Tan Siew Wah @ Koh Chai Lye v Lim Joo Heng and Claris Lim Ting Xuan

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeSuzanne Chin
Judgment Date12 June 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 73
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberDivorce Petition No.1110 of 2014
Year2015
Published date17 July 2015
Hearing Date15 April 2015,19 March 2015
Plaintiff CounselMr Loh Yik Ming (Clifford Law LLP)
Defendant CounselMr Lim Joo Heng Defendant-In-Person
Subject MatterCatchwords: Ancillary Matters Division of Matrimonial Assets Maintenance for Wife
Citation[2015] SGFC 73
District Judge Suzanne Chin: Introduction

This case involved the division of the parties’ matrimonial assets and the maintenance of the plaintiff wife (“the Wife”). The Wife has appealed against ancillary orders made on 24 April 2015.

Background

The parties were married on 22 December 1980 and there are 2 daughters and a son to the marriage, all of whom are over 21 years of age. The Wife commenced proceedings to dissolve the marriage and Interim judgement was granted on 5 June 2014 on the grounds of the defendant husband’s (“the Husband”) unreasonable behaviour. The ancillary matters were adjourned to be heard in chambers.

By the time the matter came before me for hearing, the Husband was 59 years of age and worked as a lorry driver. The Wife was 56 years of age and worked part time as an operator. The oldest daughter(“the Intervenor”) of the parties, being a joint owner of the matrimonial home at Block 66A Jurong West Street 64, #15-260, Singapore 641664 (“the Matrimonial Home”), applied to intervene in the proceedings and was granted leave to intervene on 25 August 2014.

Contested Ancillary Matters

The ancillary matters that were adjourned to be heard in chambers were: Division of matrimonial property Maintenance for wife.

Both the Wife and the Intervener were represented by the same counsel and filed various affidavits to support their position as follows: Wife’s affidavit of assets and means affirmed on 19 November 2014; Intervener’s affidavit affirmed on 18 November 2014; and Affidavit of 2nd child of parties in support of the Wife and Intervener affirmed on 18 November 2014.

The Husband appeared in person and did not file any affidavits.

The Ancillary Matters came up for hearing before me on 19 March 2015 and as the Husband had not filed any affidavits, he took the stand and provided his evidence. After hearing from the parties, I made the following orders on 15 April 2015:

1. In full and final settlement of all issues relating to the division of property: that the Defendant's rights, interest and share in the matrimonial property known as and situated at Blk 664A Jurong West Street 64, #15-260, Singapore 641664 which is in the joint names of the Plaintiff and the Defendant, shall be transferred to the Plaintiff within three (3) months from the date of Certificate of Making Interim Judgment Final upon the Plaintiff paying to the Defendant a sum of $24,200. The Defendant shall be responsible for refunding into his CPF account, all amounts withdrawn in respect of the matrimonial property. The Plaintiff is to bear the costs and expenses of the transfer. This Order is made subject to the Central Provident Fund Act (Cap. 36) ("CPF Act") and the subsidiary legislation thereunder made in respect of the Member's CPF moneys, property, investments. The Board shall give effect to the terms of this order in accordance with the provisions of the CPF Act and the subsidiary legislation made thereunder. The Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the Family Justice Courts under section 31 of the Family Justice Act (Act 27 of 2014) is empowered to execute, sign or indorse all necessary documents relating to matters contained in this order on behalf of either party should either party fail to do so within seven (7) days of written request being made to the party. That each party shall retain his or her own other assets that are in their respective sole names.

That there shall be no monthly maintenance payable to the Plaintiff. Liberty to apply. Notice of Appeal

The Wife filed an appeal against my orders relating to the division of the matrimonial home and maintenance for the Wife. I now set forth the reasons for my decision.

Division of Matrimonial Home

The matrimonial home is an HDB flat in Singapore. The parties had originally purchased this together but had along the way run out of money. To avoid the parties losing the flat, the Intervenor had used her CPF funds to service the mortgage payments on the flat and accordingly she became a joint tenant of the Matrimonial Home with the parties. It was undisputed by the parties that based on her contributions, the Intervener owned 34.5% of the Matrimonial Home. Accordingly, the portion of the Matrimonial Home to be divided between the parties was 65.5%.

The Wife’s position

The Wife submitted that the direct contributions of the parties to the portion of their share of the Matrimonial Home were in the proportions of 31.5% for the Wife and 68.5% for the Husband.

In addition to her direct contributions, it was the Wife’s contention that she had singlehandedly brought up all the children and paid for their expenses as well as all household expenses. She explained that the Husband was a gambler and throughout their marriage had been selfish and financially irresponsible and as a result, both she and the children had suffered tremendously. By virtue of his gambling habits, she and the children had been harassed by loan sharks and there were times when she had to pay off his debts or lend him money to pay off his debts.

In light of both her direct and indirect contributions, the Wife was asking that the Husband...

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