What Is The Difference Between Contested And Uncontested Divorce?

·7-min read

Sometimes marriages may take unexpected turns that lead to both parties deciding to part ways. Divorce can be one of two things: uncontested and contested. As the terms depict, uncontested divorce has all the issues pre-arranged with mutual consent from all sides. With an uncontested divorce, Singapore couples see speedy trials. It is also referred to as ‘simplified uncontested divorce’.

To learn more about uncontested divorce, we consulted the team of divorce lawyers at PKWA Law. With their extensive experience with clients who have gone through uncontested divorces and other divorce settlements, they tell us all there is to know about contested and uncontested divorce.

Understanding Contested Divorce

Image: iStock

Any legal case will have a plaintiff and a defendant. In a divorce case, it is the spouses. If both the parties do not come to a common agreement in the divorce, it has to be contested in the court. The common areas of agreement are:

  • The ground for divorce

  • The custody and visitations of children

  • Assets and marital property

  • Alimony or maintenance

  • Claims on separation before divorce

If the spouses disagree on any one of these issues, they are entitled to fight it in a court of law. To prove your point, you will need to provide adequate evidence. These adversarial proceedings usually become time-taking, arduous and expensive.
The process here will take these following steps:

  1. The plaintiff serves a ‘Writ of Divorce’ to the defendant.

  2. The defendant will need to contest it by filing a ‘Defence’ within 22 days of the Writ.

  3. The plaintiff will need to ‘Reply to Defence’ and counter-claim within 14 days.

  4. A date for ‘Mediation’ or ‘Pre-trial Conference’ will be set to try and resolve some issues.

  5. After that, the case will show up for a trial to determine if the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

  6. If the affidavits and cross-examinations satisfy the court, it may grant you an ‘Interim Judgement’.

In many cases, convincing the court takes unpleasant actions and long course. It may also involve the children from the broken marriage which makes it tiring and traumatic.

What Is Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested Divorce
Uncontested Divorce

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Here you have a divorce that is simplified and hassle-free because both the parties, the spouses, have come to a common agreement for divorce as well as the ancillary issues. The areas of agreement are the same as in contested divorce but they have worked out the options.

Let’s take the issue of the children in the marriage. The points to be considered are – custody, care and control and the liberty to take decisions, frequency of visitations and whether it can be liberal access. Singapore encourages joint custody except if it is deemed harmful for the children.

In the issue of marital assets, the options under consideration are:

  1. The matrimonial home should be transferred to one party.

  2. The wife may buy the home from the husband.

  3. The husband may buy out from his wife.

  4. The matrimonial property should be sold in the market.

The outstanding loans and other paperwork need to be evaluated before any decision.

The process for an uncontested divorce, Singapore divorce lawyers said, involves the following steps:

  1. The plaintiff serves the ‘Writ of divorce’ with ‘Statement of Claims’ and ‘Statement of Particulars’. They must confirm this to be accurate.

  2. The defendant files a ‘Memorandum of Appearance’ since they are not contesting the divorce.

  3. They can submit an ‘Agreed parental plan’ for children below 21 years.

  4. They will also file an ‘Agreed matrimonial property plan’.

  5. After this, a lawyer representing both sides can file a ‘Draft consent order’.

If the court is still not convinced about the irretrievably broken marriage, it may ask you to present evidence on the claims in an open court. Once convinced, the court will grant an ‘Interim Judgement’ about the dissolution of marriage, to be finalised after 3 months.

Advantages of Uncontested Divorce Over Contested Divorce

coping with divorce, Uncontested Divorce
coping with divorce, Uncontested Divorce

Image: iStock

With a preference for Uncontested Divorce, Singapore upholds less messy procedure. Let us look at the key points of difference in the two divorce formats.

Contested Divorce

  • The couple doesn’t agree on divorce or the various issues related to it.

  • The process takes almost a year or more.

  • Lots of documents are required to prove every claim made by either party.

  • Since it is a prolonged case, the charges for documentation and lawyers will be more expensive.

  • You would need to be in court for the trial.

Uncontested Divorce

  • The couple agrees on dissolving the marriage and the ancillary issues.

  • The whole process gets over in 3 to 6 months.

  • Minimum documentation is needed.

  • Since one lawyer can handle the proceedings, charges are reasonable and low.

  • Your attendance in court is not required.

As the above points show, an uncontested divorce keeps the privacy and dignity of the procedure intact. Also, it reduces stress for the partners and trauma on the children.

Despite these advantages, an uncontested divorce will not work well in some peculiar situations.

  • Do not consider this format, if you have been a victim of domestic violence. Do not attempt uncontested divorce if your partner has cheated on you or you don’t trust them.

  • Don’t go for this if you are a violent couple and end up abusing each other during discussions.

  • No point in going for an uncontested divorce if there are intractable disagreements about asset settlements.

  • If your spouse is un-cooperative or cannot be found.

Points to Remember While Taking Divorce

husband regrets divorce, Uncontested Divorce Singapore
husband regrets divorce, Uncontested Divorce Singapore

Image: iStock

In Singapore, you can file for divorce if you fall in the given criteria:

  1. You have been married for at least 3 years.

  2. Either you or your spouse is a citizen of Singapore or domiciled in Singapore. Alternately, you are residing in Singapore for more than 3 years.

  3. You may file for adultery of your spouse.

  4. You have been a victim of physical or mental abuse of any type.

  5. If your spouse has deserted you for more than 2 years.

  6. When you have been living in separation for 3 to 4 years.

Singapore Divorce Lawyers

It is always preferable to take advice from a divorce lawyer for all divorce proceedings and paperwork. Going for marriage counselling should be the first step before you file for divorce.

One of the most well known and reputable family law firms in Singapore is PKWA Law.

PKWA Law’s team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore family and divorce lawyers by respected publications such as Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific, Straits Times, Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business review and Doyle’s Guide.

PKWA Family Lawyers provide all family law services including divorce, wills and probate.

PKWA Law is one of Singapore’s largest specialist family law firms, providing all family law services including divorce, wills and probate. With over 30 years of experience, their professional team of Singapore family lawyers and divorce lawyers can help you in all your family law matters.

Contact them at tel: +65-6854-5336 for a free first consultation.


If your divorce is amicable and uncontested, PKWA Law’s divorce fees are one of the most affordable in Singapore:

  • $1,200 all in  (No Children, No Property & No Maintenance)

  • $2,200 all in  (With Children, HDB / Private Property & Maintenance)

Read about their Uncontested Divorce Fee Packages https://www.pkwalaw.com/our-fees.html. First consultation with PKWA Family Lawyers is free, visit https://www.pkwalaw.com/enquiry.html

PKWA Law Practice LLC is located at 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #16-01 HDB Hub East Wing Singapore 310480.
Tel: + 65-6397-6100

PKWA Law main website: https://www.pkwalaw.com/our-fees.html

PKWA Divorce Law Website: https://www.sgdivorcelawyer.sg

Email: enquiry@pkwalaw.com


A failed marriage is never easy on the couple, particularly if kids are involved. Consult your preferred lawyers to better understand your options.


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