TDQ v TDR

CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeMasayu Norashikin
Judgment Date21 August 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 109
Citation[2015] SGFC 109
Docket NumberDivorce Petition No. 2119 of 2012
Publication Date04 September 2015
Plaintiff CounselMs Aye Cheng Shone [A C Shone & Co]
Defendant CounselMr Liaw Jin Poh [Tan Lee & Choo]
SubjectCatch words: Family law division of matrimonial assets adverse inference,Family law,procedure - husband filing affidavit replying to interrogatories after part-heard ancillary matter hearing,request for interrogatories withdrawn
District Judge Masayu Norashikin:
Grounds of decision

Parties were married in September 1999. There is one child to the marriage born in May 2001. The Plaintiff Wife filed for divorce based on the fact that parties had lived apart for a period of at least 3 years preceding the filing of the Writ (since 1 October 2008), and the Defendant consented to a judgment being granted. Interim Judgment was granted on 20 June 2012.

I heard the ancillary matters on 6 January 2015 and 13 April 2015. After the first hearing on 6 January 2015, the Defendant husband filed a further affidavit without leave of court or consent of the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff filed Summons 404/2015 to strike out the said affidavit. This Summons was heard together with the ancillary matters at the second hearing on 13 April 2015.

I reserved judgment and my decision on the Plaintiff’s summons to 8 May 2015, whereupon I allowed the Plaintiff’s application to strike out the Defendant’s affidavit with costs, and made the following orders on the ancillary matters. Parties shall have joint custody of the child of the marriage, S, with care and control to the Plaintiff. The Defendant shall have access as follows:- Once a fortnight on Saturdays from 5.30 pm to 9 pm. The Defendant shall pick the child up from his activities at the start of access and send the child back to the Plaintiff’s residence at the end of access. During June and year-end school holidays, the fortnightly access shall be from 10 am to 9 pm. The Defendant shall pick the child up from and return the child to the Plaintiff’s residence. In the event the child has school activities or tuition, the Defendant shall send and fetch the child to and from such activities. Parties are at liberty to agree on alternative arrangements during school holidays. Reasonable telephone access. Parties shall, within one week of this order, exchange contact details to be used for the purpose of facilitating access, including mobile numbers and email addresses as well as the child’s contact details. Parties and the child to attend the Children-In-Between Programme. The Defendant shall pay the Plaintiff $600 per month as maintenance for the child, with effect from 15 May 2015 and thereafter on the 15th day of each month. Payment shall be made into the Plaintiff’s bank account. In addition, the Defendant shall pay:- Arrears of maintenance from May 2012 to April 2015 at $600 per month, totalling $21,600. Such arrears shall be paid from his share of the stakeholding monies for the St Patrick’s property. 50% of the child’s tertiary education school fees within one month after production of receipts. The Defendant shall pay the Plaintiff $1 per month as the Plaintiff’s maintenance with effect from 15 May 2015 and thereafter on the 15th day of each month. Payment shall be made into the Plaintiff’s designated bank account. The Defendant’s share, title and interest in xxx (“the Joo Chiat property”) shall be transferred (other than by way of sale) to the Plaintiff upon the Plaintiff paying the Defendant 20% of the market value of the property. The transfer shall take place within 6 months of the Certificate of Final Judgement. The nett sale proceeds of xxx (“the St Patrick’s property”) in the sum of $1,604,293.57 shall be divided in the proportion 80% to the Plaintiff and 20% to the Defendant. Nett sale proceeds is calculated based on the unit sale price entitlement and reimbursements, less disbursements, redemption of mortgage, legal fees and registration fees in relation to the sale, but before refund of CPF monies to parties’ respective CPF accounts. The arrears of maintenance at paragraph 5(a) above shall be deducted from the Defendant’s share of the proceeds and paid to the Plaintiff. In the event either party fails to execute any documents to effect the transfer of the Joo Chiat property upon being given 14 days’ written notice, the Registrar or Assistant Registrar of the Family Justice Courts shall be empowered to do so on behalf of the defaulting party. Parties to retain assets in their respective names. Liberty to apply. No order as to costs in the ancillary matters.

The Defendant appealed against my decision not to allow his last affidavit, and against the division of the Joo Chiat property as well as the nett sale proceeds of the St Patrick’s property.

I set out below the grounds of my decision, focusing on the matters on appeal. I shall refer to the Plaintiff as “Wife” and the Defendant as “Husband”.

Background

The Wife is 48 years old. She was employed as the Managing Director of xxx with take-home pay of almost $23,000 but had resigned by the time of the hearing.

The Husband is 51 years old. He said he is a Certified Public Accountant, holds an MBA in Investment Management and had always worked in the finance sector. He was working for a company called xxx (it was not clear whether the employer was xxx Singapore or xxx Holding) from 2001 to 2011, with a last-drawn salary of $7,000 as the xxx. After leaving the company, the Husband set up his own business via a Malaysian company, xxx. He claimed to have just started drawing a monthly salary of MYR 5,000 and to be travelling extensively throughout Malaysia and Indonesia.

Parties were originally from Malaysia and moved to Singapore in May 2001, 7 days after the child was born. Both parties were working throughout the marriage, except for the period from 18 May 2001 to July 2002 when the Wife stayed home to take care of the newborn child. They began staying in separate rooms from October 2008.

Throughout the course of the marriage, parties had purchased 3 properties:- a HDB flat at Bukit Batok, purchased in end-2001 and sold in 2005; the St Patrick’s property, purchased in 2005 and subject to an en bloc sale in July 2012 with proceeds of $1,408,710.63 being held by stakeholders; and the Joo Chiat property, purchased in 2007, and the current matrimonial home.

The Wife left the matrimonial home with the child in May 2010 and moved into the St Patrick’s property, allegedly due to the Husband’s threats and commotions. She obtained a Personal Protection Order against the Husband in 2011. However, the Wife and child had to vacate the St Patrick’s property on 31 October 2012 due to the en bloc sale. Since then, she has been renting premises at $3,300 a month. She alleged that the Husband did not allow her and the child to move back to the Joo Chiat property unless he was staying there too. This was despite the property being vacant since the Husband is based in Malaysia.

Pool of matrimonial assets

The undisputed matrimonial assets are set out in the table below.

S/No. Item Value ($)
1. Assets in joint names (a) Joo Chiat property (fully paid) (b) Monies held by stakeholders from en bloc sale of St Patrick’s Property: 2,500,000.00 1,408,710.63 Subtotal: 3,908,710.63
2. Assets in Wife’s name (a) CPF Ordinary Account CPF Medisave Account CPF Special Account (b) Nissan Sylphy 1.5l car (c) Citibank account (d) OCBC account (e) UOB account (f) Maybank Malaysia (MYR 382,943.00) 167,327.29 113,984.57 43,500.00 42,000.00 93,609.00 1,000.00 160,000.00 147,985.28 Subtotal: 769,406.14
3. Assets in Husband’s name (a) CPF Ordinary account CPF Medisave account Special account (b) Nissan Cefiro car (c) 20,000 Global Palm shares (d) HSBC accounts (e) POSB accounts (f) Maybank accounts 18,623.06 41,634.80 51,818.61 20,000.00 3,840.00 1,185.05 4,144.59 1,204.82 445.82 46,548.16 1,292.52 155,027.14 Subtotal: 345,764.57
Total 5,023,881.34
Alleged undisclosed and dissipated assets

The Husband alleged that the Wife’s bank balances and assets should be of much higher value, taking into account her monthly income of $23,800 and minimal contributions towards the household expenses. The Wife’s reply to this was that her income had risen from $6,200 in 2002...

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