Engaging a divorce lawyer in Singapore is not cheap. In fact, the high cost of matrimonial divorce proceedings has always been one of the greatest factors deterring couples from seeking a divorce. However, if your marriage had broken down irretrievably and it is impossible for you to remain in the marriage, you will have to get a divorce in Singapore nonetheless. To this end, a cheap divorce is not completely out of reach.
Where cost is your primary concern, ask yourself these 4 important questions before choosing a divorce attorney:
First Question: Is Divorce your Only Option?
Third Question: What is included in the cost package of your Divorce Lawyer Fees?
Asking yourself these 4 questions will definitely save you unnecessary costs and get you the best divorce lawyer in Singapore who are highly qualified to help you with your case.
Many couples raise divorce as a means to end perennial conflicts between them. However, you must bear in mind that arguments between a married couple is part and parcel of a relationship, and most of the time, divorce should not be sought.
This is more so where costs are concerned, since there are cheaper alternative to resolving differences then simply seeking a divorce. For instance, it is definitely less expensive to mend the relationship with counselling than to look for a cheap divorce lawyer in Singapore.
Alternatively, you may also opt for mediation to try to salvage the relationship.
Contested Divorce: A contested divorce is one in where you and your spouse cannot agree, either about getting divorced or about the terms of the divorce.
Uncontested Divorce: An uncontested divorce is one in which both you and your spouse agree on everything and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about child custody or assets division.
Under Singapore law, an Uncontested Divorce can be resolved efficiently at a low and affordable cost, because only a single lawyer is required to draft the necessary documents and submit them to the courts. Accordingly, there will be a fixed fee with no hidden charges.
Since cost is your primary concern, you should try as much as possible to ask for an uncontested divorce. This can be done by, firstly, agreeing with your spouse that both of you want a divorce and secondly, coming to an agreement as to how matrimonial assets and child custody should be divided as between you and your spouse.
Specifically, there are a few matters that must be agreed upon between you and your spouse:
1. Grounds for Divorce: In Singapore, there are only 5 Grounds for a Divorce. Do discuss with your spouse as to which ground you want to proceed your divorce upon.
2. Allocation of Plaintiff and Defendant: In every trial, there will be a plaintiff (the one who brings a legal action) and a defendant (the one who is defending against a suit). Do come to an agreement with your spouse as to the assumption of these roles.
4. Custody of Children (if any): Where children are concerned, there will be no need for litigation if you and your spouse can agree upon who is to have custody of the children. Additionally, costs will also be saved if you can decide on issues regarding access and care and control of the children.
5. Maintenance of the Wife: It would expedite matters if both parties can agree on how much is paid to the wife each month.
6. Divorce Lawyer Fees: You have to decide whether the cost of engaging a divorce lawyer is borne by you, your spouse, or shared as between the two of you. If the costs are shared, you will also have to decide on the proportion each party has to bear.
Where all these matters are determined before consulting a lawyer, your lawyer will be able to quote you a fixed price as to the divorce procedure. This is known as a fixed model where what you pay is simply what is quoted. Thus, there will be certainty on the costs involved.
Compared to a Contested Divorce where your lawyer will have to expend time and efforts in more processes (such as drafting letters of demands to your spouse), this will definitely save you lots of money.
For an Uncontested Divorce, the family divorce lawyer will usually offer you a cost package, which typically ranges from $1,800 to $3,500.
The exact quotation will depend on 3 main factors:
1. The amount of documents that needs to be drafted and filed;
2. The level and experience of your divorce attorney; and
3. The magnitude and complexity of your case.
To ensure that the package is really value-for-money, you should check that these components (listed below) are included in the package. As a guideline for you, the prices listed next to each component are the prevailing fee that a law firm in the current market is charging. You may use that as comparison when engaging a divorce lawyer.
