Applying for Nafkah Idaah and Mutaah in a Muslim Divorce in Singapore

Last updated on March 31, 2022

muslim woman praying

Thinking about divorce is never easy. It is further complicated by the many legal questions that you may have, such as whether you, as a wife, can apply for a maintenance order to receive financial support after the divorce.

For Muslim divorces, the Syariah Court does not issue any maintenance orders to wives. Instead, it relies on financial provisions such as the nafkah iddah and mutaah.

What is Nafkah Iddah and Mutaah?

Nafkah iddah is the financial support that your husband is expected to provide you during the period of iddah. Nafkah is the financial obligation of a husband to his wife.

Iddah refers to the waiting period in which a Muslim woman cannot remarry after she has been divorced. This period ensures that no child has been conceived from the previous marriage. It also allows for the possibility of reconciliation as you can revoke your divorce during this period.

Typically, iddah lasts about 3 months, but may continue till childbirth if you are pregnant at the time of divorce. Therefore, you may expect to receive nafkah iddah for at least 3 months.

Mutaah is a sign of your ex-husband’s appreciation of your time, effort and sacrifice during the marriage. Its purpose is to lighten your financial burden after the divorce.

Men are not permitted to claim nafkah iddah or mutaah from their ex-wives.

What is the Amount of Nafkah Iddah or Mutaah I Can Obtain? 

There is no fixed amount for the nafkah iddah or mutaah. Usually, the wife suggests an amount during the divorce proceedings. The court will then consider all relevant factors in determining the final amount.

For nafkah iddah, the court will try to strike a balance between your husband’s financial ability and your needs.

Mutaah is calculated based on a daily rate for the duration of the marriage. Generally, you can expect between S$3 and S$7 per day of marriage if your ex-husband earns between S$3,000 and S$5,000 monthly.

The court will also consider other factors in its decision. This includes:

  • Any profit from the sale of the matrimonial home;
  • The absence of a matrimonial home;
  • Any non-monetary contribution to the marriage;
  • The employment status of both parties; and
  • The monies in the CPF accounts of both parties.

How to Apply For Nafkah Iddah and Mutaah in Singapore

As mentioned above, the Syariah Court determines the nafkah iddah and mutaah during the divorce proceedings. The Syariah Court website provides a more detailed look at this process. In summary, it involves the following steps:

  1. Registering for divorce at the Syariah Court: To register, you must complete a registration form and furnish your marriage certificate, NRIC, and birth certificates of your children (if any). The registration fee is S$100.
  2. Counselling: Next, both parties must attend a compulsory Marriage Counselling Programme before they can begin divorce proceedings. The counselling aims to save the marriage and is provided free-of-charge. If counselling fails, the Syariah Court will permit the party initiating the divorce (known as the plaintiff) to file the Originating Summons (see below).
  3. Parenting Programme:  If you have children younger than 21, you are also required to attend a Parenting Programme. The Parenting Programme will help you prepare a parenting plan that may cover caring/living arrangements for your children after the divorce.
  4. Filing of the Originating Summons: The Originating Summons is the document that kicks off the divorce proceedings. It will cost the plaintiff about S$135. The Originating Summons must include the following documents:
    • A completed Case Statement by the plaintiff (this document contains the amount of nafkah iddah and mutaah requested by the plaintiff);
    • A blank Memorandum of Defence to be completed by the defendant;
    • A parenting plan for any minor children;
    • A matrimonial property plan and information on any housing arrangement; and
    • Acknowledge of Service form to be completed by the defendant upon receipt of the Originating Summons.
  5. Mediation: The court will try to resolve any issues of child custody, division of matrimonial assets, and the nafkah iddah and mutaah at this stage. If an agreement can be reached, the court will grant a divorce according to the agreed terms. Otherwise, the court will schedule a Case Conference where both parties will receive further directions on the trial.
  6. Trial: The court will hear both parties and make its final decision on the divorce issues. At the end of the trial, the court will set a date for both parties to collect their Divorce Certificates and Decree.

