TED v TEE

CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeSharon Lim
Judgment Date14 May 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 62
Citation[2015] SGFC 62
Docket NumberD 2125 of 2013
Publication Date31 July 2015
Plaintiff CounselMr Kanagavijayan Nadarajan [KANA & CO.]
Defendant CounselMr Chhabra Vinit [VINIT CHHABRA PARTNERSHIP]
SubjectCatch Words: Family Law,Divorce-Ancillary matters-Division of matrimonial assets-Maintenance for children- Maintenance for former wife
District Judge Sharon Lim: Introduction

The plaintiff wife and defendant husband were married on 21 June 1997. They have a son aged 16 and a daughter aged 12 (“the children”). Interim judgment for the divorce was granted on 5 September 2014 based on four years separation.

The hearing before me concerned the disputed ancillary matters relating to the divorce: care and control of the children, access to the children, division of the matrimonial flat and maintenance for the plaintiff and the children.

After consideration of the affidavits filed by both parties as well as hearing submissions from their respective counsel, I made the following orders (as extracted by the plaintiff’s counsel): By consent, parties shall have joint custody of the 2 children of the marriage namely, [names redacted] The Plaintiff shall have care and control of the 2 children of the marriage namely, [redacted]. The Defendant shall have liberal access to the said 2 children. The Defendant is to directly contact the 2 children in respect of access timing. In addition, the Defendant and the children are to attend the Children-in-Between (CiB) programme conducted by an appointed agency of the Ministry of Social and Family Development. There shall be no maintenance for the Plaintiff. The matrimonial flat at [redacted] shall be transferred to the Plaintiff upon her refunding the Defendant’s CPF money used towards the purchase of the matrimonial flat at [redacted] and accrued interest thereon and upon paying the Defendant an additional cash consideration of $70,000.00. The transfer shall take place within 3 months of the date of this Order and the Plaintiff is to bear the costs of this transfer. The Order for the said transfer takes into account the Defendant’s contributions towards the maintenance of the 2 children of the marriage and the Defendant shall not be liable to make any payment for maintenance should this transfer take place. If the Order of the transfer of the matrimonial flat at [redacted] does not take place within the time prescribed, then the Defendant shall have the first option to purchase the Plaintiff’s share of the said flat at 45% of the open market value of the matrimonial flat. In the event of a sale to a third party, then the net proceeds of the sale of the matrimonial flat at [redacted] less expenses and outgoing mortgage, shall be divided in the proportion of 55% to the Defendant and 45% to the Plaintiff. The parties are to refund to their respective CPF Accounts inclusive of interests from their share of the net sale proceeds of the matrimonial flat. The sale shall take place within 6 months from the date of which the original order lapses. If there is no agreement on the open market value of the matrimonial flat, an independent valuer shall be appointed and parties shall bear the costs of the valuation. The Registrar of the Family Justice Courts under section 31 of the Family Justice Act is empowered to execute, sign or indorse all necessary documents relating to the transfer or sale of the matrimonial flat at [redacted] on behalf of either party if either party fails to do so within 10 days of written request made to the party. In the event of the sale of the matrimonial flat at [redacted] in the open market, the Defendant shall pay $700.00 per month towards the maintenance of the 2 children of the marriage namely [redacted] with effect from 15th April 2015 and thereafter on the 15th day of each month. In addition, the Defendant is to pay the Plaintiff a sum of $200.00 per year for the year end expenses of the 2 children by 15th December 2015 and thereafter on the 15th of December each year and payment is to be made into the Plaintiff’s POSB Account No. [redacted]. Parties are to retain all other assets held in their names and there shall be no further division of the matrimonial assets There will be no order as to costs. Parties are at liberty to apply.”

The plaintiff was dissatisfied with and appealed against orders c, d, f and i. I now give the reasons for making those orders.

Brief background facts

The plaintiff wife is 44 years old and works as a freelance photographer. She claims to earn about $1,000.00 per month. The defendant husband is 48 years old. He is a sales promoter who earns about $2,700.00 per month.

The parties’ main matrimonial asset was a 4 room HDB flat purchased in 2002.

Decision

The issues on appeal are: The appropriate division of the matrimonial flat between the parties; and, Maintenance for the children and the plaintiff.

Division of the matrimonial flat

The matrimonial flat was purchased in 2002. The estimated value of the flat is approximately $470,000. There is an outstanding mortgage loan of about $45,264.30. It was not in dispute that the plaintiff’s CPF contribution towards the flat was about $42,222.05 and the defendant’s CPF contribution was $79,313.83. The net value of the flat available for division (before the refund to their respective CPF accounts) was approximately $425,000. Based on these direct financial contributions, the plaintiff’s percentage contribution was about 35% and the defendant’s was 65%.

The parties did not actively lay claim to the other matrimonial assets and both were content to let the other retain the assets held in their names. The dispute centred on the matrimonial flat.

The plaintiff’s position was that the matrimonial flat should be transferred to her with no refund to the defendant’s CPF account. This would take into account a lump sum calculation of the maintenance that she claimed from the defendant, which she computed as a total of $132,000. This sum comprised a monthly maintenance of $700 for 5 years for the 16 year old son (i.e. $42,000), $500 per month for 9 years for the 12 year old daughter (i.e. $54,000), and $500 per month for 10 years for the plaintiff (i.e. $36,000). The plaintiff also based her claim on her financial contributions towards the matrimonial flat and her non-financial indirect contributions towards the family, particularly from January 2013 onwards, when the defendant moved out of the flat. From that time on, she had to singlehandedly manage the household chores, household expenses and work. She also had to provide financial and emotional support to the two children as they prepared for major school examinations.

In contrast, the plaintiff asserted that the defendant stopped working in 2002 for a period of about 8 years. The plaintiff disputes the defendant’s assertions that during this time, he made non-financial contributions such as helping...

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