Neo Yoke Peng v Walker Anthony Sam

JudgeHamidah Bte Ibrahim
Judgment Date20 May 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGDC 18
Citation[2000] SGDC 18
Published date19 September 2003
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)



1. The Petitioner (wife) was married to the Respondent (husband) at the Singapore Marriage Registry on the 19th of September, 1986. They have 2 daughters, aged 9 and 6. The wife filed a petition seeking a dissolution of the marriage on the ground that it had irretrievably broken down because of the husband’s unreasonable conduct. This was contested by the husband when he filed his answer and at the same time, a cross-petition in which he prayed for the marriage to be dissolved on similar grounds.

2. Thereafter, the husband failed to comply with an order of court directing him to file his affidavit of his evidence in chief and the wife’s application for his answer and cross-petition to be struck out was granted. In any event, the wife’s petition then became uncontested and a decree nisi dissolving the marriage was pronounced on the 19th of November, 1998. Custody, care and control of the 2 daughters, namely C (aged 9) and D (aged 6) was granted to the wife with their father having access from Saturday 8:00 pm to Sunday 8:00 pm. The matters involving division of all the matrimonial assets and maintenance for the wife /children were adjourned to be heard in chambers.

3. On the 14th of March, 2000, these matters were heard before me and after considering the affidavits filed in support and submissions made on their behalf I made the following orders:-

1) Respondent is ordered to pay $500 per month as maintenance for the younger child, D, with effect from 1/01/2000 and thereafter on the 1st of each month.

2) Respondent is ordered to pay $600 per month as maintenance for C, with effect 1/01/1999 and thereafter on the 1st of each month.

3) Existing Maintenance Order at $100 per month for Petitioner to continue.

4) Payments into a bank account to be designated by Petitioner.

5) Respondent is ordered to transfer his rights, interest and title in the matrimonial flat at [address] absolutely to the Petitioner upon the Petitioner refunding to his CPF account all monies plus accrued interest used by Respondent in the purchase of the flat within 3 months of DNA.

6) Parties to retain all monies in their respective bank accounts.

7) Charge in the sum of $60,000 of Respondent’s CPF account in favour of the Petitioner.

8) Usual CPF clauses to apply.

9) Costs to the Petitioner fixed at $3,000.

4. The husband has now appealed against paragraphs 1,2,5,7 and 8 of the above orders.

5. The parties separated and have been living apart since sometime in November, 1997 when the wife left the matrimonial home. According to the wife, she left because of the husband’s conduct in that he had behaved violently towards her and there were also threats of violence. She then commenced proceedings for custody of the 2 children in originating summons No 5082/1997 and in the interim she was granted custody, care and control of both children. Upon her application for interim maintenance, she was awarded $300 per month as maintenance for D only (at that time C was with her father) and $100 per month for herself and such orders to take effect from the 5th of March, 1998. Initially, only the younger daughter, D, was with her but since July,1998, both daughters have been under her care and control.

6. At the hearing of the ancillaries, the wife sought maintenance of $1,600 per month for both children. According to her, after she took custody of C in July, 1998, the husband had been paying her $700 for C’s maintenance for July 1998 to September 1998, nothing in October 1998 and $700 for November and December 1998. He failed to pay anything since January, 1999. The sums paid by the husband meant that he was giving $350 per month as C’s maintenance. The wife found this to be grossly inadequate but she had accepted it as an interim measure in order to minimise costs which would have been incurred if she were to file a formal application. Her total monthly expenses, inclusive of $500 given to her mother for babysitting fees, for both children amounted to $2,208.

7. The wife is 35 years of age and working as a technical officer. She receives a monthly nett salary of $2,372.95. On the other hand, the husband is a lecturer and earns a monthly nett salary of $4,054.34. He was not agreeable to paying $1,600 for both children and was only prepared to pay $350 for C and continue with the interim order of $300 for D, making it a total of $650 for both children.

8. I rejected the husband’s offer. The sum of $650 per month as maintenance was definitely inadequate for the needs of both children. The expenses for 2 schoolgoing children ages 9 & 6, as tabulated by the wife have not been unduly inflated by her. As a working mother, she has to employ and pay someone to look after them when they return from school and it might as well be their maternal grandmother. To engage the services of a foreign maid would definitely cost her even more. Even if she were to reduce expenses on some items, in my view, she would still require at least $1,900 for the upkeep of both children. This is excluding the other hidden costs of providing a home for the both of them. The husband seem to take the view that the bulk of the burden in providing financial support for the children should be borne by the wife. This is most untenable when he is the person with the greater earning capacity. Although he has a salary of $4,054.34 per month, this does not include his bonuses.

9. On the other hand, I found the list of monthly expenses in paragraph 4 of his affidavit of the 1/03/1999 incredible. With a nett pay of $4,054.35 per month, he actually wanted the court to believe that he had expenses of $7,341.75. He is either a man who lives beyond his means or has deliberately exaggerated his expenses so as to reduce the amount of maintenance he has to pay for his children. His expenses for his car alone came to $1,815.75, insurance premiums $185, club expenses $200 and $1,500 was given to his parents. It turned out that the husband was not telling the real truth about this payment of $1,500 because it was not to his parents but only to his mother. His mother had affirmed an affidavit stating that she is in fact receiving $1,500 per month from him and she is "relying only on the Respondent for my day to day living and welfare". Subsequently, the mother in a further affidavit (for reasons best known to herself) contradicted her earlier affidavit by adding that she also receives $800 a month from her husband. This would mean that her son is not her sole provider.

10. Obviously, the husband by alleging that he gives $1,500 a month to his parents or to his mother, was attempting to convince the court that this was a reasonable and justifiable expense which ought to be taken into account when the quantum of maintenance is being determined. While it is laudable that the husband wishes to be a filial son, I find that he does not seem to have his priorities right. The mother, on the other hand, was too...

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