What If My Ex-Husband Refuses to Pay Nafkah Iddah and Mutaah?

You will have to enforce the nafkah idaah and mutaah orders at the Family Justice Courts (FJC). This is because although they are Syariah Court Orders, they are treated as FJC Orders for enforcement purposes.

Before going down to the FJC, you are encouraged to submit your draft application and related documents through iFAMS. iFAMS is the FJC’s online application system. It allows you to make your draft application online and submit a copy of your supporting documents. Although not compulsory, doing so may speed up the application process. Alternatively, you can apply directly at the FJC to have your order enforced.

Regardless of whether you applied through iFAMS or directly at the FJC, you will need to verify your documents in person. Do take note of  FJC’s opening hours before going down. You can set an appointment date through iFAMS if you submit your draft application online.

You will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Your NRIC;
  • A photocopy of your marriage certificate;
  • A photocopy of the birth certificate of your children (if any); and
  • A photocopy of the nafkah idaah or mutaah order that you want enforced.

After the application has been processed, the court will issue a summons for your ex-husband to appear before it on the first mention date. The first mention is the first time your application will be heard in court. You can choose to engage a lawyer at this point.

If your ex-husband agrees to have the application enforced at the first mention, the court will issue a consent order. Otherwise, the court may appoint a mediator to resolve the matter. The court will fix a date for mediation at the Maintenance Mediation Chambers.

If even after mediation, your ex-husband disagrees on having the application enforced, the court will instruct both you and your ex-husband to prepare for a hearing. The court will direct you on the process and the documents that you will need to submit for the hearing.

After you have submitted the documents, a hearing date will be fixed. At the hearing, the court will hear both sides of the matter and make a decision on your enforcement application. There are several actions available to the court if it decides in your favour. It can:

  • Fine or imprison your ex-husband for up to 1 month;
  • Give an attachment of earnings order, which requires your ex-husband’s employers to deduct the maintenance amount directly from his salary and pay it to the court;
  • Order financial counselling for your ex-husband if he is in financial difficulties; or
  • Order your ex-husband to perform up to 40 hours of unpaid community service.

If you are not satisfied with the court’s decision, you can appeal to the General Division of the High Court. This must be done within 14 days of the decision. You will also be required to provide a security of up to $3,000 for your ex-husband’s costs of appeal.

Can I Still Claim Maintenance If I Divorced Outside of Singapore?

Yes, you can. The Court of Appeal has decided that Singapore courts can grant maintenance orders for Muslim divorces even if the divorce was obtained outside of Singapore.

A divorce can be difficult to get through. A good lawyer can help you navigate any legal challenges. Do consider allowing our Syariah divorce lawyers to help you through this difficult time.

