Ng Kee Shee v Fu Gaofei

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeTay Yong Kwang J
Judgment Date14 September 2005
Neutral Citation[2005] SGHC 171
Citation[2005] SGHC 171
SubjectWhether exceptional hardship existing to lift bar to divorce before lapse of three years from date of marriage,Circumstances amounting to "exceptional hardship" under s 94(2) Women's Charter,Section 94 Women's Charter (Cap 353, 1997 Rev Ed),Bars,Family Law,Divorce
Docket NumberOriginating Summons (Family) No 55
Defendant CounselThe defendant unrepresented and absent
Plaintiff CounselTing Hi Keng (Yu and Co)
Date14 September 2005
Publication Date19 September 2005

14 September 2005

Tay Yong Kwang J:

1 This was an application under s 94 of the Women’s Charter (Cap 353, 1997 Rev Ed) made to a district judge of the Family Division of the Subordinate Courts for leave to be granted to the plaintiff (“the husband”) to present a petition for divorce before three years have passed since the date of the marriage. Section 94 provides:

(1) No petition for divorce shall be presented to the court unless at the date of the presentation of the petition 3 years have passed since the date of the marriage.

(2) The court may, upon application being made in accordance with the Rules of Court, allow a petition to be presented before 3 years have passed on the ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship suffered by the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent, but if it appears to the court at the hearing of the petition that the petitioner obtained leave to present the petition by any misrepresentation or concealment of the nature of the case, the court may, if it pronounces a decree nisi, do so subject to the condition that no application to make the decree absolute shall be made until after the expiration of 3 years from the date of the marriage, or may dismiss the petition without prejudice to any petition which may be brought after the expiration of the said 3 years upon the same, or substantially the same, facts as those proved in support of the petition so dismissed.

(3) In determining any application under this section for leave to present a petition before the expiration of 3 years from the date of the marriage, the court shall have regard to the interest of any child of the marriage and to the question whether there is reasonable probability of a reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of the said 3 years.

(4) The court may, before determining an application under this section, refer the differences between the parties to a Conciliation Officer so that a reconciliation between the parties might be effected.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit the presentation of a petition based upon matters which have occurred before the expiration of 3 years from the date of the marriage.

The case for the plaintiff

2 The husband is an electrical engineer aged 42. The defendant (“the wife”) is 21 years old, residing in Wenchang City in the province of Hainan Island in the People’s Republic of China. They were married on 20 October 2004 through the assistance of a marriage agency.

3 The husband claimed he suffered exceptional hardship for the reasons that follow. After their marriage on 20 October 2004, the wife returned to her family home in Hainan Island on 9 January 2005 ostensibly to celebrate the Chinese New Year with her family. She left with her two female friends, Lin Yuyin (“Yuyin”) and Lin Qiongrui (“Qiongrui”), both of whom were also from Hainan Island. More than two months later, the wife has not returned to Singapore. She has not made any telephone call to the husband despite the fact that he had reminded her several times before her departure to call him every four or five days. She has also not written to him nor attempted to contact him in any way. The husband’s fear and suspicion that the wife has no intention of returning to Singapore were confirmed when he found that she had taken all her clothes and jewellery with her, leaving only a few inexpensive T-shirts and underwear which were being laundered at the time of her departure.

4 The husband telephoned Qiongrui’s husband, Toh Heng Leong (“Toh”), and found out that Qiongrui had also not returned to Singapore. Yuyin returned to Singapore in the middle of March 2005. On 8 March 2005, the husband and Toh visited Yuyin to ask her about their wives. The husband was told by her that the wife’s parents tried to persuade her to return to Singapore but she told them she would rather die than obey them. Yuyin then telephoned the wife and passed the receiver to the husband so that he could speak to her. The wife told him that their marriage was over, that she wanted a divorce and would never return to him. She also told him that she was willing to sign any document to enable him to obtain a divorce.

5 The husband also enumerated various examples of the wife’s “abnormal behaviour” while she was with him. During their honeymoon in Thailand, the wife refused to let him hold her hand by practically running away from him. She would also rebuff any attempt by him to place his arm over her shoulders and would warn him not to do so. She also refused to let him hug or kiss her. The wife refused to have sexual relations with him until the third day after the solemnisation of their marriage. When they finally had sex, she was unresponsive and refused to allow him to touch her face altogether.

6 The wife permitted the husband to have sex with her only once a week and would sleep as far away as...

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3 cases
  • Zhao Lu v Lee Yong Kwong Johnson
    • Singapore
    • District Court (Singapore)
    • 9 April 2007
    ...Finally, that on a proper application of these principles as demonstrated in the Singapore High Court case of Ng Kee Shee v Fu Gaofei [2005] SGHC 171, the present case was one where the plaintiff had suffered exceptional hardship, and/or there was exceptional depravity by the defendant towa......
  • Neo Yiing Piau v Ng Soek Teng
    • Singapore
    • District Court (Singapore)
    • 30 June 2011
    ...the answer lies in the resolve of the parties themselves. The issues are not insurmountable and assistance always available. 1 [2005] SGHC 171, High 2 Paragraphs 5 to 12 of the husband’s 1st affidavit dated 16 February 2011. 3 The first visit was on 15 October 2010 and Dr Yeo had seen him o......
  • Foo Teck Kuan v Chan Yoke Han
    • Singapore
    • District Court (Singapore)
    • 3 June 2010
    ...promote the sanctity of marriage and to ensure that parties do not rush into and out of marriage capriciously. [Ng Kee Shee v Fu Gaofei [2005] 4 SLR 762 at paragraph 21]. Separation rather than divorce would normally be appropriate during the 3-year perod, to enable persons who have been un......
2 books & journal articles
  • Family Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2005, December 2005
    • 1 December 2005
    ...for similar, in fact nearly identical, reasons. 13.8 The husband of Gaofei appealed to the High Court. In Ng Kee Shee v Fu Gaofei[2005] 4 SLR 762 (‘Ng Kee Shee’), the High Court disagreed with the District Court and granted the husband leave to petition for divorce. It noted Yuyin”s evidenc......
  • Family Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2010, December 2010
    • 1 December 2010
    ...cases which applied s 94 of the Women“s Charter (Cap 353). This author had remarked of the earlier decision in Ng Kee Shee v Fu Gaofei [2005] 4 SLR(R) 762 (‘Ng Kee Shee’) ((2005) 6 SAL Ann Rev 259 at 260-263, paras 13.4-13.10): What is the “exceptional“ hardship suffered by the husband in N......

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