“Being a single parent is not a life full of struggles, but a journey for the strong. ” - Meg Lowrey -
When you are facing strains in your marriage, considering divorce, or beginning divorce proceedings, things can feel very overwhelming.
Explore the information, resources and tips available in Family Assist to make decisions, strengthen your marriage, manage the divorce proceedings, and mitigate the impact of divorce.
Overview of Divorce Support Specialist Agencies (DSSAs) and Strengthening Families Programme@Family Service Centres
The Divorce Support Specialist Agencies (DSSAs) and Strengthening Families Programme@Family Service Centres (FAM@FSCs) provide specialised services and programmes for divorcing and divorced families. These support services include counselling and case management.
DSSAs/FAM@FSCs are staffed by trained counsellors and social workers. They are equipped with specialised skills to handle divorce matters.
There are two DSSAs and four FAM@FSCs under the Ministry of Social and Family Development that provide support and care to families through a strong child-centric approach.
The programmes offered aim to:
- highlight the impact divorce has on children, and
- encourage cooperative co-parenting.
The DSSAs/FAM@FSCs provide these services:
- Pre-divorce Mandatory Parenting Programme;
- Information and non-legal advice on divorce-related financial and housing issues;
- Case management;
- Counselling; and
- Support groups.
They also run evidence-based programmes to help parents and children cope with the changes in their family structure.
Read more about the divorce support programmes available for families.
There are two DSSAs:
- HELP Family Service Centre
- PPIS As-Salaam Family Support Centre
There are four FAM@FSCs:
- Strengthening Families Programme@FSC (Care Corner – Eunos)
- Strengthening Families Programme@FSC (Thye Hua Kwan – Commonwealth)
- Strengthening Families Programme@FSC (AMKFSC – Ang Mo Kio)
- Strengthening Families Programme@FSC (Fei Yue – Choa Chu Kang)
- Strengthening Families Programme@FSC (Montfort Care – Kreta Ayer)
For more details, please see DSSA/FAM@FSC locations.
How to File for Divorce
Since divorce is the legal procedure that ends a marriage, you are strongly advised to consult a lawyer to understand your legal rights and options. You will be advised on whether you are eligible to file for divorce and what you are required to do. The lawyer will then prepare the necessary legal documents on your behalf.
Words of Advice
Couples are encouraged to seek resources such as marriage counselors to see if the marriage can possibly be saved. Therefore, before proceeding you may wish to consult a counselor to explore the impact this move will have on you and your family so that can be more emotionally prepared for the process or to explore other alternatives.
When these options have been explored and no compromise can be found; it is wise to seek legal counsel. Hence, if you decide to proceed, you will need to see a lawyer for advice and assistance. The lawyer will advise you on whether you can file for divorce and, if so, will prepare the necessary legal documents on your behalf.
Helps are available.
Speak to a lawyer to know your legal rights and options.
If you do not already have a lawyer, you can consider attending AWARE’s free legal clinic to consult a lawyer about divorce proceedings and related matters, or other issues such as family violence and harassment.
AWARE offers a free legal clinic to women twice a month (second and fourth Thursday evening of every month). For a one-time consultation, the lawyers can explain your legal rights and options in a wide range of areas at a one-time consultation. You must make an appointment for the legal clinic in advance by calling the Helpline.
To be eligible for AWARE’s free legal clinic, you shouldn’t have already engaged a lawyer and your monthly income does not exceed $4,000.
Click here for FAQs about the free legal clinic.
Other Free Legal Clinics
For other free legal clinics, click LegalClinics.sg. You will find contact details and eligibility there.
If you are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident and have never sought legal advice before, and/or are unable afford a lawyer, you may call Law Society to make an appointment for free basic legal advice at their Community Legal Clinics, on a one-to-one basis for 20 minutes. These clinics run Mondays to Thursdays (excluding public holidays and eve of public holidays).
Take note that registration is required before an appointment can be made for consultation at the Community Legal Clinic.
To register for an appointment, you may choose to:
- Call them at 6536 0650;
- Send an email to Law Society Pro Bono Services; or
You may also find the LegalHelp website (www.legalhelp.com.sg) useful. LegalHelp is supported by a network of local lawyers who have volunteered to contribute their time and effort to help those in need.
TIP: Always Call First
Most legal clinics do not cater to walk-ins (i.e. you usually need to register first). Even for clinics which permit walk-ins, call first to confirm they are available for consultation. These clinics are typically run by volunteers, and schedules are subject to change.
If you would like to work through the emotional issues surrounding your marriage, consider speaking to a helpliner at AWARE or have a counselling session with one of their counselors.
It can be distressing to experience difficulties in your marriage, your family, or with parenting. When you are feeling overwhelmed, your work, relationships, physical and emotional health may also be affected. In collaboration with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), the Community Psychology Hub (CPH) has developed an online counselling service for individuals facing marital, divorce, parenting, and/or family difficulties.
The online counselling sessions are:
- Conducted over live chat, email and/or phone
- Available to Singaporean residents, aged 18 and above