Lee Inn Beng v Lim Soo Hwee (m.w.)

CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeLee Li Choon
Judgment Date01 September 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 110
Citation[2015] SGFC 110
Docket NumberDivorce No. 2422 of 2014
Publication Date16 September 2015
Plaintiff CounselMs Wong Soo Chih (Ho Wong Law Practice LLC)
Defendant CounselMs Loh Wai Mooi and Ms Ho Shiao Hong (Bih Li & Lee LLP)
SubjectCatchwords: Family Law,division of matrimonial assets,Family Law,maintenance for children
District Judge Lee Li Choon: Introduction

This is an appeal filed by the Plaintiff-husband against part of my decision given on 22 June 2015 on ancillary matters subsequent to a divorce. The husband’s appeal is against my decision on the children’s maintenance, the division of matrimonial assets as well as the lump sum maintenance I have ordered in favour of the wife.

The Plaintiff-husband and the Defendant-wife were married in Singapore on 29 October 1992. This is a marriage that lasted 23 years. There are two children from the marriage, a daughter who just turned 21 years old and a son who is 20 years old. The husband filed for divorce and the wife responded with her counterclaim. Interim Judgment dissolving the marriage on the ground that each party has behaved in such a way that the other party cannot reasonably be expected to live with that party was granted on 1 July 2014.

Background

At the time of the hearing on the ancillary matters, the 21-year old daughter was pursuing her undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore and the 20-year old son was serving full time national service. The husband is 50+ years old and he works as a Director, APAC at Elsevier (S) Pte Ltd. The wife is 54+ years old and she is a self-employed person working as a remisier at CIMB Securities (Singapore) Pte Ltd.

The parties in this case own a fully paid up HDB executive flat at Hougang which has an estimated value of $600K. Presently, the two children and the wife are living in this flat, as the husband had left the matrimonial home in November 2013 when the marriage broke down.

In addition to the HDB executive flat, parties in this case own a number of other assets, the details of which I will provide in the portion of my judgment on division of matrimonial assets between the parties.

Maintenance for the children Wife has care and control of children

On the issue of care and control that is relevant to the issue of the children’s maintenance in that it has to be ascertained as to who would be bearing the financial responsibility of seeing to the children’s housing and accommodation needs, the husband stated in his Statement of Claim and Proposed Parenting Plan that the wife should have care and control of the children as in his own words, “he wishes to minimize the disruption to the children’s lives as they already have had to deal with the parents’ divorce” and “further, he (the husband) would need to find a place to rent in the future and is uncertain of the suitability of the environment and location of his residence.”

As the fact is that the children have been living with the mother, and the husband himself wanted minimal change to the children’s lives, I therefore took the position that for these reasons, the wife should continue to have care and control of the children. Thus, the issue of maintenance has to be considered in that context.

Parties’ income

The husband is a Director at Elsevier (Singapore) Pte Ltd and draws a monthly salary of $13,838.31 (his monthly take home income is about $12,837.31). This amount does not include his bonus which the wife says is rather substantial given that he received a bonus of S$26,562.24 in March 2014. The husband has also recently set up a company, IconPOS (S) Pte Ltd which provides integration services. According to the husband, this business was set up in preparation for the eventuality of a retrenchment from his employment. The company has a paid up capital of $40,000 and the OCBC Statement of Account for this company from August 2014 to October 2014 shows an average monthly balance of only $36,286.41. Thus, the company is presently not profitable.

The wife works as a self-employed remisier at CIMB Securities (Singapore) Pte Ltd and her income is not fixed. Her average income from January 2014 to July 2014 is about $2,411 after deducting medisave contribution. She said in her affidavit that due to the many regulatory measures that have been introduced recently, her income as a remisier has been adversely affected and she believed that her income would not improve in the foreseeable future.

In addition, the wife was also diagnosed with diabetes in 2009. She incurs about $345 in medical expenses every month and foresees a rise in medical expenses in the future in light of her medical condition. Being self-employed, she has no medical benefits. On the whole, given her age, her medical condition and working experience, her future employment prospects and income capacity is not as good as the husband’s.

Therefore, as regards maintenance for the children, based on the facts as described in the above, the husband would have to shoulder the brunt of it as he had been throughout the marriage. It is not disputed that the husband contributed $7,000 per month for family expenses from May 2011 to February 2013. In February 2013, that amount was reduced to $5,500 as the husband said he needed funds for his new business venture. In paragraph 7(g) of the husband’s Statement of Claim and paragraph 3(c) of the Proposed Parenting Plan, the husband himself proposed to provide monthly maintenance of $2,000 for each child until they complete their tertiary education. The wife asked for $2,000 for each child and that in addition, the husband should provide for the children’s education expenses, including hostel fees. It is not disputed that the husband is presently paying for the elder daughter’s tertiary education expenses.

On the whole, I am of the view that the husband should continue to pay for the 2 children’s educational expenses up till their first degree. Section 69(5)(c) of the Women’s Charter, Cap 353, provides for the court’s power to make such orders in relation to the daughter who is now above 21 years old and for the son, to extend the effect of such court orders to after the son has attained the age of 21 years.

In addition to their tertiary school fees, I am of the view that the amount of $2000 for each child proposed by the husband is a reasonable one in light of his present income capacity. As the children are old enough to manage their own finances, I am of the view that a portion should be paid to them directly and so, I ordered for half of this monthly sum to be paid to each of the two children directly. As for the other half, I am of the view that the amount should be given to the wife as the children’s share of the household expenses in light of the fact that they are living with the mother. The wife would have to pay for all the necessary outgoings such as utilities, internet charges, conservancy charges, town council fees, property tax and other property-related expenses. As the children are living with her, the wife should be provided with a sum that represents their share of the household...

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