Tan Poh Cheng v Kwan Wei Beng

JudgeHamidah Bte Ibrahim
Judgment Date13 March 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGDC 9
Citation[2000] SGDC 9
Published date19 September 2003
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)



1. The Petitioner (wife) was married to the Respondent (husband) at the Registry of Marriages in Singapore on the 10th of March, 1993. There are 2 children to the

marriage, both sons aged 4 and 3 years respectively. The wife filed a petition for divorce on the ground that the marriage had irretrievably broken down because of the husband’s unreasonable conduct. He in turn responded with an answer and a cross-petition on similar grounds. Subsequently, the divorce proceedings became uncontested and a decree nisi was made on the 16th day of April 1999, dissolving the marriage, both on the petition and the cross-petition with the usual order that the ancillaries be adjourned to be heard in chambers

2. The ancillaries were heard before me on the 17th of January, 2000 and after hearing the parties, I made the following orders:-

1) Petitioner is granted custody, care and control of the 2 children of the marriage.

2) Reasonable access to continue as per order of court dated 21/6/99.

3) Respondent is ordered to pay $1,200 per month as maintenance for the Petitioner and the 2 children with effect from 1/01/2000 and thereafter on the 1st of each month.

4) Matrimonial flat to be surrendered to HDB.

5) Parties to retain their respective CPF monies.

6) No order as to costs.

3. The husband is now appealing against all the orders, except for paragraph 5. The parties separated on 10/10/98 when the wife left the matrimonial home with the eldest son.

4. Before the above orders were made, the wife had instituted proceedings in originating summons no. 5191/1998 with regard to the custody of both children of the marriage. After the affidavits were filed by both parties, the court hearing the originating summons had directed the Ministry of Community Development to put up a welfare report. On the 21/6/99, after the report was submitted to the court, the originating summons was heard and an order by consent was made whereby the wife was granted custody, care and control of both children with reasonable access to the husband. The arrangements as to access were also specifically stated in this order of court. Hence, it cannot be denied by the husband that as at this date, he had agreed to the wife having custody of the children and thereby conceding that she would be a more suitable parent compared to him. However, despite having consented to such an order, the husband still wanted to challenge the order and submitted that custody of the children should now be granted to him. In his affidavits, he claimed that he did not understand the implications of the consent order. He therefore urged the court to reconsider the issue of custody as he felt that he could provide a better environment for the children.

5. It was not in dispute that the 2 children at the time of the hearing of the ancillaries were being looked after by the wife. Even before the breakup of the marriage, she had been their primary caregiver. At present, the wife is staying with her sister’s family and she has employed a maid to assist her in looking after the children when she is at work. Two babysitters engaged by the parties to look...

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