TBG v TBH

CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeSowaran Singh
Judgment Date07 April 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 36
Citation[2015] SGFC 36
Hearing Date13 March 2015,06 February 2015,27 February 2015
Docket NumberDivorce Petition No.1309 of 2013
Published date05 January 2016
Plaintiff CounselMs. Loo Ming Nee Bernice (Allen & Gledhill LLP)
Defendant CounselMs. Cheong Yen Lin Adriene (Harry Elias Partnership LLP)
District Judge Sowaran Singh: Background

The parties married in December 1995 in Kuala Lumpur. The Plaintiff (wife/mother) was described1 as being a 42 year old xxx (UK citizen) and the Defendant (husband/father) as being a 49 year old xxx (US citizen) with both having tertiary qualifications. They have three children ages 15, 13 and 8 years old2. The wife filed for a divorce on the 14 March 2013 and Interim Judgment (IJ) was granted on the 16 December 2013 on account of the husband’s unreasonable behaviour. As part of the IJ parties had consented and detailed orders were made giving them joint custody of the 3 children with care and control to the wife and reasonable access to the husband. The other ancillaries were adjourned to Chambers and came up for hearing on the 6, 27 February 2015 and concluded on the 13 March 2015. It was a long marriage.

In the Statement of Particulars3 (SOP) which was not disputed, it was stated that the husband had an improper association with another lady with whom he had a child born in March 2013. He had started to spend very little time with the wife and between July/August 2012 he spent weekends in KL. The wife was saddened by his behaviour and distressed. He had denied being unfaithful to her and when she indicated that she was willing to salvage their marriage, he was unresponsive.

The Parties Positions in Brief

The wife’s written submissions were marked as exhibit A and her bundle of authorities as A14. The husband’s written submissions were marked as exhibit B and his bundle of authorities as C5.

Assets

As the parties lived in rental premises there was no issue of a matrimonial home. However, the parties had considerable other assets and properties both local and overseas which required to be ascertained and divided. The wife wanted a 50:50 division of all their assets although she accepted that her direct contribution was only 16% and the husband’s 84%.

The husband offered the wife a 40% share of their assets and his calculations were that the wife’s direct contribution came to only 15% and his was 85%. This would give the wife an increase of 25%. He estimated that their assets came up to some $4,893,277 hence his share would be $2,935,966 and the wife’s share would be $1,957,311. He wished to retain all the assets in his own name (except the Toyota car which was driven by the wife) and their joint assets (including the various properties).In satisfaction of her claims, he would pay the wife a sum of $1,326,311. This sum was derived by deducting the value of the wife’s assets of $600,000 (rounded up from $582,473 as she failed to disclose the value of 3 of her jewellery items and gold coins) from her share of the assets and the value of the Toyota ($31,000). He would pay this sum to the wife in 6 instalments over a 24 month period.

Maintenance

The husband’s position was that the wife had an income in 2013 (YA 2014) of $18,9436 and his income was $40,7767 (YA 2014). Accepting this as being the appropriate figures to be used, would mean that the proportions were (total of both incomes being $59,872) 68% and 32%. He urged that there be no maintenance ordered for her as she was self-sufficient and able to sustain her expenses of $11,086 (which he felt were inflated). However, he was willing to provide her a nominal sum of $1 “out of goodwill”. For the children he suggested that each of them bear these in proportion to their incomes namely 68:32 rather than a fixed sum as the children’s expenses were “fluid”. According to his calculations the wife’s expenses ought to be $14,819 and those of the children $19,274. This came up to a total of $34,093.

The wife calculated the husband’s monthly income based on his Notice of Tax Assessment for YA 2014 to be $61,392. Less his reasonable expenses which ought to be about $18,680 would leave him with a balance of more than $52,000 and therefore, he could afford to pay her maintenance. The husband’s claim that he had to pay for the expenses of his mistress and child was not sound in law as he was not obliged to maintain her and secondly the mistress too earned an income and ought to contribute towards her expenses. The evidence showed that the mistress had from August 2013 to March 2014 contributed on average $3,337 per month into the husband’s personal bank account.

Her take home salary was now $15,240 a month. For YA 2014 her annual income was $227,620 or $18,968 a month. Her bonus varied from year to year. Her monthly expenses came up to a total of $37,564 which comprised: -her personal expenses: $8,164 -her share of the household expenses: $2,155 -children’s personal expenses: $20,779 -children’s share of the household expenses: $6,465 Hence she required a sum of at least $17,315 ($43,093 - $16,778) from the husband even taking his figure of $34,093 as being the sum of their expenses. She wanted the husband to pay her the sum of least $26,0008 a month. This would comprise 84% of the children’s expenses (84 x $20,779 = $17,455) plus 50% of her personal (50% x $8,164 = $4,082) and household (50 x $8,620 = $4,310) expenses.

The Table of the Parties Positions (exhibits T and T1) and the Rulings of the Court

After the initial hearing on the 6 February 2015 the parties submitted a table (marked as exhibit T9) in which they summarised their respective positions on the major issues. As this table reveals they had come to an agreement on many matters albeit not on all. At the resumed hearing on the 13 March 2015 the parties tendered a slightly amended table which was marked as T110. The court took into account the parties submissions and made its rulings on the various issues that appear hereafter.

The parties agreed that the assets in the wife’s sole name including her CPF funds11 came up to about $501,78412 and those in the husband’s sole name including his CPF funds13 to $878,688. There was also another disputed sum of $29,628 which was in the husband’s sole name (total in husband’s name = $908,316). The total of the assets in their sole names was about $1,410,100. Hence, the wife’s share was about 36% and the husband’s about 64%. The court ordered that each party was to keep what was in their own names. In regard to their other assets, the court awarded the wife an uplift of 25 % in addition to her direct financial contribution to that particular asset. This was a marriage of some 18 years in which the parties had three children with both parties working. In view of this the wife was entitled to another 25% for her indirect contributions.

There were other assets in parties joint names on which parties were agreed as follows: a total of $7,152 in bank accounts. The court ordered that this sum was to be shared by them equally as there was no credible evidence as to how much each had contributed towards these accounts. a property at xxx (the xxx property). The parties were agreed that wife’s direct financial contribution was 22% and the husband’s 78%.They agreed that it was to be sold. The court ordered that upon its sale and after payment of the outstanding mortgage loan, refund of parties CPF monies plus the accrued interest and all sales expenses, the net proceeds were to be divided 47% to the wife and 53% to the husband. a property in xxx, Kuala Lumpur (the xxx property) as well as another property in xxx, Kuala Lumpur (the xxx property) to which the wife contributed 15.5% and the husband 84.5%. They agreed that both were to be sold. The court ordered that wife was to receive a 40.5 % share and the husband 59.5% of the net sales proceeds after repayment of any outstanding mortgage loan and all sales expenses. a villa at xxx, Bali. The parties were agreed that the wife’s contribution was 15.5% and the husband’s was 84.5%. They also agreed that this property be sold and the sum of $400,000 which was taken as a loan from the wife’s father was to be returned to him from the proceeds before division. The court ordered that wife was to receive a 40.5 % share and the husband 59.5% of the net sales proceeds after deducting: the...

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