1. Service fee (S$1,357.40)
2. Filing cost and Court fees (S$254.60)
3. Commissioning fees (S$20.00)
4. Photocopying, Postage and other Miscellaneous fees (S$18.00)
5. Any GST
For this amount that you are paying, you should be receiving professional advice from a seasoned lawyer that is well-versed in Family and Divorce law. These are the bare minimum services that your divorce attorney should be providing you with:
A. Your lawyer should provide you with at least 20 minutes of free consultation.
B. Your lawyer should obtain all the necessary information from you and provide you with a detailed explanation on divorce procedures.
C. Your lawyer should draft all your divorce paperwork and e-file them to the Singapore Family Courts. These documents include statement of claims, terms of settlement, and a statement of particulars.
D. Your lawyer should provide easy access to him/her through phone and email. You should be entitled to an allowance of 1-2 hours of discussion with him/her
E. Your lawyer should inform you on the status of your case on a regular basis.
F. When everything is in order, your lawyer will arrange for you and your partner to sign the divorce papers in the presence of the lawyer and the Commissioner of Oaths.
G. Your lawyer will file all the papers to the court and for an uncontested divorce, a hearing date will be fixed. He/she will then extract your Interim Judgement and Final Judgement.
As a final word of advice, if you are proceeding with an uncontested divorce, do check with your lawyer to make sure that the fees are nett. It is also advisable that before you sign the engagement letter, you negotiate for a set amount of consultation time that you deem necessary for the divorce process.
Although cost may be an important factor in choosing a divorce lawyer, the service provided should not be in any way compromised. Thus, you should engage a Good Singapore Divorce Lawyer, and not simply the Cheapest Divorce Lawyer in Singapore.
“Cheap” does not necessarily mean “Good” – “Quality” generally comes with a “Price” in the real world – the Price need not be the highest, but it usually is also not the Cheapest Price, since there is a value attached to quality legal services. Finding a cheap Singapore divorce lawyer (or worst still, the cheapest Singapore divorce lawyer) solely because that family court lawyer promises you the lowest price compared to other law firms in Singapore may end up being penny-wise, pound-foolish in the end, with you suffering the consequences of lower quality advice and lower quality service.
You will come across generalist lawyers who advertise and offer cheap legal services on the internet to attract clients to engage them. Exercise caution, since what you pay is what you get.
Remember, choosing the right family law lawyer to guide you through the complex legal proceedings is one of the most important decisions you have to make in relation to your divorce.
Use these important principles to guide you in choosing the best Singapore divorce lawyer for yourself:
1. Find an affordable divorce lawyer in Singapore who is learned and knowledgeable about Family Law in Singapore, who specializes in and has adequate past experiences handling divorce cases similar to yours.
Size and brand establishment of the law firm, whilst important, is not as critical as the expertise of the individual family lawyer handling your case. Divorce lawyers from a small or boutique law firm can be just as a good as their learned counterparts from large branded law firms.
2. The divorce lawyer should attentive and responsive, and be open to hearing your personal views and opinions, whilst looking after your best interests and guiding you smoothly through the technicalities of the divorce procedures in Singapore.
Founder and Principal Lawyer
of Yeo and Associates LLC
Beatrice Yeo Poh Tiang
Having handled over 10,000 divorces since 2006, Ms. Beatrice Yeo, the Founder and Principal Lawyer of the firm, is widely acknowledged as one of the best divorce lawyers in Singapore.
She has extensive experience in all aspects of Matrimonial Law, including Nullity Proceedings, Contested & Uncontested Divorce and Mediation.
It is Beatrice’s personal endeavour to make sure that her clients get her personal and specialised attention.
Contact Ms. Beatrice Yeo right away for a FREE phone consultation on legal costs and divorce procedure. You may also fill up the enquiry form above to be contacted by Yeo & Associates LLC.
Call +65 85888824
Disclaimer: The information provided on the Huffe portal does not constitute legal advice. Articles are not written by lawyers. You should obtain specific legal advice from a lawyer before taking any legal action. Although we try our best to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website, you rely on it at your own risk.