Service of the Originating Summons

Mode of Service of OS

The Originating Summons for divorce together with the relevant documents must be served on the Defendant. After your filing is accepted, you must select the method of serving the documents in E-Services, under Service of the Originating Summons. Please refer to the user guide on Service of Originating Summons. Service may be effected by personal service, registered post, via the SYC Portal or a substituted mode of service, and has to be effected within 12 months from the date of acceptance of filing of the Originating Summons. You may also wish to refer to the sections on:

Once you have selected a method of service in the SYC Portal, a follow up task will be created for you and you may not change the method of service. However, after 21 days has lapsed and if you have not taken action on the task for that method of service, you will be sent a new task for you to update and select a new method of service.

As a Defendant, if you have been served with the Originating Summons, you are required to acknowledge receipt of the Originating Summons and file your Memorandum of Defence within 21 days of service.  The Memorandum of Defence is an e-form to be filled up in E-Services, together with accompanying documents. Please refer to the process “Service of the Originating Summons via SYC Portal”, and the user guide for Filing of Memorandum of Defence.


Service of the Originating Summons_SYCPortal


Service of the Originating Summons may be effected through the SYC Portal. To use this method, you will need to choose “Attempt Service via SYC Portal” in E-Services at the Service of Originating Summons section. You should choose this method of service only if you have provided a valid and correct email address for the Defendant when filing the Originating Summons for divorce.

Once the Defendant logs into his account on SYC Portal, and accepts the service of the Originating Summons, he will be able to access the Originating Summons, Case statement and the accompanying documents.


Service of the Originating Summons Personal


Personal service may be effected by a Court Process Server or by a solicitor or by an authorised solicitor’s clerk.

A Court Process Server will only serve documents where the Defendant is in prison and the Plaintiff is not represented by a solicitor. The Court’s Process Server will make 1 attempt to serve the Originating Summons to the Defendant, with a fee payment of $29. You will know the outcome of the service attempt through the SYC Portal or at your next Court appointment.

If you are represented by a lawyer, your lawyer or his authorised clerk may attempt a personal service to the Defendant. Upon a successful personal service by a solicitor or by an authorised solicitor’s clerk, an Affidavit of Service must be filed by the solicitor or solicitor’s clerk.


Service of the Originating Summons Registered Post


If you have chosen to have the Originating Summons served by registered post, you are required to send or serve all the documents in the Originating Summons Service Bundle on the Defendant via registered post. In order for the service to be considered valid, the Defendant must sign and return the Acknowledgment of Service Form to you, and the signed Acknowledgement of Service Form must be filed by you through the SYC Portal. If this document is not filed, the service of the Originating Summons on your spouse via registered post (without a Court order) is considered not to have been effected.

You may download the Acknowledgement of Service form from our website here. It is also one of the documents in the Originating Summons Service Bundle on your Dashboard.

Service of the Originating Summons Substituted Service


If personal service, or service by registered post, or service via the SYC Portal of the Originating Summons for divorce is unsuccessful or impossible (such as because your spouse’s (Defendant’s) whereabouts are unknown), the divorce proceedings must still be brought to your spouse’s (Defendant’s) notice. This may be done by alternative methods (known as substituted service) such as newspaper advertisement, registered post (without the need for Defendant to return the Acknowledgement of Service) or electronic mail. You must first apply to the Court for an order for substituted service to allow you to do so. The application is made by filing a summons with a supporting affidavit through the SYC Portal. You may refer to the User guide on Service of Originating Summons for more details.

You will know the outcome of your application through the SYC Portal after 3 working days. Your application may be fixed for a Pre-Trial Conference if there is further information that the Court requires. Directions may also be issued by the Court on the required information. If your application is granted, you will be required to make payment for the Court order that would specify the selected mode of substituted service. You will then have to serve the Originating Summons according to the method stated in the Court Order. Thereafter you must file the Affidavit of Service.

Important: You should not carry out the substituted service until you have obtained the Court order allowing the substituted service.