JudgeSowaran Singh
Judgment Date21 May 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 69
Citation[2015] SGFC 69
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Published date01 August 2015
Docket NumberDivorce Petition No.1688 of 2011
Plaintiff CounselMr. Tan Bar Tien (M/s B T Tan & Co)
Defendant CounselMr. Teo Kim Huat Albert (Attorney's Inc LLC)
Subject MatterCatch words: "Family Law,ancillary matters,division of the matrimonial home"
Hearing Date08 January 2015,07 January 2015,07 May 2015
District Judge Sowaran Singh:

The Plaintiff (husband/father) and the Defendant (wife/mother) married in June 1983 and have three children from the union. The two older children (a boy and girl1) are adults and working. The youngest child “H”, a girl is 142 years of age and studying in a secondary school. It was a long marriage. On the 7 April 2011 the husband filed for a divorce and the wife later filed a Defence and Counterclaim. On the 20 February 2012 Interim Judgement (IJ) was granted based on their having lived separately for four years and the ancillaries were adjourned to Chambers.

The Statement of Particulars (Amendment No.1) recited that the parties started to live separately sometime in May 2006. They slept in different rooms in the matrimonial home (the home) and the wife did not cook clean or iron clothes for the husband and only did so for herself and the children. The husband was described3 as being a 56 year old xxx and xxx of 2 companies whilst the wife was a 52 year old xxx.

The ancillaries came up for hearing on the 7 and 8 January 2015 when the court heard both parties’ submissions4. The court also interviewed the child H and decided to call for a confidential Custody Evaluation Report (CER).The CER was duly prepared and the case came for continued hearing on the 7 May 2015. At the conclusion the court ordered that the parties were to have joint custody of the child as well as joint care and control. The parties were to respect the wishes of H who would decide when she wished to stay with the father and the mother. In making these orders regarding H the court took into account the findings of the confidential CER as well. Both parties were to contribute to the child’s maintenance. The child’s reasonable expenses ought to be about $1,500 a month. The husband was to pay the wife for the child’s maintenance a monthly sum of $750. The husband was to bear all the child’s food and lodging expenses when she was staying with him. However, as for all the child’s other expenses including clothing, medical, educational, transport and enrichment activities, the wife was to pay for them as she was going to receive the contribution of $750 from the husband each month.

As for the matrimonial home (the home) it was to be transferred to the wife within 6 months without any consideration or refund of the husband’s CPF monies used for the purchase. The wife was to bear all the transfer expenses and the outstanding mortgage loan with effect from the 1 June 2015. There was to be no maintenance payable to the wife and parties were to keep all other assets that were in their own names.

The Appeal

On the 18 May 2015, the husband filed an appeal against the court’s decision. He appeals against the decision that the home be transferred to the wife within 6 months without any consideration or refund of the his CPF monies used for the purchase with the wife bearing all the transfer expenses and the outstanding mortgage loan with effect from the 1 June 2015.: The court will now deal with the issues that arose at the hearing. As some aspects of the court’s orders are not being appealed against the evidence relating thereto need not be alluded to in these grounds in detail.

The Parties Positions in Brief

In his first affidavit5 the husband declared that he was a xxx and xxx of 2 private limited companies namely Vxxx Sxxx Txxx (“V”) and Exxx Txxx Exxx (“E”). From V he received a gross monthly income of $4,000 from January 2012 and from E it was $1,000 that accrued to him monthly “because the company has not enough funds to pay” him. His monthly take home income was $3,280 with effect from January 2012. He owned the home jointly with the wife. Its value was $2.2 million as at January 2012 and there was an outstanding mortgage loan of $201,127.78 owing to DBS as at 28 February 2012.There was a company owned commercial van. He listed out his 16 insurance policies6 but did not list out their surrender values. He also listed his shares7 which came up to some $142,746 and US$7,300. However, he went on to state that “except those described in Annexure C8 held by me in trust for Mr. Ixx Cxxx” (“IC”). He gave the current market value of these shares which added up to some $100,457 and for which $118,426 was paid9. In this document he said he had received from IC two sums of $50,000 each on the 29 September 2009 and 9 October 2009 for investment in “stock and unit trust on behalf” of ICfrom Sept 2009 to present” as well as $20,000 on the 10 January 2010 “being repayment of loan” to IC and which was “reinvested in stock and unit trust”.

