JudgeWoo Bih Li J
Judgment Date30 September 2014
Neutral Citation[2014] SGHC 189
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberDivorce Transferred No 484 of 2012, (Summons No 10876 of 2012)
Published date11 July 2015
Hearing Date29 May 2014,30 July 2014,22 April 2014
Plaintiff CounselJohnson Loo (Drew & Napier LLC)
Defendant CounselCarrie Gill (Harry Elias Partnership)
Subject MatterFamily law,Maintenance,Child,Wife,Matrimonial assets,Division
Citation[2014] SGHC 189
Woo Bih Li J: Introduction

This is another case dealing with ancillaries after judgment has been given in divorce proceedings between a husband (“the Husband”) and a wife (“the Wife”).

Before the ancillaries were heard, the Wife filed Summons No 10876 of 2013 (“Summons 10876”) for an order for maintenance in the interim period pending the final outcome of the ancillaries. On 22 April 2014, I made an order in Summons 10876 that the Husband was to pay $1,200 per month in addition to what he was paying as interim maintenance for the two children of the marriage with effect from 1 May 2014.

Subsequently, on 29 May 2014, I gave oral judgment on: the division of matrimonial assets between the Husband and the Wife; maintenance of the Wife and of the children by the Husband. A copy of the oral judgment is attached hereto as Annex A.

The Husband then filed two notices of appeal to the Court of Appeal. The notice of appeal for Civil Appeal 102 of 2014 is in respect of my decision in Summons 10876 for interim maintenance given on 22 April 2014 and not on 29 May 2014 as erroneously stated in the notice of appeal. The notice of appeal for Civil Appeal 103 of 2014 is in respect of my main decision given on 29 May 2014. The Husband’s solicitors have clarified that the notice of appeal for Civil Appeal 102 of 2014 was filed as a precaution to avoid any technical objection from the Wife. The main appeal is Civil Appeal 103 of 2014. I state my reasons below.


The issues on appeal to the Court of Appeal are as follows: whether the Husband’s retirement funds was correctly calculated as $85,728.51; whether the matrimonial assets should be divided 60:40 between the Wife and the Husband; whether the method of division such that the Wife received 82.79% of the matrimonial home but the Husband would retain the assets in his name was correct; whether the Husband should have been ordered to pay $1 nominal maintenance for the Wife; whether the Husband should have been ordered to pay 65% of the children’s expenses as maintenance; whether the children’s expenses amounted to $5,355 per month or a lower sum; whether the order to pay maintenance for the children should commence retrospectively from 1 July 2013; and whether the Husband should have been ordered to pay costs of $800 for Summons 10876 which was the Wife’s application for interim maintenance.

The court’s reasons

The parties had resolved issues of custody, care and control of and access to the children. The outstanding issues before me were therefore the division of matrimonial assets and maintenance.

Division of matrimonial assets

My oral judgment sets out the value of the matrimonial assets. I also explained to counsel that I derived the value from information provided by the parties and summarised by counsel.

When the Husband’s solicitors, Drew & Napier, clarified the areas of dispute in respect of the Husband’s appeal, they said that the Husband’s retirement funds, as at October 2013, should not be attributed a value of $85,728.51 but a lower figure as I will elaborate below. They explained that the $85,728.51 was a notional figure which represented 100% of the value of the Husband’s funds in an INVEST-Retirement Plan of the Civil Service. This 100% was applicable only if the Husband were to retire in October 2013 and if he had reached the retirement age of 55 years as at October 2013. Under the INVEST plan, he was eligible to receive 100% of the value only if he retired at the age of 55. However, he was only 40 years of age as at October 2013 as he was born on 27 August 1973. As such, the vesting percentage would only be 45% of $85,728.51. Therefore the value to be attributed to his retirement funds should have been 45% of $85,728.51 = $38,577.83.

While there seems to be some logic in this explanation, the problem was that this explanation was not given at the time of the hearing before me. Parties had proceeded before me on the basis that his retirement funds amounted to $85,728.51. The Husband did not request leave to make further arguments. Also, even at this stage, I do not know whether there is documentary evidence to support the explanation. Furthermore, the Wife has not stated her position on this explanation.

The second issue is whether the Wife should have been granted 60% of the matrimonial assets.

As regards the direct financial contributions to acquire the matrimonial home, which was an HDB flat in Jurong, the Husband contended that the Husband’s contribution and the Wife’s were 62.14% and 37.86% respectively. The Wife contended that it was 56.7% and 43.3% for the Husband and the Wife respectively.

Parties were largely agreeable on the quantum of each party’s direct financial contributions by way of deduction from their respective CPF accounts and the cash each had provided. The main area of contention was the Husband’s alleged contribution of about $25,000 towards payments for renovation, furniture, property tax, maintenance fee, etc.

The value of assets which each held in his/her own name, ie, excluding the matrimonial home, was about 62.74% and 37.26% for the Husband and Wife respectively.

As regards the earning capacity of each of the parties, the Husband appeared to be earning about 65% of the combined income.

It was not possible for me to ascertain who was correct about the direct financial contributions. Bearing in mind that the parties’ figures were not far apart and taking into account their other assets and their earning capacities and looking at the direct financial contributions in the round, I was of the view that it would be fair to say that the Husband and Wife had contributed 60:40 respectively to acquire the matrimonial home.

