JudgeSuzanne Chin
Judgment Date27 August 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 106
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberDivorce Petition No. 5421 of 2013
Published date02 September 2015
Hearing Date08 July 2015,11 June 2015
Plaintiff CounselMs Anuradha d/o Krishan Chand Sharma (Winchester Law LLC)
Defendant CounselMr Balakrishnan Chitra (Regency Legal LLP)
Subject MatterCatch Words: Ancillary Matters Division of Matrimonial Assets Maintenance
Citation[2015] SGFC 106
District Judge Suzanne Chin: Background

The parties were married on 9 July 1998 in Chennai, India and there are 2 children to the marriage aged 15 and 10.

The Plaintiff wife (“the Wife”) commenced divorce proceedings on 29 October 2013 on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. The Defendant husband (“the Husband”) did not contest the application and Interim Judgement was granted on 25 February 2014. This was a marriage that had lasted for 16 years.

The Ancillary Orders

The ancillary matters came for hearing before me on 11 June 2015 and the following issues were before the court: Division of matrimonial assets; and Maintenance for the Wife and children;

On 8 July 2015, I made the following orders: (a) In full and final settlement of all issues relating to the division of property as well as maintenance for the Plaintiff and the children: (i) that the Defendant's rights, interest and share in the matrimonial property known as and situated at xxx which is in the joint names of the Plaintiff and the Defendant, shall be transferred to the Plaintiff within six (6) months from the date of Certificate of Making Interim Judgment Final subject to the Plaintiff paying to the Defendant a sum of $60,000. The Defendant shall be responsible for the refund of monies withdrawn from his CPF account for the purchase of the matrimonial property. The Plaintiff is to bear the costs and expenses of the transfer. (ii) This Order is made subject to the Central Provident Fund Act (Cap. 36) ("CPF Act") and the subsidiary legislation made thereunder in respect of the Member's CPF moneys, property, investments. The Board shall give effect to the terms of this order in accordance with the provisions of the CPF Act and the subsidiary legislation made thereunder. (iii) The Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the Family Justice Courts under section 31 of the Family Justice Act (Act 27 of 2014) is empowered to execute, sign or indorse all necessary documents relating to matters contained in this order on behalf of either party should either party fail to do so within seven (7) days of written request being made to the party. (iv) That each party shall retain his or her own other assets that are in their respective sole names. (v) Liberty to apply.

Notice of Appeal

The Husband filed an appeal on 16 July 2015 against all of my orders and I now set forth the reasons for my decision.

Division of Matrimonial Assets The parties’ position

The Wife wanted the entire flat to be transferred to her with no cash consideration to be paid to the Husband and no reimbursement to be made into his CPF account. The Husband on the other hand wanted the flat to be sold in open market and the net sale proceeds after deducting all expenses and reimbursement of CPF monies, divided in the ratio of 80:20 in his favour.

The Applicable Law

Section 112(1) of the Women’s Charter (Cap 353) (“WC”) empowers the Court to make a division of matrimonial assets in such proportion as the court deems to be “just and equitable”. Section 112(2) goes on to provide that the court in deciding on the question of division must “have regard to all the circumstances of the case” and lists out various factors that should be taken into consideration. These factors are however not exhaustive and are subject to the overriding principle of what is just and equitable. These factors include the following: the extent of contributions made by each party in money, property or work towards acquiring, improving or maintaining the matrimonial assets; any debt owing or obligation incurred or undertaken by either party in money, property or work towards acquiring, improving or maintaining the matrimonial assets; the needs of the children(if any) of the marriage; the extent of the contributions made by each party to the welfare of the family, including looking after the home or caring for the family or any aged or infirm relative or dependant of either party; any agreement between the parties with respect to the ownership and division of the matrimonial assets made in contemplation of divorce; any period of rent-free occupation or other benefit enjoyed by one party in the matrimonial home to the exclusion of the other party; the giving of assistance or support by one party to the other (whether or not of a material kind). Including giving of assistance or support which aids the other party in the carrying on of his or her occupation or business; and The matters referred to in section 114(1) so far as they are relevant.

I was guided by the comments of the learned Vinodh Coomaraswamy J in AVM v AWH [2015] SGHC 194 where he referred to the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in ANJ v ANK [2015] SGCA 34 and summarised at [36] the following four-step approach which should be adopted in determining the division of assets: “(a) First, derive a ratio which represents the relationship between the direct financial contributions of each party towards the acquisition or improvement of matrimonial assets. Where all necessary evidence is available, this is an arithmetical exercise. Where all necessary evidence is not available, the court must use a broad brush to make approximations based on the available documentary evidence and on the parties’ own evidence assessed in the light of their veracity. Next, derive a second ratio which represents the relationship between the non-financial and indirect financial contributions of each party towards the welfare of the family. This is necessarily a matter of impression and judgment to be approached in broad strokes. Then, average the two ratios to derive each party’s overall contribution to the family. This average forms the basis for the division of the matrimonial assets. Finally, make any adjustments which are necessary to arrive at a just and equitable division of the matrimonial assets. The necessary adjustment can be made either by increasing or decreasing the average ratio derived in the third step or by attaching greater weight to one of the component ratios derived in the first step or the second step. The adjustment in this final step is a qualitative adjustment based on the court’s sense of what is fair and just. It is made to recognise that, in certain cases and on certain facts, one type of contribution may carry greater importance than the other. It is...

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1 cases
  • VAI v VAJ
    • Singapore
    • Family Court (Singapore)
    • 30 August 2019
    ...52 % for the husband and 48 % for the wife. The Court awarded the wife 70% for her indirect contributions. In another case, TDW v TDX [2015] SGFC 106, the parties were married for 16 years with 2 children in which both parties worked full-time. The wife moved out of the matrimonial home wit......

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