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Divorce lawyers not out to encourage litigation: Forum

Straits Times
24 Dec 2017

Ms Jocelyn Wong Jia Min has given a simplistic view of the divorce processes (Establish robust, constructive framework to engage family lawyers; Dec 17).

She wrote as though divorcing couples are being manipulated by lawyers to pursue unnecessary litigation.

This tarnishes the good name of our divorce lawyers. All lawyers are bound by law to serve the interests of their clients and represent them without fear or favour.

Ms Wong's views seem to be based on the premise that divorcing spouses are amiable, reasonable and tolerant individuals. But the reality is that many divorces involve either one or both spouses being unreasonable and/or intolerant. They often carry a large amount of emotional baggage and are not easy to persuade or negotiate with.

It is not uncommon for divorce lawyers to discharge themselves from acting for a client who is adamant in pursuing unnecessary litigation.

The fees for divorce cases range "from $10,000 to over $100,000" because of the scope of work required.

Some divorce cases can drag on for years. Cases involving the well-heeled and expatriates often include complex cross-border issues and significant assets in various countries.

If clients feel that their lawyers have overcharged them, they are entitled to apply to the court to assess the reasonableness of their legal bills.

Whether it is matrimonial or other areas of law, the court processes should be designed to serve justice first and foremost.

The efficiency of the system comes a close second, but must not be dispensed at the expense of serving justice.


Some divorce cases can drag on for years. Cases involving the well-heeled and expatriates often include complex cross-border issues and significant assets in various countries.

Chia Boon Teck

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.