As for the parties’ indirect contributions, the Husband contended that as the Wife also worked fulltime and as he is a hands-on father and a husband who contributed to the household chores and upkeep, the Wife’s non-financial contributions would not be more than his. Therefore, the Husband contended that all the matrimonial assets should be divided 60:40 in his favour.

On the other hand, the Wife asked for 90.7% for the matrimonial home and offered to pay $100,000 into the Husband’s CPF account to acquire his 9.3% share. The Husband would retain the rest of the matrimonial assets in his name.

The Wife proceeded on the basis that she would be awarded 43.3% (and not 40%) of the matrimonial home for her direct financial contribution to acquire it. She then estimated $100,000 to be the amount to be paid into the Husband’s CPF account to reimburse him for the principal (and interest) which he used to pay for the matrimonial home. That $100,000 worked out to 9.3% of $1,075,620.75 (which was the initial figure which the Wife was using as the value of the matrimonial home). Hence she claimed 90.7%. As she started on the basis of 43.3%, the difference was another 47.4% which she was claiming for her indirect contributions.

I was of the view that it did not follow that because the Wife also works fulltime and because the Husband has played a part in the raising of the children and to caring for the household that his indirect contributions were equal to hers. It was quite clear to me from the affidavits and submissions that the Wife was the primary care-giver and the one primarily responsible for the care of the household.

The Wife also contended that the younger child was at risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and/or Oppositional Defiant Disorder which was supported by a psychological report. She also alleged that the elder child had been subjected to emotional stress and developed psychosomatic symptoms because of the Husband’s interrogations to seek information to be used in the ancillaries. The elder child is seeing a psychiatrist and is undergoing counselling in school.

The Husband contended that the marriage lasted about nine years and four months as the marriage broke down irretrievably by January 2012. The Wife contended that the marriage lasted about ten years and four months as she calculated the length of the marriage up to the date of the interim judgment (“IJ”) on 14 January 2013. I used ten years as the length of the marriage. Bearing in mind the length of the marriage and that the younger child is at risk of a disorder, I granted the Wife an additional 20% of all the matrimonial assets for her indirect contributions. Therefore, as regards the matrimonial home, the Wife’s notional share would increase from 40% to 60%.

However, as the Husband held a higher value of the remaining matrimonial assets, I decided to grant the Wife a higher percentage of the matrimonial home so that he could keep the assets held in his name. This worked out arithmetically to another 22.79% for the Wife. Therefore, she would get:

(a) 40.00% being the base figure from her direct financial contributions
(b) 20.00% for her indirect contributions
(c) 22.79% being an adjustment so that the Husband keeps the rest of his assets.
82.79% Of the matrimonial home
Each party would then retain the other assets held in his/her own name.

Aside from the questions of whether the Husband’s retirement funds should be a lower sum and whether the Wife should be given 20% for her indirect contributions, the Husband is also unhappy about the above adjustment.

First, the Husband is of the view that as he has a higher amount, ie, about $332,294 in his CPF account compared with the Wife who has about $188,479 in her CPF account, he is at a disadvantage if the court makes the above adjustment and the Wife gets a larger share in the matrimonial home and he gets to keep the assets in his name. The Husband’s point which his counsel explained to me after I had given my decision was that he has more limited access to money in his CPF account. The suggestion was that the court...

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4 cases
  • Ape v Apf
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 9 September 2015
    ...the correct legal position regarding the correct order to be made when preserving a wife's right to maintenance: at [9] . In ANJ v ANK[2014] SGHC 189, the High Court applied Tan Bee Giok (CA) in granting nominal maintenance but went on to observe that it was ‘not logical to maintain a disti......
  • VSR v VSS
    • Singapore
    • Family Court (Singapore)
    • 19 July 2021
    ...third round of AOMs that it was discovered that she had assets not previously revealed. Should the methodogy of division in ANJ v ANK [2014] SGHC 189 apply, the Husband took the view that parties should be considered to have made equal indirect contributions to the marriage33. He claimed th......
  • TEN v TEO
    • Singapore
    • Family Court (Singapore)
    • 7 July 2015
    ...I agreed with the Husband’s submission of apportioning the expenses based on the proportion of income (also applied in ANJ v ANK [2014] SGHC 189) and upheld in ANJ v ANK [2015] SGCA 34, although I disagreed with the Husband’s assessment that his income capacity should be pegged at $10,000 a......
  • ANJ v ANK
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 7 July 2015
    ...Wife”) and children following the grant of an interim order for divorce. The written grounds of the Judge are reported at ANJ v ANK [2014] SGHC 189 (“the GD”). CA 102/2014 was an appeal by the Husband against the Judge’s grant of an interim maintenance (by way of Summons No 10876 of 2013 (“......
1 books & journal articles
  • Family Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2015, December 2015
    • 1 December 2015
    ...a wife's right to maintenance in the future was to make an order of no maintenance but with ‘liberty to apply’; secondly, in ANJ v ANK[2014] SGHC 189 at [30], where Woo Bih Li J had questioned if it was logical to maintain a distinction between nil maintenance and nominal maintenance; and f......

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