Kalwant Singh v Amarjeet Kour d/o Sarjit Singh

JudgeSee Kee Oon
Judgment Date15 January 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGDC 4
Published date19 September 2003
Citation[2000] SGDC 4
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)




1. The appellant husband is the respondent in the divorce proceedings. The husband and wife registered their marriage on 8 November 1982. There are two children to the marriage, S, born on 26 January 1986, and R, born on 14 February 1998

2. The wife obtained a divorce decree nisi on 15 July 1999 on the ground of the husband’s unreasonable behaviour. The wife’s petition was not contested, although the husband had filed an answer to the petition denying the wife's allegations. Among other things, she cited the husband's violent and uncontrollable temper, and his physical abuse of both her and the children as instances of unreasonable behaviour. She further alleged that the husband was a habitual drinker who would return home very late and very drunk after his drinking sessions to vent his frustrations on the children in fits of temper. He was not concerned about the children and had not maintained the family on a regular basis.

The ancillary matters

3. The hearing in respect of the ancillary matters was concerned with the issues of custody, maintenance for the wife and the two children, and division of the matrimonial assets, in particular the matrimonial flat at [address] (‘the matrimonial 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. There was an interim order for limited access to be given to the husband. The wife sought to have custody, care and control of both children. The wife pointed to the husband's unreasonable behaviour as cited in her petition for divorce. The files in respect of previous applications for protection orders taken out by the wife and her father against the husband were placed before me. The wife contended that the children were fearful of the husband. She maintained that joint custody was not feasible in view of the continuing acrimony between the parties.

5. The husband asked to have joint custody of the children, with care and control given to the wife. He sought joint custody of at least one of the children. Although he did not contest the divorce petition, he contended that despite the applications for protection orders, no protection order had actually been made against him. He had given undertakings to the wife and her father without admitting liability. Consequently, the applications for protection orders were withdrawn. He had not breached his undertakings thus far.

6. There were hardly any grounds set out by the husband to demonstrate how the children’s best interests would be served if joint custody was ordered. He had also asked to have joint custody of only one child. He did not say why it would be necessary to split up custody of the two children. The husband’s half-hearted attempts to obtain custody reflected the degree of care and concern he had for his children. Moreover, the allegations of unreasonable behaviour were ultimately not refuted as the divorce decree nisi had been obtained without contest.

7. On the other hand, the wife was the primary caregiver. Since March 1998, she had been living with the children at her parents' home in a nearby unit at St George's Road. It was unlikely that it would be in their best interests to make an order for joint custody. I accordingly ordered that the wife was to have custody, care and control of both children. The husband would have access to them every Sunday and every alternate public holiday from 12 noon to 6.00 pm. He was also permitted to make telephone calls to both children twice during weekdays, with each call lasting up to half...

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