Chua Kay Meng v Tan Siew Ling

JudgeKoh Juat Jong
Judgment Date04 May 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGDC 15
Citation[2000] SGDC 15
Published date19 September 2003
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)




1 The parties were married on 27 February 1992. They have two children born in 1994 and 1996 respectively. The parties obtained a decree nisi to dissolve their marriage on 13 November 1997 based on the uncontested cross-petition of the wife. The cross-petition cited the unreasonable behaviour of the husband. On 11 September 1998, the following orders of court in respect of ancillary matters were made by consent:

(a) the custody, care and control of the children shall be granted to the wife with reasonable access to the husband;

(b) the husband shall transfer all his rights, title and interest in the matrimonial flat at Woodlands to the wife upon which the wife shall pay to the husband 60% of the market valuation price. The husband shall then make repayments to his CPF account on the monies earlier withdrawn for the purchase of the said flat. The costs and expenses for the transfer of the flat shall be borne by the parties in the proportion of 60 : 40 to the husband and the wife respectively;

(c) the husband shall pay the monthly maintenance of $1,300 to the wife being maintenance for the wife and children of the marriage.

2 On 1 December 1999, the husband filed a summons-in-chambers (SIC) seeking the following:

(a) to fix the access hours in respect of his access to the children;

(b) to reduce the maintenance payable by him to $300 for the months from December 1999 to February 2000 and thereafter to $500; and

(c) to sell the matrimonial flat in the open market after March 2000 and the proceeds of sale after deduction for the housing loan, legal and other expenses, be divided between the Petitioner and the Respondent in the proportion of 70 : 30.

3 The SIC came before me for hearing and I fixed the access hours and dismissed the application to reduce the maintenance. There was no appeal on these matters. I also made the following orders in respect of the matrimonial flat:

(1) the wife shall by 14/5/2000 do the following:-

(a) present to the husband the necessary papers from the HDB certifying that she is eligible to take over the flat upon a transfer of the husband’s share of the flat to her and

(b) make the necessary application to the HDB for the transfer;

(2) all the monthly instalments due to the HDB from 11/9/98 shall be borne by the wife in that

(a) the wife shall henceforth pay all future instalments and

(b) the instalments from 11/9/98 paid by the husband shall be repaid by the wife to the husband’s CPF account with accrued interest at the time of the transfer;

(3) if the wife shall fail to so act as per paragraph (1), or if the wife is unable to complete the transfer for whatever reason by 14/8/2000, the husband shall have the option to require the wife to transfer her share in the flat to him upon paying the wife :

(a) 40% of the market valuation price less

(b) the amount of outstanding loan less

(c) the instalments from 11/9/98 to date which had been paid by the husband.

(4) if the husband shall fail to inform the wife in writing that he will be exercising the option within 1 month after 14/5/00, or after 14/8/00, as the case may be, the flat shall be sold in the open marked and 60% of the purchase price after deducting the necessary costs and expenses for sale shall be paid to the husband, and the balance after repayment of the outstanding loan to the wife. The husband shall refund his CPF account of all monies withdrawn before 11/9/98 with accrued interest from his share and the Respondent shall refund the Petitioner’s CPF account of all monies withdrawn on or after 11/9/98 with accrued interest from her share.

(5) Liberty to either party to apply.

4 The wife has appealed against the orders made in respect of the matrimonial property. I would limit the grounds of decision to the orders under appeal.

The Flat

5 The flat was bought in March 1995 at the price of $119,948. It was not disputed that the husband paid for the flat. The wife did not contribute financially to the flat at all. Parties disputed as to whether there was an agreement between them that the wife need not contribute to the flat but she would take care of household expenses and look after the children. The husband said that he paid for the renovation cost of $50,000. The wife said that she paid about $25,000 for renovation. The outstanding loan was about $58,000 at the time of hearing. The value of the flat in October 1998 as well as in June 1999 was $282,000.

Transfer of the Flat

6 The consent order in respect of the transfer of the matrimonial flat was made in September 1998. The valuation of the property was obtained in October 1998. In December 1998, the wife forwarded forms for the sale of the flat to the husband. As the forms were for a sale and not for a transfer, the husband refused to sign them. In February 1999, the wife filed an SIC requesting that the Registrar sign on behalf of the husband. The application was adjourned for a few times for parties to make the necessary inquiries with the HDB and for parties to discuss. The husband obtained a further valuation of the property in June 1999. In August 1999, the wife withdrew the SIC application with cost to the husband. No action was thereafter taken in respect of the transfer. Meanwhile, the matrimonial flat was occupied by the wife and children. The husband continued to service the monthly repayments of the flat from his CPF account.

7 The husband filed this SIC alleging that he had been prejudiced by the delay. He had re-married and formed another family. However, he could not purchase another HDB property as he was still an owner of the flat and his CPF monies were tied up in the flat. He had to incur rentals for his accommodation. He missed the opportunity of purchasing another property when the property price was low.

8 He alleged that the wife could not afford to pay for his share of the flat. He therefore proposed to sell the flat in the open market and divide the proceeds. He wanted a greater share because he had continued to service the monthly repayment and hence made more financial contribution to the flat since the time the consent order was made.

9 The wife resisted the application. In her first affidavit, she said that the...

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