CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeSharon Lim
Judgment Date26 June 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 83
Citation[2015] SGFC 83
Docket NumberD 1163/2012
Hearing Date17 June 2015,26 February 2015
Plaintiff CounselMr P. Jeya Putra and Ms Thuolase Venga [M/S ASIALEGAL LLC]
Defendant CounselMs Adriene Cheong [M/S HARRY ELIAS PARTNERSHIP]
Subject MatterCatch Words: Family Law,Divorce,Ancillary matters-Care and control of children-Access to children-Division of matrimonial assets,Maintenance for children
Published date20 August 2015
District Judge Sharon Lim: Introduction

The plaintiff wife and defendant husband were married on 20 February 2004. They have two children, a son aged 10 years old, who is in Primary 5 this year, and a daughter, aged 8 years old, who is in Primary 2. Interim judgment for the divorce was granted on 24 September 2012 based on 3 years’ separation with consent.

Parties were able to agree that they would have joint custody of the children. However, they fought bitterly over the issue of care and control. There was also no agreement on the division of matrimonial assets and maintenance claimed by the plaintiff for herself and the children.

As the biggest issue in contention was the care and control of the children, with parties taking diametrically different positions and making strong allegations about each other in their affidavits, I ordered that a Custody Evaluation Report (CER) be prepared by the Family Justice Court’s Counselling and Psychological Services. After reading the affidavits, the CER and the submissions of the parties, I made the following orders: By consent, the parties shall have joint custody of the two children of the marriage [redacted]. The parties are to attend the PACT parenting programme and the children and parties to attend the Children-in-Between at the DSSA. The Plaintiff shall have care and control of the children with effect from 4.00 pm on 26 June 2015. The present access arrangements agreed by parties is to continue in effect until 26 June 2015. The Defendant’s access, including alternate weekend access, to commence on 29 June 2015. The Defendant shall have liberal access to the children as follows: Overnight access every alternate weekend from Friday (after they are respectively dismissed from school) to Sunday 9 pm; Daily weekday access either from 2 to 5pm or 6 to 9pm except on Fridays where he already has weekend access. The Defendant is to notify the Plaintiff via Whatsapp, SMS or email no later than 1 week before the commencement of each week which timeslots he will be utilising, or if he is unable to exercise access due to overseas work commitments. The 6-9pm slot should not be utilised by the Defendant more than twice a week; Alternate public holiday access from 10 am to 9 pm with effect from Hari Raya Puasa (ie 17 July 2015) except for Chinese New Year and Christmas holidays; In 2016 and even-numbered years thereafter, the eve of Chinese New Year (after school till 10 pm) and the second day of Chinese New Year (10 am to 9pm). In 2017 and odd-numbered years thereafter, the first day of Chinese New Year (10 am to 9 pm); In 2016 and even-numbered years thereafter, Christmas Day from 10 am to 9 pm; Overnight access in the first half of the March, June, September and November/December school holidays; 4 hours on Father’s Day, Defendant’s and the children’s birthdays, if it does not fall on an access day already prescribed above; Liberal telephone/email/SMS/Whatsapp access daily until 9 pm. The children are currently attending the following classes: [redacted] Tuesdays: 5.45 pm to 7.45 pm (xxx Language School at xxx Mall) Wednesdays: 5.00 pm to 6.30 pm (xxx at xxx Mall) Saturdays: 2.45 pm to 4.15 pm (xxx Language School at xxx Mall) [redacted] Wednesday: 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm (xxx Language Centre at xxx West Community Club) Thursdays: 4.30 pm to 5.15 pm (xxx Music School at xxx Singapura) Saturdays: 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm (xxx Language School at xxx Mall) Sundays: 4.00 pm to 5.30 pm (xxx at xxx) No further classes are to be arranged for the children without agreement of both parties or application to Court, if no agreement is reached. The parties shall have liberty to take the children out of the jurisdiction during school holiday access, provided that he or she gives the other parent at least 2 months’ notice in advance and furnishes the other parent with the overseas contact number and full itinerary of the proposed trip. The Plaintiff shall keep the passports of the children, and shall hand over the passports to the Defendants for the purposes of booking the trip and for the trip itself upon being given no less than 5 days’ advance notice. The Defendant shall return the passports to the Plaintiff no later than 5 days after completion of the booking of the trip or return from the trip itself. Neither party is to remove the children from the jurisdiction save as set out in order (5) above. The Plaintiff shall receive $263,775 from the sale proceeds of the CDA property currently held by stakeholders in full and final division of the matrimonial assets. The stakeholder shall pay the said sum to the Plaintiff no later than 14 days from the date of this order. The balance shall be paid out by the stakeholders to the Defendant. The parties shall hold all assets in their names and there shall be no further division of matrimonial assets. The Defendant shall pay the Plaintiff nominal maintenance of $1. The Defendant shall pay the Plaintiff $1,200 as maintenance for the children wef 1 July 2015 and thereafter on the first day of each month. All payments to be made into the Plaintiff’s designated bank account.