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  1. Drafting a Deed of Separation in Singapore (Instead of Divorcing)
  2. Alternatives to Divorce in Singapore: A Practical Guide
  3. Process for Getting Divorced in Singapore (With Diagram)
  4. What are the Legal Grounds for Getting a Divorce?
  5. 3 Finance Questions To Ask Before a Divorce
  6. Practical Preparations for a Divorce
  7. How to Divorce Within 3 Years of Marriage in Singapore
  8. Getting Divorced: Documents and Evidence to Prepare
  9. Getting a Divorce Due to “Irreconcilable Differences” in Singapore
  10. Online Divorce in Singapore: How It Works and Should You Get One?
  11. How Can I Divorce Overseas After Marrying in Singapore?
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  1. Comprehensive Guide to Divorce Fees in Singapore
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  1. 7 Experienced Female Divorce Lawyers in Singapore (2024)
  2. Can a Divorcing Couple Use the Same Lawyer? Pros and Cons
  3. 7 Best Divorce and Family Lawyers in Singapore (2024)
  4. The Complete Guide to Choosing a Good Divorce Lawyer in Singapore
  5. Don’t Just Go for the Cheapest Divorce Lawyer in Singapore
  6. Find Highly Rated Divorce Lawyers in Singapore
  7. Child Custody Lawyers in Singapore: Do I Need One?
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  1. How to Prove Adultery for Divorce Purposes in Singapore
  2. Getting a Divorce: How to Prove Desertion
  3. Getting a Divorce by Mutual Agreement in Singapore
  4. How to Prove Unreasonable Behaviour in a Singapore Divorce
  5. How to Prove Separation for a Singapore Divorce
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  1. Your Spouse Doesn't Want to Divorce: What to Do
  2. Procedure for Dissolution of Marriage
  3. Simplified Uncontested Divorce vs Contested Divorce in Singapore
  4. Mandatory Parenting Programme Guide for Divorcing Parents
  5. Divorce Mediation in Singapore
  6. Divorce Application: What to Do If Your Spouse Cannot be Found
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  1. Contempt of Court in Divorce: When You Can be Punished
  2. Guide to Co-Parenting for Divorcing Parents in Singapore
  3. Procedure for Ancillary Matters
  4. Maintenance of Spouse in a Singapore Divorce
  5. Filling in a Matrimonial Property Plan for a Singapore Divorce
  6. Dividing Matrimonial Assets in a Singapore Divorce
  7. What Happens to Your HDB Flat after Divorce?
  8. What Happens to Gifts Between Spouses During a Divorce?
  9. What Happens to Property and Assets Located Overseas Upon a Divorce in Singapore?
  10. Child Custody, Care and Control & Access: Singapore Guide
  11. Getting Divorced: Child Maintenance in Singapore
  12. Singapore Divorcee's Guide to Relocating Your Child Overseas
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  2. How to Appeal Your Divorce Case in Singapore
  3. Divorce Certs in Singapore: How to Get a Copy and Other FAQs
  4. Transfer of Matrimonial Home to Ex-Spouse After Divorce
  5. Can Divorcees Buy or Rent HDB Flats, and How?
  6. What to Do If Your Ex-Spouse Does Not Provide Maintenance
  7. How to Vary a Maintenance Order After a Singapore Divorce
  8. What to Do If Your Ex-Spouse Denies You Access to Your Child
  9. Division of CPF Assets (Monies, House, Investments) After a Divorce
Expatriate Divorce
  1. Divorce for British Expats: Spousal Maintenance Under the Law of England and Wales
  2. Settling Ancillary Matters in Singapore After Foreign Divorce
  3. Typical issues in Singapore/England Divorces
  4. Immigration Issues for Divorcing Expatriates
  5. Can Foreigners Divorce in Singapore?
  6. Expat or Foreigner Divorce in Singapore: 10 Legal Issues to Consider
  7. Hague Convention: Overseas Child Abduction in Singapore Divorce
  8. Case Study: Cross-Border Child Custody and the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction
  9. Can British Expats in Singapore Choose to Divorce in England?
  10. Divorce for British Expats: Approach to Matrimonial and Non-Matrimonial Assets in England vs Singapore
  11. Divorce for British Expats: How the English Courts Deal with Financial Matters
Muslim or Syariah Divorce
  1. Fasakh in a Muslim Divorce in Singapore: Grounds & Process
  2. Divorce by Cerai Taklik: Guide for Muslim Wives in Singapore
  3. Muslim Divorce in Singapore
  4. Talak in a Muslim Divorce in Singapore (and Its Effects)
  5. Guide to Divorcing by Khuluk for Muslim Wives in Singapore
  6. Applying for Nafkah Idaah and Mutaah in a Muslim Divorce in Singapore
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  2. Case Study - Love conquers All: The Divorce That Didn’t Happen
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  2. What Happens to Your HDB Flat After an Annulment?
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  2. Judicial or Legal Separation in Singapore: When and How to File
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  2. Should You Make a Post-Nuptial Agreement in Singapore?