Tan Evelyn v Tan Lim Tai

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeA V Winslow J
Judgment Date17 August 1973
Neutral Citation[1973] SGHC 19
Citation[1973] SGHC 19
Defendant CounselHo Ung Tuck (Murphy & Dunbar)
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 75 of 1973
Publication Date19 September 2003
Date17 August 1973
Plaintiff CounselJoshua Lim (Assistant Director of Legal Aid)

By this originating summons, the plaintiff/wife who has been living separately from the defendant/husband since 1970, seeks a determination by the court under s 55 of the Women`s Charter (Cap 47, 1970 Ed) that she is entitled to a half-share in the proceeds of sale of the matrimonial home at no 1 Tham Soong Avenue, Singapore.

This property was purchased in the name of the husband on 1 April 1960 for $19,500 and sold for $46,000 in 1971. A down-payment of $4,600 was originally made leaving a balance of $14,900 to be repaid by monthly instalments of $127.90 over 15 years on a loan from the Malaya Borneo Building Society which held a mortgage on the property until it was sold in 1971 after redemption. According to Ex `TLT 1` filed with the defendant`s affidavit of 11 April 1973, outgoings by way of redemption monies, solicitors` costs and commission amounting to $5,281.41 were paid out of the proceeds of sale leaving, approximately $40,800 as the proceeds available for division between the parties should I decide that the wife is entitled to a share therein. As I said at the conclusion of the hearing on 21 June 1973, I had no doubt then that she was so entitled, the only question on which I reserved judgment being the quantum of that share.

The husband gave his mother $9,000 out of this balance on the basis that that was the amount he claims he received from her towards the purchase of the house and for improvement (including furniture and chinaware which she has recovered). Be that as it may, only that part of it relating to actual purchase of the house and capital improvements should be borne by the beneficial owner or owners. It is conceded by the wife that the mother made an initial contribution of $6,000. I find on the evidence that $7,500 and not $9,000 should be borne by the owner or owners and that this sum should be deducted in the final accounting on the basis that it was a loan to the beneficial owner or owners of the house. The mother said that she advanced additionally sums of money to him to indulge his penchant for cars and other activities amounting to $4,000 or $5,000. She reluctantly agreed that he was a spendthrift. These sums of money like expenditure on furniture, etc have nothing to do with the value of the house itself.

It is undisputed that the wife handed over her whole pay packet every month to her husband from November 1958 onwards soon after their marriage until according to her, she was forced to leave the matrimonial home and live separately from him at the end of December 1970. Her pay ranged from $200pm in 1960 to $345 in 1970 as a clerk with the Ministry of Education. He is a schoolmaster in Government Service whose salary ranged from $560pm in 1960 to $900pm in 1970. Out of her pay packet he returned $20 to $30pm to her as pocket-money and claimed that he spent some $10 pm himself on her clothing and another $40 on cosmetics, transport, etc. He otherwise maintained her somewhat frugally at a cost of about $80pm on her food from the common pool of their joint earnings less what he paid her as pocket money until 1961 when his mother came to live with them.

She struck me as being a simple, thrifty, homely and uncomplaining kind of wife without any pretensions to glamour or luxury or a way of living inconsistent with her own earnings had she lived as a single woman. She was however married and she entrusted her whole pay packet to her husband although he could have maintained her on his own salary without aid from her income. Additionally, she made various purchases towards the maintenance of comfort in the matrimonial home. She also provided him with some money after pawning her jewellery. I am not, however, taking these additional expenses into account in assessing her contribution towards the purchase of the house itself as many of them concern moveable property. It...

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1 cases
  • PQR (mw) v STR
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 4 December 1992
    ...Sengol v De Witt [1985-1986] SLR (R) 809; [1986] SLR 323 (folld) Steadman v Steadman [1976] AC 536 (folld) Tan Evelyn v Tan Lim Tai [1971-1973] SLR (R) 771; [1972-1974] SLR 491 (distd) Waterhouse v Waterhouse (1905) 94 LT 133; 22 TLR 195 (refd) Employment Act (Cap 91,1985 Rev Ed)s 2 Guardia......

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