updated 1 Oct 2011, 16:05
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Mon, Aug 29, 2011
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New requirements for marriage starting Sept 1

SINGAPORE - In new marriage requirements starting Sept 1, minor couples looking to wed will have to attend marriage preparation courses and those remarrying must declare their maintenance arrears, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) said today.

The new requirements follow changes made to the Women's Charter in January this year.

For minor couples - where at least one person is below the age of 18, or where both parties are aged 18 and above, but below 21 - marriage preparation programmes will be mandatory, in addition to getting parental consent.

This will apply to marriages where one or both of the marrying parties are Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Currently, in cases where one person is under 18, couples must undergo a social assessment by MCYS before they are issued with a Special Marriage Licence. Starting Sept 1, the couples' attendance of a marriage preparation programme will be part of the social assessment.

For couples who are both aged 18 and above, but below 21, they can choose to attend marriage preparation programmes conducted by either MCYS-supported service providers or by religious or commercial organisations. A subsidy of up to $350 will be given for MCYS-supported programmes.

Couples must complete their respective programmes before they can apply for a marriage licence.

Marriage preparation programmes typically impart skills such as communication, financial management and parenting, MCYS said, and will mitigate the risk of divorce.

Minor couples marrying under the Administration of Muslim Law Act are not affected by this new requirement as they are already required to attend marriage preparation programmes.

Starting Sept 1, those who remarry will be required to make a statutory declaration on whether they have maintenance orders and any arrears.

The existence of maintenance orders or debts will not affect the rights of a person to remarry.

The purpose of the declaration, MCYS said, is to remind individuals of their maintenance obligations and for the potential spouse to be aware of the existing financial obligations.

The new requirements above will apply to marriage applications filed on or after 1 September 2011. Applications filed earlier are not affected.

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