Choo Guay Tin v Lee Mong Seng

JudgeHamidah Bte Ibrahim
Judgment Date12 September 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGDC 39
Published date19 September 2003
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)



1. The Petitioner(wife) was married to the Respondent(husband) on the 22/3/1963 at the Singapore marriage registry. There are 4 children to the marriage, a daughter and 3 sons, whose ages range from 34 to 27. The wife’s petition for the marriage to be dissolved on the ground that it had irretrievably broken down because the husband had behaved unreasonably was heard on an uncontested basis on the 23rd of March, 1999. A decree nisi was granted with the usual consequential order that the issues relating to the division of all matrimonial assets and maintenance for the wife be adjourned to be heard in chambers.

2. These were heard before me on the 5th of July, 2000 and I made the following orders: -

1) The matrimonial property know as 18D, Lorong 102, Changi Road is to be sold in the open market and the proceeds of sale less the outstanding loan is to be divided equally between the parties.

2) That the Respondent is to be responsible for the repayment of the overdraft of $250,000 and interest on this amount.

3) That the Petitioner is given the first option either solely or with any nominee, to be exercised within 1 month, of DNA, to purchase the Respondent’s share in the matrimonial property.

4) That the parties do appoint an accountant, to value the business of Blue & White Bus Transport Service within 3 months, with expenses to be borne equally, and the nett assets shall be divided equally between the parties.

5) That the Respondent is given the first option, to be exercised within 1 month after valuation, to purchase the Petitioner’s share in Blue & White Bus Transport Service.

6) That the Respondent to pay to the Petitioner lump sum maintenance of $70,000 and the said sum is to be deducted from his share of the nett proceeds of sale of the matrimonial property.

7) Costs to the Petitioner fixed at $3,500.

8) Liberty to apply.

3. The wife is appealing against paragraphs 1 and 4 of the above orders. In her notice of appeal, in respect of paragraph 4, it is stated that she is seeking an order that the business of Blue & White Bus Transport Service be valued as at 1/12/1998 and the nett assets be divided between the parties. Therefore, the wife is not opposing that this asset be divided equally between the parties as she is merely claiming that the valuation should be effected as at 1/12/1998.

4. The husband has also filed a notice of appeal but against paragraphs 2 and 6. In his notice, he is seeking an order that the overdraft of $250,000 secured on the property be deducted from the proceeds of sale and that he pay monthly maintenance of $700 to the Petitioner.

5. The matrimonial property in question, a 3 storey terrace house, at 18D, Lorong 102 (102) Changi Road, Singapore was purchased sometime in 1992 in the joint names of the husband and the eldest son Lee Wee Min. At the commencement of the hearing of the ancillaries, Lee Wee Min, who was present informed the court that he does not have an interest in the said property and that he will not make a claim on the property. While the parties differed as to the reasons why the wife was not included as a co-owner of the property, it is undisputed, nevertheless, that as this was an asset acquired during the course of the marriage, it is deemed to be a matrimonial asset capable of being divided.

6. Prior to the acquisition of 102, in the course of their very long marriage, the parties had purchased 3 other matrimonial properties. The first of these was a 3-room HDB flat at Circuit Road purchased solely in the name of the husband. This was sold and from the proceeds of sale, plus a loan from the HDB, the couple purchased a 4-room HDB flat situated at Bedok Reservoir Road. Subsequently, sometime in 1987, this flat at Bedok Reservoir Road was sold and the third matrimonial property purchased on 26/08/1987 was at 60H, Tanjong Katong Road. Sometime in 1992, this property was also sold and the nett proceeds of sale were divided equally between the parties i.e. each party received the sum of $117,000.

7. Thereafter, in the same year, the 102 property was purchased at the price of $560,000. The husband took a housing loan of $150,000 from DBS Bank and overdraft facilities of up to $250,000 was also offered by the bank in their letter of 18/03/1992. Sometime in January, 1999, after the wife had instituted divorce proceedings against the husband, he withdrew $250,000 from the overdraft account. The husband contributed $117,638.99 towards the purchase price being monies from his share of the Tanjong Katong property. There was a housing loan of $111,000 and the property had a market value of about $1 million. The said property is currently being occupied by the wife and the 4 adult children with their respective spouses. After being served with the divorce papers, the husband left the family on the 12/01/1999.

8. Where the wife’s monetary contributions towards 102 were concerned, she claimed that she had paid in November, 1993 the sum of $35,000. After the initial payment of $117,638.99, the husband did make further payments in settlement of the housing loan but he stopped after leaving the family. Since January 1999 the wife with the assistance of her son, has been paying the monthly instalments. In addition to this, the wife said she had been paying for all the outgoings of the matrimonial home like PUB, TAS, property tax etc and she has exhibited (at pages 95 to 110 of CGT6) in her affidavit of 4/6/1999 pages of the entries of bank accounts held jointly with the husband.

9. In totality, the wife claimed that she had paid $35,000 as the initial payment, plus the monthly instalments amounting to $21,565 (at $1,135 per month from January 1999 to July 2000). On the other hand, the husband has paid $117,000 towards the purchase price as well as the monthly instalments of $1,135 towards the outstanding mortgage. However, his counsel did not furnish to the court the total amount paid by way of monthly instalments by the husband.

10. Besides her direct contributions, the wife also submitted that she had made indirect substantial contributions towards the welfare of the family resulting from a marriage which lasted for 36 years. She looked after and raised 4 children without much assistance from their father. The family business, known as Blue & White Bus Transport Service (primarily for the supply of transport services, hiring of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT