Tying the knot soon? There are plenty of things to consider when it comes to your wedding. While it’s not the most romantic aspect of your nuptials, it is important to consider some of the practical and legal aspects of marriage. The team from Consilium Law Corporation answers common questions about pre-nuptial agreements when living in Singapore.
My fiancée and I are planning a destination wedding. Do we need to be legally married in Singapore first beforehand?
First of all, congratulations on your big day! Marriages taking place outside Singapore, so long as they’re in accordance with the laws of that country and not invalid under the Women’s Charter, are recognised in Singapore. There is no requirement to be married in Singapore first, and no requirement to reregister your overseas marriage here, although you may choose to do so with the Registry of Marriages (ROM).
My fiancé has asked me to sign a pre-nuptial agreement. Should I be concerned?
A pre-nuptial agreement, or prenup, is a contractual agreement entered into between future spouses before their marriage. It must be entered into voluntarily by parties and must satisfy the basic legal requirements for it to take effect.
The Singapore Court of Appeal has held in the case of TQ v TR that as a general guide, if a prenup was entered into by non-locals and is valid according to the jurisdiction in which it was signed (as long as this does not contradict public policies in Singapore), then there is no reason in principle why a Singapore court would not accord significant weight to it. However, the Court of Appeal emphasised that it would have overriding discretion to scrutinise the prenup and all the circumstances of the case in deciding its effect.
Is there a difference between signing a marriage agreement before and after marriage?
It is recognised by the courts that agreements signed post-marriage (i.e., postnuptial agreements) in contemplation of a divorce may be given more weight than those signed prior to the marriage (i.e., pre-nuptial agreements). However, the weight to be ascribed depends on the circumstances of the case.
For more helpful tips head to our Living in Singapore section.