Almost two-thirds of Singapore civil divorces in 2021 initiated by wives

·Senior Editor
·2 min read
Of the total 5,907 civil divorces filed in Singapore last year, almost two-thirds of them were initiated by wives. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)
Of the total 5,907 civil divorces filed in Singapore last year, almost two-thirds of them were initiated by wives. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Of the total 5,907 civil divorces filed in Singapore last year, almost two-thirds of them were initiated by wives, according to a report released by the Singapore Department of Statistics on Wednesday (6 July).

The proportion of wives who initiated civil divorces had remained relatively constant in 2021 and 2011 at 63.8 per cent and 64.7 per cent, respectively, the “Statistics on Marriages and Divorces, 2021” report shows.

“Unreasonable behaviour” of a spouse was listed as the main reason for more than half of civil divorces in 2021, or 53.5 per cent, with 58.1 per cent of female plaintiffs citing the reason, compared with 45.3 per cent of male plaintiffs.

This was followed by the reason of “live apart or separated for three years or more” for 44.5 per cent of civil divorces, with 40.3 per cent of female plaintiffs citing the reason, compared with 51.7 per cent of male plaintiffs.

In comparison, 71.2 per cent of Muslim divorces were filed by wives in 2021, higher than 69.6 per cent in 2011.

About 20 per cent of Muslim plaintiffs cited “infidelity or extra-marital affair” as the main cause of their marriage breakdown last year. The second biggest reason cited was “financial problems” at 13.1 per cent followed by “domestic violence and abuses” at 11.6 per cent.

More divorces last year

Overall, the number of marital dissolutions in Singapore rose 13.4 per cent to 7,890 in 2021, from 6,959 in 2020.

“The increase was due to more divorce applications filed in 2021, and the resumption of divorce proceedings that were previously adjourned, following the easing of safe management measures,” according to a media release by Singapore Department of Statistics

The general divorce rates were higher in 2021, compared with a year earlier. There were 7.2 male divorcees for every thousand married males aged 20 years and above in 2021, up from 6.3 in 2020. Similarly, there were 6.9 female divorcees for every thousand unmarried females aged 20 years and above last year, an increase from 6.1 in 2020.

The number of marriages registered in 2021 rose in tandem with the easing of COVID-19 safe management measures, compared with a drop in 2020 when a number of marriage plans were disrupted due to the pandemic.

A total of 28,329 civil and Muslim marriages were registered last year, 25.1 per cent higher than the 22,651 marriages in 2020.

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