AQZ v ARB

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeLim Choi Ming
Judgment Date03 June 2011
Neutral Citation[2011] SGDC 180
Citation[2011] SGDC 180
Published date22 June 2011
Docket NumberDivorce Suit No.4955 of 2009
Hearing Date18 April 2011
Plaintiff CounselMs Aye Cheng Shone [M/s AC Shone & Co.] - Plaintiff
Defendant CounselMr B Ganeshamoorthy [M/s Cornerstone Law LLP] - Defendant
District Judge Lim Choi Ming: Introduction

This is an appeal by the Plaintiff (“the Wife”) against orders made by me on 18 April 2011 in respect of outstanding ancillary matters in Divorce Suit No: 4955 of 2009 (“the ancillary orders”).

The parties herein were married on 15 June 2005 at the Registry of Marriages Singapore. There are two children to the marriage, both of whom are xxx, aged 9 years old and 10 years old respectively and both of whom are still studying. The Plaintiff (“the Wife”) is a xxx aged xxx years old and the Defendant (“the Husband”) is a xxx, aged xxx years old.

Divorce proceedings

On 8 October 2009, the Wife commenced proceedings to dissolve the marriage with the Husband on the fact that the marriage had broken down irretrievably in that that the Husband had behaved in such a way that she could not reasonably be expected to live with him.

It bears mentioning that parties had previously been married in the xxx on 25 July 2000. This marriage was however, annulled in Singapore under D1186/2005C on the basis that it was void ab initio because the Husband’s previous divorce had not been made absolute prior to contracting his July 2000 marriage to the Wife. The Husband’s previous divorce was only made absolute on 15 August 2000 after the parties had already registered their marriage in xxx. After the annulment, parties remarried each other at the Registry of Marriages on 15 June 2005.

Although the Husband had indicated that he would contest the matter, parties agreed to proceed on an uncontested basis upon the Wife amending her Statement of Particulars. The divorce thus proceeded on an uncontested basis based on the Husband’s unreasonable behavior.

The Interim Judgment was granted on the 29 January 2010 and the ancillary issues were adjourned to chambers.

Issues at ancillary hearing

The ancillary issues that were adjourned to be heard are the following issues: Custody, care and control of the two children of the marriage; maintenance for the two children; maintenance for the wife; and the division of the matrimonial assets including the matrimonial flat at xxx.

Ancillary Matters

In respect of the outstanding ancillary issues, the parties filed the following:

Wife
P1 Affidavit of Assets and Means filed on 2 June 2010
P2 2nd ancillary Affidavit filed on 13 December 2010
P3 3rd ancillary Affidavit filed on 3 March 2011
P35A Plaintiff’s Ancillary Matters Fact and Position Sheet filed on 9 March 2011
PS Plaintiff’s Submissions filed on 18 April 2011
Husband
D1 Affidavit of Assets and Means filed on 16 November 2010
D2 2nd ancillary affidavit filed on 17 February 2011
D3 3rd ancillary affidavit filed on 18 February 2011
D35A Defendant’s Ancillary Matters Fact and Position Sheet filed on 13 April 2011
DS Defendant’s Submissions filed on 13 April 2011
The Ancillary Orders

The ancillary matters came on for hearing before me on 18 April 2011. Following arguments and submissions, my orders were thus: There shall be joint custody of the 2 children of the marriage “B” and “G” with care and control to the Plaintiff and reasonable access to the Defendant. The Defendant shall pay a monthly maintenance of $1100 per month as maintenance for the 2 children of the marriage with immediate effect. Matrimonial flat at xxx shall be sold in the open market within 3 months from date of the final judgment. The sale price less costs and expenses of the sale and refund of the Defendant’s CPF and interest shall be divided in the proportion of 25% to Plaintiff and 75% to Defendant. The Plaintiff (“Spouse”) shall further be entitled to $82,875 of the Defendant’s (“Member”) CPF monies pursuant to Section 112 of the Women Charter (the “Ordered Amount”). This is in full and final settlement of the division of assets. After the making of the refund into the Defendant’s CPF account of the required CPF monies in respect of xxx from the sale proceeds of the home, the Board shall transfer, from the monies standing to the credit of the Member, the amount specified as follows to the Spouse’s CPF account.

