);

(f) the party’s updated CPF Investment Account statements (which must be dated not more than 2 weeks before the filing of the AOM);

(g) the party’s Central Depository (Pte) Ltd (“CDP”) statements (if any);

(h) a copy of an updated search result made with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”) in respect of any businesses owned by the party (which must be dated not more than 2 weeks before the filing of the AOM);

(i) a copy of any valuation report or transaction search in respect of any immoveable properties owned by the party;

(j) a copy of any tenancy agreement, hire purchase agreement, insurance policy or any letter from any insurance company showing the surrender value of any insurance policy of the party;

(k) the party’s list of monthly expenses for himself or herself and / or the parties’ child(ren) such as utilities bills, telephone bills, school fees, etc,;

(l) documents and receipts to prove the monthly expenses of the party and / or the parties’ child(ren);

(m) the party’s updated bank passbooks and / or bank statements (including sole and joint accounts) showing the party’s banking transactions and account balances for the last 3 months before the filing of the AOM; and

(n) any other documents referred to or supporting the information in the AOM.

(3) In complex cases, parties may apply for further discovery under rule 63 of the Family Justice Rules of documents which are necessary and proportionate to the complexity and value of the case.

22. Documents required for the extraction of Certificate of Making Decree Nisi Absolute and Decree Nisi for matrimonial proceedings filed before 15 December 20 03

(1) For matrimonial proceedings filed before 14 April 2003, solicitors are required to submit the following documents when making an application for the Decree Nisi to be made Absolute:

(a) three copies of the Certificate of Making Decree Nisi Absolute (one of which is to be stamped);

(b) one stamped copy of the affidavit on application to search the court records (applicable only if the decree nisi was granted before 15 February 2003);

(c) one stamped copy of the Notice of Application to Make Decree Nisi Absolute;

(d) one copy of the Parenting Plan (where applicable);

(e) one copy of the Order of Court granting leave to make Decree Nisi Absolute out of time (where applicable);

(f) one copy of the Decree Nisi; and

(g) one copy each of the Orders of Court on all ancillary matters (where applicable).

(2) The documents referred to in sub-paragraph (1)(a) to (e) above must be original documents, and not photocopies.

(3) The documents referred to in sub-paragraph (1)(f) and (g) above may be photocopies.

(4) For matrimonial proceedings filed on or after 14 April 2003 but before 15 December 2003, solicitors are required to submit the following documents when making an application for the Decree Nisi to be made Absolute:

(a) three copies of the Certificate of Making Decree Nisi Absolute (one of which is to be stamped);

(b) one copy of the Order of Court granting leave to make the Decree Nisi Absolute out of time (where applicable);

(c) one copy of the Decree Nisi; and

(d) one copy each of the Orders of Court on all ancillary matters (where applicable).

(5) The documents referred to in sub-paragraph (4)(a) and (b) above must be original documents, and not photocopies.

(6) The documents referred to in sub-paragraph (4)(c) and (d) above may be photocopies.

(7) When seeking approval of a draft Decree Nisi signed by only one party, solicitors are required to submit the following documents:

(a) one copy of the draft Decree Nisi signed by the relevant party / relevant party’s solicitor; and

(b) one copy of the draft consent order recorded by the Court at the Decree Nisi hearing (where applicable).

(8) The documents listed in sub-paragraph (7)(a) and (b) may be photocopies. Upon approval and return of the draft Decree Nisi, two copies of the Decree Nisi in terms of the approved draft (one of which is to be stamped) must be submitted to the Family Registry for processing.

(9) When seeking the extraction of Decrees Nisi and Orders of Court endorsed with the signatures of all the relevant parties / relevant parties’ solicitors, solicitors are required to submit the following documents:

(a) one copy of the draft Decree Nisi / Order of Court signed by all relevant parties / relevant parties’ solicitors; and

(b) two copies (one of which is to be stamped) of the Decree Nisi / Order of Court (in terms of the draft Decree Nisi / Order of Court signed by all relevant parties / relevant parties’ solicitors.

(10) The document listed in sub-paragraph (9)(a) above may be a photocopy.

(11) This Paragraph is only applicable to matrimonial proceedings filed before 15 December 2003.

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