Liow Hui Lee v Chew Boon Seng

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeSuriakumari d/o Sidambaram
Judgment Date05 June 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGDC 22
Citation[2000] SGDC 22
Published date19 September 2003



A. The Facts

1. The parties were married on 8 February 1994 at the Singapore Marriage Registry and they have no children born of the marriage. The Petitioner had met the Respondent when she was 16 years of age and they had cohabited since then for about 9 years before the registration of their marriage. The Decree Nisi was granted on 2 November 1999 based on the ground that the marriage had irretrievably broken down due to the Respondent’s unreasonable behaviour. The ancillary issues of maintenance for the Petitioner, division of the matrimonial property and a personal loan owing by the Respondent to the Petitioner were adjourned to be heard in chambers. The hearing of these issues came up for hearing before me on 22 March 2000.

2. After having heard the submissions of counsel for both the Petitioner and the Respondent, I made the following orders, namely:

1) The matrimonial flat at Blk 634, Pasir Ris Drive 1 #06-608, Singapore 510634 be sold in the open market within 3 months from the date of this order and after deduction of the outstanding loan to the HDB and reimbursement of CPF contributions utilised by both parties from their respective CPF accounts towards payment for the flat and deduction of all costs and incidentals to the sale of this flat, the net sale proceeds are to be divided between Petitioner and Respondent in the proportion of 60: 40 in favour of the Petitioner.

2) The Respondent to return the Petitioner’s loan of $10,000 to Petitioner which sum is to be deducted from the Respondent’s share of sale proceeds and paid to the Petitioner.

3) The Respondent to pay lump sum maintenance for the Petitioner in the sum of $15,000 ( $250 per month multiply by 5 years) which sum is to be deducted from the Respondent’s share of the sale proceeds and paid to the Petitioner.

4) No other orders in respect of any other claims on matrimonial property and arrears of maintenance.

5) The Registrar be empowered to sign, seal and deliver all deeds, instruments, transfers and documents required for the sale of the said of the matrimonial flat should either party fail, refuse or neglect to do the same.

6) Parties be at liberty to apply

3. The Respondent being dissatisfied only with the decision in respect of the division of the matrimonial flat, the payment of the loan and the payment of the Petitioner’s maintenance, appeals against those orders. This Grounds of Decision will therefore only address these issues raised by the Respondent. The Respondent did not state in his Notice of Appeal the orders that he seeks on appeal.

B. The Findings

(a) Division of the matrimonial property

4. The matrimonial flat in question in this case is a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat at Block 634 Pasir Ris Drive 1 #06-608 Singapore 510634 ("the flat"). It is a 4 room flat purchased on 1 January 1994 in the joint names of the parties at a purchase price of $90,200/-. A mortgage loan of $72,700 was taken on the flat and the mortgage installments were $394/- per month. The court was informed that the outstanding mortgage on the flat as at 8 May 1999 was $63,528.20. The Petitioner claimed that the market value of the flat was more than $300,000/-.

5. According to the Petitioner, she paid a total of $12,340.01 inclusive of accrued interest as at January 2000 (exhibit "LHL-1" annexed to the Petitioner’s Affidavit filed on 17 February 2000 refers) from her Central Provident Fund (CPF) account. She claimed that she also paid $1,000 towards the deposit during the purchase of the flat as well as the administrative fees of $85.50. The Respondent however claimed that he paid the sum of $85.50. The Respondent also claimed that as at November 1999, he had utilized $12,060.68 from his CPF account towards the purchase of the flat(exhibit "CBS-1" attached to the Respondent’s Affidavit filed on 14 February 2000).

6. The Respondent claimed that he paid the monthly installments of the flat. The Petitioner however stated that although the Respondent was supposed to pay for the monthly installments, he had defaulted and the HDB had issued and served, by posting on their door, a Writ of Summons for the loan arrears. The Petitioner stated that she paid a total of about $1,805/- towards the loan arrears on or about 23 May 1995. She said that in this respect the Respondent had only repaid her $200/- of the amount she paid. The Respondent admitting that she had made the payment, however, claimed that he had repaid her $1,205/- and claimed further that the Petitioner had waived the remaining sum.

7. The Petitioner also added that since marriage, she had been paying all the household expenses, such as, telephone bills, food and groceries, clothes and "even underwear for the Respondent". The Respondent however claimed that he paid the conservancy and service charges, utilities and telephone bills. The Petitioner further said that during the marriage if anything was broken in the house, it was she who went obtain replacements and that the Respondent never did. She further said that she solely paid for all the furniture in the flat (except for the television and the fan), which items are itemized in paragraph 8 of the Petitioner’s Affidavit filed on 17 February 2000, at a total cost of $6,800/-. The Petitioner also stated that she had paid for some renovations to the flat, in that after the flooring was changed, she cleaned up the flat, bought and installed the light bulbs and bought paint and painted the 4-room flat which amounted to more than $800/-. She said that it was the Respondent’s friend, a renovations contractor, who had changed the flooring of the flat. The Respondent was also only able to produce receipts for renovation in the sum of $6,000/-. The Respondent claimed that he too had purchased various household items occasionally but he never itemized any item that he bought for the flat nor produce any evidence of such purchase.

8. The Petitioner further stated that she stopped staying in the flat since September 1997 owing to the Respondent’s unreasonable behaviour, namely, his death threats and violence against her. She added...

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