He also purported to list out his unit trusts, bank accounts and other documents in annexures10 but for some reason only some of the documents stated at paragraph 28 on page 16 were exhibited whilst the rest were not11. He said that IC was a British citizen and a long-time friend since 1986 or earlier (26 years or more) who had full trust and confidence in him. He (IC) had provided funds to him to invest in shares, bonds and unit trusts etc. on his behalf. In his CPF accounts he had $630(ordinary account), $40,586 (Medisave account) and $52,993 (special account). For the home he had used from his CPF $461,505(principal) and the accrued interest was $154,071. He had a club membership valued at $8,000 but it was subject to a transfer fee of $7,276.His monthly expenses came up to about $3,657 which included $1,500 for food and groceries(for the family and maid), and the maid’s expenses ($430+$26). His expenses on the child were $195 comprising $100(food), $60(transport), $15 (clothing), $10 (personal grooming), $10 (stationary & assessment books) and school fees (paid from the Edusave Fund). In addition he spent monthly some $725 on the 23 year old son12 and paid his school fees of $8,000 a year and $6,000 for his overseas attachment in Germany for 6 months from February 2012 to August 2012 (one-time payment). He also set aside a sum of $200 for his 85 year old mother who was staying alone.

For his direct financial contributions he listed the home. For his indirect contributions13 he said he made the following financial and non-financial contributions: -doing marketing of food/groceries every weekend. -giving instructions to the maid and house work and cooking menu. -doing minor maintenance and up-keeping work e.g. aircon cleaning, fixing of shower and harden hoses. -repair of window hinges and greasing. -change of electrical bulbs and door lock. -purchase of paint and painting of house and grille. -other general up-keeping work. -maid salary ($430 per month). -insurance premium for the home ($244 per year). -utility charges ($390 per month). -medical expenses for children & maid.

He proposed that the home be sold and after the repayment of the mortgage loan, refund of CPF withdrawals, costs of the sale, the net proceeds be divided 60% to him and 40% to the wife. On maintenance he offered $200 a month for the child and $750 for the son and a nil sum for the wife. He asked for joint custody of the child with care and control to him.

The wife in her first affidavit14 declared that as a xxx her take home salary was $5,228 (gross being $6,220). The estimated the value of the home was $2-$2.4 million as at 2011 and it was purchased in 1996 for a sum of $1.15 million. The husband had a motor car No. GBAxxxxA. The family car was sold 3 years earlier and the sales proceeds kept by him which he ought to account for. She had 7 insurance policies one of which was paid for by the husband’s company E and she would state their values in her second affidavit. She had shares in 9 counters and their estimated values (as at 13 April 2012) added up to about $133,211.She had transferred some of her shares around August 2010 to their son so that he could start his own portfolio and learn trading. These transferred shares were now worth about $29,355 (as at 15 April 2011). In her 5 bank accounts she had a total balance (as at 13 April 2102) of about $41,643. In her CPF accounts she had $10,495 (ordinary account), $41,000 (Medisave) and $85,124 (special account). For the home she had used (as at 16 April 2012) a sum of $428,378 (principal) and the accrued interest was $132,695. Besides the CPF monies she had contributed a further $20,000 in September 2010 towards the capital repayment of the mortgage loan.

Her monthly expenses were $2,604 and the household expenses came up to another $2,555.Her expenses on the 2 older children were $912 and $1,616. As for the child H the expenses came up to $1,576. She had contributed towards the purchase of their first home a 5 room HDB apartment (the flat). Subsequently they bought their second home a condominium (the condo) for which she contributed in cash and from her CPF account. The sales proceeds of the flat were ploughed into the condo’s purchase. The sales proceeds of the condo were in turn used to finance the current home and the mortgage payments were made from their respective CPF accounts with she making a capital repayment of $20,000.She listed out her indirect financial contributions at Annex C which included payments for utilities/internet/broadband, repairs, groceries, marketing, the maid, property tax, eating out, the 3 children’s s school and personal expenses, credit card payments, holidays, the husband’s income tax, car expenses, gifts, etc. which she tabulated as coming up to about $700,000. She claimed that the husband took half of their son’s scholarship monies of about $2,256 and banked the sum into his own account. In November 2004 the husband borrowed $4,700 from her.

Their insurance payments for 11 AIA policies15 were deducted from their DBS joint account and amounted to about $145,000. The husband did not contribute to this joint account except for the dividends from his shares in his CDP account. In 2011 after the husband initiated the divorce, the average sum that came...

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