Chia Geok Siang v Tan Guat Eng

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeSee Kee Oon
Judgment Date14 January 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGDC 3
Citation[2000] SGDC 3
Published date19 September 2003




1. The appellant husband is the respondent in the divorce proceedings. The wife petitioned for divorce on 30 June 1998 on the ground of the husband’s unreasonable behaviour. The husband filed an answer and cross-petition but subsequently withdrew them. A decree nisi was granted on 4 March 1999 in respect of the wife’s petition, which was not contested

2. The husband and wife are now 34 and 36 years old respectively. They registered their marriage on 8 January 1988. There are two male children to the marriage, B, born on 28 October 1990, and G, born on 27 November 1998. The wife left the matrimonial home with the elder son in 1998 to stay with her mother. She subsequently gave birth to the younger son.

The ancillary matters

3. The hearing in respect of the ancillary matters was concerned with the issues of custody, maintenance for the two children, and division of the matrimonial assets, in particular the matrimonial flat at [address] (‘the Gangsa Road flat’). The wife was also seeking an order for the husband to bear the costs of the divorce and ancillaries.

i Custody, care and control

4. The wife sought to have custody, care and control of both children. The children were both living with her since she left the Gangsa Road flat. They were both still young. She maintained that the husband had never looked after the children and had also admitted to beating the elder child. Moreover, the husband’s initial proposal was merely to have custody of one child, who would be cared for by his mother in any event.

5. Although counsel for the husband intimated that he had instructions to ask for custody of both children, there were hardly any grounds set out by the husband to demonstrate how the children’s best interests would be served if they were to be placed under his custody. In the first place, he had originally only asked to have custody of only one child. He did not say why it would be necessary to split up the two children.

6. In any event, counsel for the husband intimated that he would leave it to the court to decide on the issue of custody. In my opinion, the husband’s somewhat half-hearted attempt to obtain custody reflected the degree of care and concern he had for his children. It was unlikely that it would be in their best interests to place them under his custody. I accordingly ordered that the wife was to have custody, care and control of both children, with reasonable access to be given to the husband.

ii. Maintenance

7. The wife was not seeking maintenance for herself. She was working as a sales supervisor, earning about $1,500 net a month. The husband claimed to be working as a lorry driver. He produced a letter from his employer, Seng Thong Disposal Sevice (see husband’s affidavit of 8 October 1999) stating that his basic salary was only $1,000 per month. In that letter, it was also stated that his employment commenced from 1 September 1999. Curiously, in an earlier affidavit filed on 7 May 1999, he had said then that he...

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