Difficult issues in the home: Divorce, separation, etc.

21 November 2018 (Singapore) – Mr Lee Terk Yang, Director of Flint & Battery LLC, answers some common but often misunderstood questions regarding a difficult area of family life: divorce and separation.

Q1: What is the difference between separation and divorce?

A separation is not the same as a divorce.  The key difference between separation and divorce is that when you are separated, you are still legally married to your spouse even though you are living apart. For separation, you need to subsequently go through the legal steps necessary to terminate your marriage.

Q2. What are some of the pre-divorce considerations? 

Terk Yang reminds that some of the things you need to consider before getting a divorce are (not in any particular order):

  1. The legal requirements based on the type of marriage (Syariah Court, or civil marriages.) 
  2. The financial and psychological impact of divorce on your family 
  3. Divorce for civil marriages
  4. Well being of children.
  5. Financial matters. You will need to seriously consider and make budgeting plans.

Q3: Should I consider counselling services? 

You should definitely consider counselling services. Whether professional or free counselling, they help tremendously in coping.

Counselling can help your family cope with divorce, as the counsellor may share insights and teach coping skills to help the family manage the aftermath of a divorce. You may be able to learn more about the resources and support that are available in the community. 

Q4: Where can I get counselling and other forms of support? 

You should consult experienced social workers and counsellors with specialised skills in working with divorcing and divorced families and children. Counselling is available as individual, joint or family sessions. In additional, it is key to ensure that you are individually represented by legal counsel and not save costs by “sharing” legal costs. The few thousands of savings cannot compare with the intangible costs of bad planning, destroyed relationships with children and your closest friends.

Q5: What is co-parenting? 

Co-parenting happens when both you and your ex-spouse continue to work together to raise your children even though you are divorced and may no longer be living together. Cooperative co-parenting gives your children stability, despite changes to the family structure. A good counsellor and legal counsel will be able to ensure the continued relationship.

Terk Yang is an experienced family lawyer dealing with custody, divorce, separations, protection orders, matrimonial assets and other family law matters.

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