JudgeLee Li Choon
Judgment Date26 March 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 25
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Hearing Date23 January 2015
Docket NumberDivorce No. 1830 of 2012
Plaintiff CounselPlaintiff in person
Defendant CounselGloria James and Cheryl Cheong [M/s Gloria James-Civetta & Co]
Subject MatterCatchwords: Family Law,maintenance,children
Published date30 June 2015
District Judge Lee Li Choon: Introduction

I heard the ancillary matters subsequent to the parties’ divorce on 23 January 2015 and I made an order on all the ancillaries including the custody, care and control and access of the children of the marriage, the division of the matrimonial assets and maintenance to be paid by the Defendant to the Plaintiff as maintenance for the children.

The Defendant’s appeal against my order on ancillary matters is only in respect of my order on maintenance for the children.

The order that I made in relation to the maintenance of the 3 children of the marriage is that the Defendant shall pay to the Plaintiff a sum of S$9,000 per month as maintenance for the 3 children on the 15th day of each month with effect from 15 February 2015. From 15 August 2015 onwards, the monthly maintenance shall be increased to S$10,500.

Background Facts

The Plaintiff is a UK citizen and the Defendant is an Indian citizen. Parties first met in India and were subsequently married in the Kingdom on 7th April 2000. There are 3 children from the marriage, all boys, and they were aged 12, 10 and 5 at the time of the hearing. All 3 children are UK citizens. As the family history is rather material in this case, I will first set out the background which is as follows:

7 April 2000 Parties were married in the United Kingdom. Prior to them meeting each other, the Defendant was living in New Zealand and the Plaintiff was living in the United Kingdom. After the marriage, the Defendant secured a work permit to work in the United Kingdom at xxx.
July 2001 Defendant relocated to Tokyo due to a work posting at xxx.
December 2001 Parties had their religious ceremony in India. Thereafter, Plaintiff followed the Defendant to Tokyo.
4 November 2002 Parties’ eldest son was born in Tokyo.
23 September 2008 Parties’ second son was born in Tokyo.
March 2009 Defendant’s company, xxx created a position for the Defendant in Singapore and parties relocated to Singapore with their two sons.
22 July 2009 Parties’ youngest son was born in Singapore.
January 2011 to September 2012 Defendant was posted to Hong Kong by xxx. He started shuttling between Hong Kong and Singapore and would be in Singapore during the weekends. This continued until he lost his job at xxx.
March 2012 Defendant left the matrimonial home.
16 April 2012 Plaintiff filed for divorce in Singapore after her discovery of the Defendant’s affair with a third party.
September 2012-December 2012 In September 2012, Defendant lost his job xxx and was on gardening leave till December 2012.
January 2013 to August 2013 Defendant worked with xxx in the UK.
17 April 2013 Plaintiff obtained an Interim Maintenance Order.
13 December 2013 Plaintiff filed an application (SUM16737/2013) to a variation of the maintenance order upwards from $7,500.
17 January 2014 Defendant filed an application (SUM 908/2014) for a variation of the maintenance order downwards from $7,500 to $5,000.
August 2013 - present Defendant relocated to Hong Kong to work for xxx

From the family history, it is clear that after the marriage, the family lived in Japan from 2001 to 2008 and since 2009, the Plaintiff and the 3 children have been living in Singapore. Though the children are UK citizens, the 2 older boys have only lived in Japan prior to Singapore and the youngest boy has only lived in Singapore since birth.

In April 2013, the Plaintiff obtained an interim Maintenance Order from the Family Court against the Defendant. The marriage was dissolved via an Interim Judgment that was granted in May 2013 based on the Plaintiff’s claim on the ground of the Defendant’s adultery. Since August 2013, the Defendant has relocated to Hong Kong.

