Chan William v Foo Jye Huah (m.w.)

JudgeSowaran Singh
Judgment Date29 May 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 76
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberDivorce Petition No.5739 of 2009, SUM 837 of 2015
Published date18 June 2015
Hearing Date14 May 2015,29 April 2015
Plaintiff CounselMs. Chan Su Ying (M/s W.M. Low & Partners)
Defendant CounselMr. Jayamani Jose Charles (M/s Jose Charles & Co)
Subject MatterCatchwords: Family Law,ancillary hearing,division of matrimonial assets,maintenance for spouse"
Citation[2015] SGFC 76
District Judge Sowaran Singh: Background

The parties married in June 2003. The Plaintiff (husband) was described1 as being a 41 year old project sales manager2 and the Defendant (wife) as being a 34 year old civil servant with both having tertiary qualifications. They have no issue from the union. The husband filed for a divorce on the 25 November 2009 and subsequently3 the wife filed a Counterclaim. Interim Judgment (IJ) was granted on the 17 June 2010 on both their claims on account of each other’s unreasonable behaviour. In the husband’s Statement of Particulars (Amendment No.1)4 it was stated that on the 9 July 2009 the wife had prevented him from gaining entry to the matrimonial home and he had to return to his parents’ home where he stayed since. In the wife’s Counterclaim5 it was stated that the husband had committed family violence against her in 2005 and she was granted a Personal Protection Order; that the husband had been watching pornographic material despite the wife’s objections and engaging with intimate details in on-line chats on dating sites with other women on the Internet. The ancillaries were adjourned to Chambers and came up for hearing on the 29 April and concluded on the 14 May 2015. The wife has now filed an appeal against the decision of the court.

There was in addition SUM 837/2015 which had been filed on the 17 March 2015 by the wife and was also heard together. This was an application by her for discovery/interrogatories relating to 2 bank accounts belonging to the husband. She wanted details from 2003 to 2010 of these bank accounts namely his POSB account No.[XXX] and OCBC account No. [XXX]. The wife’s submissions on this application were marked as D1 and those of the husband as P1.

The Parties Positions in Brief

The matrimonial home was a 5 room HDB apartment (the home)6. The husband wanted it to be sold and the net proceeds divided. The wife wanted to retain the home. The husband offered no maintenance for the wife. She asked for maintenance in either a lump or a monthly sum. The husband asked that each party keep all their other assets except for two insurance policies which he asked to be assigned to him. The wife wanted a share of the husband’s assets. The parties had a joint UOB account (and an earlier POSB account) over which there was much dispute. The husband’s written submissions were marked as exhibit A and his bundle of authorities as A1. The wife’s written submissions were marked as exhibit B and her bundle of authorities as B1.

The Parties 1st Affidavits of Assets and Means (AOM)

The husband in his 1st AOM7 declared that as a project sales manager his net salary was $5,999 (basic: $6,500 + transport allowance: $400. Gross =$6,900). He had used for the home a sum of $210,976 from his CPF and the accrued interest was $31,211. Apart from his CPF funds he had paid an estimated $80,000 out of the $100,000 that was incurred on renovations to the home. In his CPF accounts he had $1,620 (ordinary account), $37,337(Medisave) and $65,929 (Special account).He had equities with 20 counters with a total value of $188,475 out of which $78,355 were pre-marital assets (balance was $109,119). In his 6 bank accounts (which included his POSB account No.[XXX] and OCBC account No. [XXX]8) he had some $118,193 which included a sum of $150 (as at 14 August 2010) in their joint UOB account No. [XXX]. Out of this an estimated sum of about $88,8769 was pre-marital assets. He also declared another 6 bank accounts with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) with a total of $360,15610 which belonged to his parents although his name had been added as a joint account holder. He discovered that he had diabetes in 2008 and was required to undergo various tests. He also had a skin condition11. Taking his declarations at face value he had a total of about $302,881 in the form of other matrimonial assets.

In addition he had paid over the years for the outgoings12 another $353,764. Out of this sum some $9,000 was for utilities (from April 2003 to July 2009) which was deducted from their joint account so his share was $4,500. He also paid over the years for season parking $5,300 even though the car belonged to the wife and was driven by her. Each year he provided the wife $2,000 as “Ang Pow” money for the Chinese New Year. He paid for a part-time domestic helper to clean the home at a cost of $120 a month from February 2005 to June 2009. In addition he paid for their grocery shopping which came up to about $400 every month from February 2005 to June 2009. Both he and the wife went grocery shopping together once a week and spent about $100. He also paid for their meals when they ate outside and this came up to another $320 per month. He proposed that the home be sold in the open market and after repayment of the outstanding mortgage loan, refund of both parties CPF funds used for the purchase together with the accrued interest, all sales costs/expenses including some reinstatement works (which would cost about $20,000 for unauthorised renovations), be divided 70% to him and 30% to the wife.

He asked that the wife be ordered to assign the two Prudential Insurance Policies Nos. 34726619 and 34663984 to him as he paid for the premiums since their inception. As for their other assets he suggested each keep what they had in their own names. As the wife was financially independent he proposed no maintenance for her. The wife had exclusive possession of the home since the 9 July 2009 when she locked him out and he was “forced13 to return to his parent’s house. He still had many things in the home which he wished to retrieve. The wife’s conduct had affected his work performance and on the 9 August 2005 she had even locked him out of the home. The wife even applied for a Personal Protection Order (PPO) in SS 1812/2005 (PPO 871/2005) against him to which he had consented “out of convenience14 which he now wished to rescind. He claimed that the wife “hardly made any contributions towards the marriage”.15

The wife in her 1st AOM16 claimed they had an agreement that she would “look after the household expenses” and the husband “would save money17.From her CPF funds she had paid $94,007 and the accrued interest was $9,321. In addition, she had paid for the Town Council charges and utility bills which were paid from their joint UOB account to which she had also contributed. Every month she would deposit $1,000 into this account whilst the husband did so on an “ad hoc basis”. She had contributed about $36,000 into this account. She had also paid for the furnishings and furniture with her credit card. She claimed that the husband had used a sum of $200,000 from their matrimonial funds to lend to his friend. For her indirect contributions she recounted that on account of the husband’s assault in 2005 and treatment of her she had medical problems including suffering from depression in 200618. This affected her job and she lost out on a promotion from the rank of Captain (Grade 1) to Major (Grade 1) and to Major (Grade 2). When the husband was diagnosed with diabetes in March 2008 she took no pay leave from June to December 2008 to take care of him. Little did she know that he spent his time with other women on the Internet until August 2009.

She declared that she had a net salary of $4,696 (gross: $5,636)19. In addition she received on average a sum of $200 monthly from her employment with Financial Alliance Pte Ltd based on commission as she sold financial products. She donated the entire income from this job to “various non-profit organisation.” She also declared her shares with 9 companies worth $54,632 as at June 2010. In her 5 bank accounts she had some $28,768 and in their joint UOB account No. [XXX] there was a sum of $357.57. In her CPF accounts she had $23,754 (ordinary account), $37,514 (Medisave) and $33,372 (Special account). She had used about $94,007 from her CPF for the home and the accrued interest was $9,321.

Some of the Other Affidavits in Brief

The husband also filed an affidavit by his father20 and a friend21. His father confirmed that the monies in the 6 bank accounts mentioned in the son’s affidavit belonged to him. He had added the son’s name to the accounts in the early 1990’s. The original sum was about $164,000 and this had appreciated as a result of the foreign currencies. The son’s wife was aware of this and he did not wish these sums to be divided. The husband’s friend said that sometime in 2000 he asked the husband for a loan of $20,000 for one day and he handed a post-dated cheque to the husband whom the latter deposited into his bank account the next day. He disputed the wife’s allegation22 that the husband had lent him the sum of $200,000. He also said that as a close friend he was aware that the husband was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008 but he did not stop working. He was informed by the husband that his wife had taken no pay leave from her work to take a break for her own personal reasons.

In his 2nd AOM23 the husband said that in the early years of their marriage he deposited about $15,000 into their joint POSB account which was subsequently closed. From August 2002 to December 2004 he contributed $300 a month into their joint POSB account. The total sum he had put into their joint account was “about $23,00024. The wife claimed she put in about $36,000 but she had withdrawn $10,000 from this account to pay her late grandfather which she had before their marriage borrowed for her studies. The wife did pay “for some of the furnishings and furniture25 which came to less than $5,000. He denied that there was an agreement between them that the wife would pay for the household expenses with her credit card. When they were living together he paid for all the grocery shopping in cash or through NETS. The credit card expenses were the wife’s own personal expenses. He did lend his friend a sum of $20,000 for a day and not $200,000 before their...

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