Chinese man converted to be Muslim in marriage but wanted to renounce after divorce

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Dear Gilbert,

Good day to you.

I’m very depressed.  I’m a Chinese converted to Muslim when I married my wife. We have a daughter and she is now 20 years old.

We are still living under same roof but separated room for almost 15 years.

Our irretrievable breakdown in our marriage happened when my daughter was born and when we have any argument my wife would flared up and threaten to commit suicide.

Usually, it ended up I will put down myself to apologize and pleaded with her which is not my wrong-doing in the first place.  She would just leave the house for few days leaving my baby girl behind (she doesn’t care that I need to work).

She is not working at all even after my daughter was born and I’m the sole breadwinner for the family.

I’m not rich or wealthy and earning a miserable income of SGD 1.7k/month before CPF as a storekeeper until today.  I’m been maintaining the house expenses and try my best to raise my daughter up as it is my responsibility to the family.

My wife would every month ask for home expense of SGD $1.2k but I didn’t see she maintains the house she doesn’t cook and does not do any housekeeping  – the whole house is in a messy state.

She wouldn’t bother that I’m not earning much and still need to maintain the home expenses.  The house utility bills would cost up to SGD 300+ per month with only 3 people staying in a 4-room flat.

I’m only giving her SGD 500 per month which she feel that it isn’t enough for her.  I would struggle for OT to get the extra income to survive.  I’m really disappointed as my daughter doesn’t know how hard I’m going through to raise her up and only when in need of expense then will call me pa to ask for expenses  – other than that she is like a stranger at home going into her own room mostly.

My girl did not pass her Sec 4 exam and I pushed her to retake for a few times but she still failed and later drop out from school totally. Even now she is not working as her mum would exercise control over her.  She would be badmouthing to my daughter how bad I am as a father for not providing them with enough expenses.

I’ve been struggling for so many donkey years with this family to be a responsible husband and father and yet what did I get?

My wife is now currently working at a school as a librarian.  We are living in the same roof like strangers.

My wife did brought up divorce matter and I agree to let her to proceed and the past few months I saw some mail from legal court attention to her but I didn’t receive any.

Few days ago she text/sms  me to request for my photocopy of NRIC to file for divorce and frankly I’m relieved that this nightmare will end soon.

Currently my concerns are as below:-

1) For a Muslim to file for divorce is there any difference whether if she or I as the husband file? And I would also want to renounce as a Muslim.
2) What are the consequences if I proceed to file, will she put up her maintenance claims?
3) Understand that whatever deposit we have under joint account name it will be evenly divide 50/50?
4) My flat is still under servicing HDB loan how will they divide the sale of flat?
5) What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks & regards,
Zahid

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Dear Zahid,

My apologies for the delayed response. I’ve read your email to Gilbert and suggest that you consult with a lawyer who deals with Syariah Court matters.

There are some differences in the treatment of divorce cases for marriages registered with the ROM and with the Registry of Muslim Marriages (“ROMM”). If you need a recommendation for a Syariah Court lawyer, do let me know.

Thanks.

Kind regards,

Lawyer

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