The defendant subsequently wrote in to request for further arguments on the issue of care and control and access. I considered his request carefully but as declined to call parties back for a further hearing as I would not have changed the orders that I made on those matters based on his request. The defendant then filed an appeal against orders (2) – (7) and (9). I now give the reasons for my decision.

Brief background facts

The plaintiff wife is 37 years old and works as a nurse. She earns over $5,000 gross per month including bonuses. The defendant husband is 44 years old. He is the Chief Operating Officer at a local business entity and earns over $16,000 gross per month including allowances.

The parties were able to agree to an uncontested divorce sometime in 2012. Thereafter, up to April this year, the parties continued to reside at an apartment (‘the xxx property’) held in the name of the defendant’s mother, where they had lived since marriage. The other residents included the defendant’s mother, the parties’ two children, and the defendant’s domestic helper. Tensions remained high during this arrangement, culminating in a physical altercation between the parties in late April 2015 over allegations that the defendant was secretly recording the plaintiff with an audio recorder and that the plaintiff was deleting the existing recordings. The plaintiff left the xxx property and was not allowed to return by the defendant and his mother. Arrangements were made for the plaintiff to have access to the children in the interim.

Care and control of and access to the children

The central issue in contention between parties concerned care and control of the children. Both sought care and control of the children with access to the other party. Their submissions largely consisted of painting a strongly negative picture of the other party’s parenting abilities and allegations about how the other parties’ characters made them the less fit parent to have care and control.

Plaintiff’s submissions

The plaintiff submitted that she was the parent more suited to have care and control for the following reasons: She encouraged them to sleep by 9 pm to ensure that they had sufficient sleep before school the next morning; She encouraged the children to take regular breaks during studying; She encouraged them to socialise with their maternal cousins, unlike the defendant, who did not do so in relation to the children’s paternal cousins; She did not force the children to take part in activities that they were disinterested in; She was sought out by the children when they needed comforting; She remained committed to the children by staying on at the xxx property despite the marital unhappiness; She is able to provide a conducive environment for the children to live at her mother’s flat.

The plaintiff asserted that the defendant was not the suitable party to have care and control as he indulged in pornography; had extra-marital affairs; kept late nights; brought the children to his office till late on weekdays and left them to their own devices; had to travel quite often for work; had a heavy workload and unexpected work commitments; kept the children up late at night on school nights; was not exemplary in his hygiene practices; insisted on being present while their 8 year old daughter took a shower; insisted on having his way with the children including using physical force on them and terrifying them into submission; acted violently and losing his temper in front of the children; exercised domineering and overbearing behaviour over the children in relation to their academic work without regard for their need for sufficient sleep, regular breaks and a well-balanced lifestyle; was insensitive to the children’s emotional and psychological well-being by bad-mouthing the plaintiff in front of the children; threatened to alienate the children from the plaintiff; embarrassed the plaintiff without regard to the children’s feelings; turned the children against the plaintiff; put his own needs ahead of the children’s well-being; was not of exemplary character; took full credit for the children’s academic performance but blamed the plaintiff for any failings; did not rationalise with the children, but bribed them to do his bidding; was critical of the plaintiff’s approach to raising the children and adamant about his methods and decisions; and, was not able to provide a conducive environment for the children as his mother is not in an adequate physical and mental state to take care of the children and the defendant has to work late and travels for work.

The plaintiff highlighted that the court should take into account the fact that the plaintiff, as a mother, would play a greater relative role in...

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1 cases
  • UEV v UEW and UEX
    • Singapore
    • Family Court (Singapore)
    • 8 Septiembre 2017
    ...The petitioner ought to have some weekends to enjoy his son’s company. He also relied on the decision of the Family Court in TDZ v TEA [2015] SGFC 83 where the court ordered fortnightly access on the basis that time during weekends and holidays should be split equally between the parents so......

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