CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeLee Li Choon
Judgment Date25 May 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 56
Citation[2015] SGFC 56
Docket NumberDivorce No. 1471 of 2013
Hearing Date25 March 2015,05 November 2014
Plaintiff CounselP/C: Seenivasan Lalita (Virginia Quek Lalita & Partners)
Defendant CounselD/C: Paul Suppiah (APL Law Corporation)
Subject MatterCatchwords: Family Law,division of matrimonial assets,Family Law,maintenance for wife,maintenance for child
Published date19 June 2015
District Judge Lee Li Choon: Introduction

This is an appeal by the Defendant-husband against part of my decision given on 25 March 2015 on ancillary matters subsequent to a divorce. The Plaintiff-wife and the Defendant-husband were married in Sri Lanka on 10 July 1993. There are three children of the marriage: the oldest son is approaching the age of 21 years in a few months’ time; and the other two sons are 17 and 16 years old respectively. The wife commenced divorce proceedings against the husband in 2013 and Interim Judgment pronouncing the dissolution of the marriage on the ground that the husband has behaved in such a way that the wife cannot reasonably be expected to live with him was granted on 20 January 2014.

The order on ancillary matters which is the subject of the appeal, namely on division of the matrimonial property as well as concerning the children including maintenance of the children, is as follows: (1) The matrimonial flat at xxx Singapore xxx (“the said flat”) shall be sold in the open market within 6 months of the date of the Final Judgment and the net sale proceeds, after repayment of the outstanding mortgage (including late payment penalty charges), interest, costs and expenses relating to the sale shall be divided in the proportion 35% to the Plaintiff and 65% to the Defendant. (2) Each party shall refund to his and her CPF account the CPF monies utilized towards the purchase of the said flat including accrued interest from his or her share of the net sale proceeds. This Order concerning the said flat is subject to HDB regulations. Both parties shall have joint conduct of the sale. (3) Both parties shall have joint custody of the three children of the marriage namely B (DOB: xxx/1994, aged 21 yrs) (“B”), C (DOB xxx/1998, aged 17 yrs) (‘C”) and D (DOB xxx/1999, aged 16 yrs) (“D”) with care and control of B to the Plaintiff and care and control of C and D to the Defendant. The access to the child/children with the other parent shall be arranged directly between the parent and the child/children. (4) Each party shall maintain the child/children under his or her respective care.

My Decision Background

The marriage lasted 21 years. The wife moved out of the matrimonial flat in June 2012 after an alleged incident of family violence by the husband. According to her, there had been many incidents of violence by the husband and she left the matrimonial home because she could no longer tolerate the alleged abuse by the husband. The oldest son went to live with her in January 2013 and the two younger boys are still living in the matrimonial home with their father.

The fact is that there had been multiple applications for a Personal Protection Order (“PPO”) by the wife in the past. Three were voluntarily withdrawn by the wife and one was rescinded upon an application by the wife. The wife’s account is that these PPOs were withdrawn or rescinded by her as a result of pressure exerted on her by the husband and his relatives.

The wife is 49 years old and she works as a child care teacher at xxx. Her take home income is only about $1,040 a month. Presently, she and the oldest son are living in a rented room and she pays $750 a month for that room.

The husband is 51 years old and he works as an engineer with a take home income of slightly more than $3,000.

After parties’ marriage in Sri Lanka, the husband moved to Singapore in December 1997. The wife followed the husband and she came to Singapore with the two older sons in August 1998. The youngest son was born in Singapore. The eldest son is still schooling at the ITE and working part-time to support himself and assist his mother financially. The two younger boys are still in secondary school.

On just and equitable division of the matrimonial assets Financial Contribution

In this case, both parties do not have much in terms of financial resources. The only most valuable asset at this point in time is their matrimonial flat which was purchased in December 2011. At the time of the hearing, the flat is still within the minimum occupation period of 5 years and based on HDB’s regulations, the sale of the flat is not allowed without special permission from the HDB. The flat can only be sold without the need for prior approval from the HDB after September 2016.

The present matrimonial flat was purchased mostly with funds from the husband’s CPF account. Presently, the husband contributes $632 towards the monthly mortgage payments from his CPF account and cash and the wife contributes $126 from her CPF account. In terms of direct financial contribution towards the flat, 91% had come from the husband ($119,660.64 towards principal from the husband’s CPF account) and only 9% had come from the wife ($9,568.50 towards principal from the wife’s CPF account). This ratio of financial contribution is also reflected in their respective ownership of the flat which is held by them as tenants in common with the wife holding 5% of the property and the husband holding 95% of the property.

As the sole breadwinner until 2008 when the wife started working as a child care teacher, it is not disputed that the husband paid for all the expenses of the household and the family. For the flat, he also paid $24,205 towards the flat’s renovations. In addition, he has been paying for the utilities, telephone charges, property tax, service and conservancy charges for the flat. I accept that the family has mainly depended on the husband’s income for their financial needs. This also explains the fact that when he was unemployed for quite a few months in 2013, the family went into mortgage instalment arrears to the tune of $5,970 as at 30 April 2014. Thus, it is clear to me that financially, the husband has been the...

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