Member’s CPF account to transfer from Amount to Transfer to Spouse’s A/c
Ordinary account $82,875
There shall be no maintenance for the Plaintiff wife. The arrears in maintenance for the period June 2008 – August 2010 totalling $21,600 has been fully and finally settled under the above division of assets calculation. Liberty to apply. Each party to bear his or her own costs. Notice of Appeal

It is against the above orders that the Wife filed an appeal on 25 April 2011. In her appeal, the Wife does not state what she is seeking as alternative orders, save that she is unhappy with the following parts of my orders: The division of the net proceeds of the Matrimonial flat in the proportion of 25% to Wife and 75% to Husband; The entitlement to the Wife to $82,875 of the Husband’s CPF monies in full and final settlement of the division of assets. No maintenance for the Wife; and The arrears of maintenance totaling $21,600 being fully settled under the above division.

As the Wife’s appeal does not deal with the issues of the custody, care and control of the children nor indeed the maintenance for the two children, I shall limit my reasons to the issues on appeal, touching briefly on the other orders if they have bearing upon my decision for the issues appealed against.

Division of Matrimonial Assets

The matrimonial flat is a xxx room HDB flat purchased by the parties in joint names. The flat is fully paid for with no outstanding HDB mortgage loan. The Wife says that the current market value is $405,000-001. The Husband says that the current value is $340,000-002. I had checked on recent HDB Resale Transactions for the period November 2010 to April 2011 and noted two transactions of $405,000-00 in November 2010 and $391,500-00 as at March 2011. I therefore accepted that a reasonable market price of the flat would be $400,000-00.

The Wife’s Position

The Wife is currently a xxx and earns a gross monthly income of $1,600 and a monthly take home pay of approximately $1,2803. A written note from her employer is exhibited at “ZA-1”of P1.

The Wife alleges to have made a direct financial contribution of $12,000 towards the purchase price of the flat.4 There does not appear to be any proof of such contribution. The Husband has refuted the Wife’s allegations on the basis that she had not been working in 2001 and therefore could not have provided the alleged $12,0005.

The Wife’s calculations on the direct contributions of both parties6 are as follows:

Payment made Wife Husband
1 CPF Principal nil $ 282,183.72
2 CPF Interest nil $ 49,164.78
- $ 333,348.50
3 Cash payment $ 12,000.00 -
Total (excl CPF interest) $294,183 $ 12,000.00 $ 282,183.72
Percentage 4% 96%

The Wife surmised that she had made direct contribution of 5% while the Husband had made direct contributions of 95% towards the purchase of the home.

On that basis, the Wife’s position as set out in her written submissions “PS” 7 was that she sought 100% of the flat for herself with no CPF refund to be made to the Husband.

Her financial position is as follows:

Asset Value
1 2 UOB Bank account xxx POSB Bank account xxx $ 309.37 $ 559.29
CPF monies Ordinary A/c CPF Medisave A/c CPF Retirement A/c $12,068.09 $ 3,420.62 $ 2,954.32
Total $19,311.69

The Wife submitted that she had paid for the paid for the conservancy charges and utilities because the Husband was always overseas. She also claims to have made substantial indirect financial contributions towards the marriage in the form of her care for the two children, upkeep of the home and undertaking of domestic chores especially between 2000 to 2006 when she was a housewife. For her efforts, she sought 100% of the value of the property to be given to her including all of the Husband’s CPF monies8.

When queried by the Court how the Wife could justify asking for a 100% of the entire value of the flat including the Husband’s CPF when it was clear that the Wife had made direct financial contribution of a mere 4% to the value of the Flat by her own admission, Counsel for the Wife based the Wife’s claim on her need to house the children and her inability to purchase a new flat because of her lack of means.

Counsel for the Husband disputed the Wife’s allegations of her direct financial contributions. Counsel for the Husband refuted that the Wife had $12,000 to pay for the matrimonial home, or that she had money to pay for conservancy charges and utilities as alleged since she was a housewife at the material time of 2001. Counsel for the Husband says that the truth of the matter is that it was the Husband who gave the Wife the money for household expenses and outgoings. This is admitted by the Wife9, namely that the Husband gave her a monthly sum of $3,000/month for maintenance and household expenses during their happier days until two years ago.

The husband’s position

The Husband’s version of the parties’ respective financial contributions are as follows:

Payment made Wife Husband
1 CPF Principal nil $ 282,183.72
2 CPF Interest nil $ 49,164.78
3. Cash nil -
- $ 333,348.50
Percentage Nil 100%

Counsel for the Husband disputes that the Wife had made any direct financial contributions towards the purchase of the Flat. The Husband says that the Flat is solely acquired by payment from his CPF monies and that it has been fully paid up over the...

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