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Family Law and Divorce in Singapore: What Local and Expat Mamas Need to Know

family law workshop
ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExpertsFamily LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life

Divorce is a scary topic, but it’s incredibly important to know your rights, mama, particularly how local family law affects you and your children.

Are you familiar with PrimeTime Business and Professional Women’s Association, mama? It’s a not-for-profit organisation based here in Singapore that aims to connect diverse women through a variety of events where they can socialize, learn and contribute. Please welcome PrimeTime’s Sheila Berman with important info about a topic none of us want to think about, but something we should all know about: divorce. More specifically, how it affects women (especially mothers) here in Singapore. Read on for deets about PrimeTime’s upcoming workshop, “Introduction to Family Law”, which is happening TOMORROW night!

Divorce is traumatic, no matter your age or nationality.

The process can trigger varying emotions: grief, anger, loneliness, devastation, and helplessness. We go into marriage expecting lifelong commitment, love, and devotion from our chosen life partner with some minor bumps along the road. None of us go into marriage expecting the relationship to end, sometimes acrimoniously. During this time, important decisions are made based on emotion instead of logic.

divorce kids breaking the news

In Singapore, 7,614 marriages ended in a divorce or an annulment in 2017. The number seems small at first, until you factor in the 10% increase in divorce over the past decade, with women aged 35 – 39 having the highest participation rate.

With no improvement in the gender pay gap in the country (as much as 40% in some industries), it is usually the women, and children, whose lives are most severely impacted by divorce. Financially, women become worse off unless they have pre-marital assets and trusts in place.

Who gets the family home?

How will the assets be divided?

Will you get maintenance support?

These are the questions that mamas are left to answer. For those who are expat wives on a Dependant Pass or long-term visit pass, their lives get more complicated as their status in Singapore become precarious. Cut off from their family, they may have to rely on newly-made friends for emotional or even financial support.

A 3-year study conducted by SIM University senior lecturer Yvonne MCNulty found that among the “252 expat spouses going through divorce in Singapore, about 100 either had their Dependent Passes (DPs) cancelled or been threatened with cancellation.”

In January of last year, a support group for expat spouses saw its group membership grow from 250 to 300. Their cases were complicated by custody and financial care issues. Mothers whose passes were cancelled had to go through lengthy court battles to be able to stay in Singapore with their children. Those who were unaware of their rights left the country, separated from their children.

These cases led Elena Alvarez to organise an event for women, both local and expat, to explain the basics Singapore’s Family Law. She’s partnered with Aishah Winter, Associate Director of Fidelis Law Corporation, and Lorraine Lim of Star Shelter, a secular crisis centre providing temporary haven for women and children who are survivors of violence, for them to speak about the topic.

Entitled, “Introduction to Family Law,” the event is hosted by PrimeTime Business and Professional Women’s Association and will be held TOMORROW night. It’s the perfect opportunity for any curious mama to know what her rights are and what she can do in the event of a divorce.

All the details!
What: Introduction to Family Law in Singapore
When: Tuesday 27 March 2018, 7pm to 9pm
Where: WorkCentral, 190 Clemenceau Avenue, #06-01, Singapore Shopping Centre, 239924
How much: $25 for PrimeTime Women members; $30 for guests
Click here to register

Lead image via A Women's Centre

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