Parties’ financial background

It is not disputed that throughout the 13-year marriage, the Defendant had been the main breadwinner. Thus, the Plaintiff and the 3 children have been financially reliant on the Defendant throughout the 13-year marriage. The Plaintiff was here on Dependant’s Pass until the Defendant left Singapore to work in the UK. Since then, she has been on a Long Term Social Visit Pass “LTSVP” by virtue of the children being on Students’ Pass. According to the terms of the LTSVP, she is not allowed to work in Singapore.

According to the Plaintiff, after the parties came to Singapore and before the Defendant left the matrimonial home, the Defendant‘s salary with xxx was paid into the parties’ joint account in the UK. The Defendant would transfer funds to the parties’ Singapore joint account in batches of SGD 20,000 to 30,000 every 8 weeks or so. The Plaintiff used the money in this Singapore joint account to pay for all of the household and the children’s expenses.

Shortly after the Defendant left the matrimonial home in March 2012, parties started to experience financial issues between them. In April 2013, the Plaintiff obtained a court order for interim maintenance against the Defendant. According to the Court Order, the Defendant was to pay the Plaintiff monthly maintenance of $7500 as maintenance for the Plaintiff and the 3 children from May 2013 onwards. The Court Order also covered the Defendant’s obligation with regard to maintenance for the backdated period from September 2012 to April 2013. Essentially for this backdated period, the Defendant was ordered to pay a one-off sum of $24,080, (being $3,010 per month for 8 months, comprising of $2,000 cash, $450 for maid salary and $260 for maid levy) as well as the telephone, television and internet charges incurred by the Plaintiff during the said period, the school fees incurred by the children during the said period and the rental charges incurred by the Plaintiff during the said period (“IMO”).

As part of the evidence provided to the court for the maintenance proceedings, the Defendant said in his affidavits that as the Director of Sales and Marketing with xxx then, he had not been receiving a basic salary for several months as xxx’s business had yet to be stabilized. The Defendant gave an estimate that he would be able to earn approximately GBP 70,000 from sale commissions annually in 18 to 24 months. At the time of the IMO, it was not disputed that the Plaintiff had withdrawn GBP 100,000 (SGD 190,000) from the parties’ joint account to fund the family’s expenses and it was the contention of the Defendant that there would be sufficient funds in the interim. Subsequent to the IMO, the Plaintiff filed an application for the court to revise the maintenance upwards and the Defendant filed an application for the court to revise the maintenance downwards. As the proceedings under those applications were only completed shortly before the hearing of the ancillary matters, both applications became subsumed under the hearing of the ancillary matters in relation to the issue of maintenance to be paid by the Defendant.

In his current job at Mizuho which the Defendant has held since August 2013, the Defendant said in his affidavits that his net monthly income is HKD 89,910 after excluding taxes and other compulsory payments (approximately $14,385.60).

Background of the children’s education

The two older boys are presently schooling in xxx and their school fees are $5,125 a month. Before the IMO, the two boys attended the international school at the xxx and their school fees amounted to $5,590 per month on average. The Plaintiff alleged that due to the Defendant’s lack of financial provision and refusal to pay for their school fees, the children had to be withdrawn from xxx in April 2013. Thereafter, the Plaintiff explored the option of putting them in a local school through the Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS) scheme. The 2 boys were then enrolled in a preparatory course at xxx College from mid-April to September 2013 to help them prepare and sit for the placement examinations for entry into local schools. However, they were not successful in getting them a place in a local school despite them having done very well in the placement examinations as they did not meet other criteria for local schools under MOE’s policy. The Plaintiff said that had they been successful, the school fees would be further reduced to $1,026 per month for both boys. As they were not successful in gaining entry into a local school, they were subsequently enrolled in the xxx and they have remained there since.

The eldest boy is in Grade 6 and the second boy is in Grade 4. The youngest boy would enter Grade 1 in August this year. The Plaintiff says it would not be possible to explore again the option of local schools as both boys have no second language education to enable them to be able to fulfil the Primary School Leaving Examination requirements and they...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT