2 years ago

Difference Between Unreasonable Behaviour and Adultery: Women’s Charter

There is only one recognised ground for divorce in Singapore. In order to file for a divorce, divorcing couples must prove an “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” with one of the following facts:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • Desertion of 2 years
  • Separation for 3 years with spouse’s consent
  • Separation for 4 years

A 6th fact, Divorce by Mutual Agreement, has recently been approved and it is expected to come into effect in 2023.

Of the current five facts, many divorcing parties may hire private investigators in Singapore to gather evidence to prove adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Today, we discuss both facts, their differences and how you can file for a divorce based on these scenarios.


Section 95(3)(a) of the Women’s Charter states that the court may grant a divorce if divorcing couples can prove that the Defendant has committed adultery and that the Plaintiff finds it intolerable to live with the Defendant. Parties who wish to rely on adultery to obtain a divorce must file their divorce within six months of discovering the deed. You cannot rely on adultery if you knew about it but continue living with your spouse for more than six months. 

In order to prove adultery, there has to be sexual intercourse with a third party. One will need to produce a private investigator’s report showing the cheating spouse having sexual relations with a third party. This means that evidence of physical intimacy alone is not sufficient to prove adultery and the court may not grant a divorce. 

Any other form of communication between the adulterers could be presented as evidence. This includes any text messages, emails, phone conversations, videos, photographs, bills or receipts. Sworn testimonies of people who have witnessed the adulterous relationship can also be used as evidence. 

If the evidence gathered is not enough to prove adultery, one may still file for a divorce by proving unreasonable behaviour instead. 

Unreasonable Behaviour

Section 95(3)(b) of the Women’s Charter states that the court may grant a divorce if the Plaintiff can prove that the Defendant has behaved in such a way that you cannot be reasonably expected to live with him/her. Here are some examples of unreasonable behaviour:

  • The Defendant has been violent towards the Plaintiff
  • The Defendant has been verbally abusive towards the Plaintiff
  • The Defendant has failed to maintain financial responsibility/obligations to the plaintiff and/or Children during their marriage.
  • The Defendant shows no interest in talking with the Plaintiff and prefers to socialise alone with friends
  • The Defendant has formed an improper relationship with a woman/man whose identity is unknown

If the evidence gathered is insufficient to prove adultery, the Plaintiff in some divorce cases may choose to prove unreasonable behaviour instead. Although unreasonable behaviour is subjective, it is far easier to prove than adultery. The Court will usually study both the Defendant’s and the Plaintiff’s character before deciding whether it is reasonable to expect the Plaintiff to continue living with the Defendant.

Whether you wish to prove adultery or unreasonable behaviour in a divorce, it is important to immediately gather evidence to support your case. Only experienced and professional private investigators can assist to garner useful and strong evidence to substantiate your case to prove adultery or unreasonable behaviour in a divorce. 

CDiC Consultants is a leading private investigation company in Singapore offering various investigation services for both commercial and private clients. Contact us today for more assistance.

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