CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeSowaran Singh
Judgment Date08 June 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 80
Citation[2015] SGFC 80
Docket NumberDivorce Suit No. 2236 of 2012, SUM 1583/2015
Hearing Date26 March 2015,19 May 2015
Plaintiff CounselMs. Lim Poh Choo (M/s Alan Shankar & Lim LLC)
Defendant CounselMs. Ng Hui-Li Felicia/Ms.Rapinder Kaur (M/s COMLAW LLC)
Subject MatterCatchwords: Family Law,ancillary proceedings,Family Law,division of matrimonial assets
Published date02 September 2015
District Judge Sowaran Singh: Introduction

The Plaintiff (wife/mother) and the Defendant (husband/father) married in May 1984 and have a daughter from the union who is now an adult1. It was a long marriage. On the 10 May 2012 the wife filed for a divorce based on the husband’s unreasonable behaviour. The husband was described2 as being 50 year-old country manager whilst the wife was a 50-year-old distribution manager. Interim Judgment (IJ) was granted on the 23 July 2012 and the ancillaries which were adjourned to Chambers came up for hearing on the 19 May 2015.

In the Statement of Particulars (SOP) the wife averred that the husband did not bother to show any concern for their daughter and did not bother to spend time with them. From Mondays to Fridays he was in Malaysia and on weekends when in Singapore he spent most of his time on the golf course or other activities outside the home. He did not care for their daughter and hardly exchanged 10 sentences with the child throughout the weekend when in Singapore. Whenever she tried to make conversation with him, he would accuse her of prying into his affairs. When she cooked for the family he told her to stop wasting her time. He earned about $10,000 (net) monthly and yet he used her monies for the household expenses and his overdraft. He refused to account to her for his expenses. She found out that he spent on another woman in Malaysia and even checked into hotels as well as went for holidays with this lady. The parties had invested their monies in Malaysian properties which were in the husband’s sole name and he disposed of them without informing/consulting her.

One day before the hearing on the 18 May 2015 the wife made an application in SUM 1583/2015 to file a 3rd AOM and for the hearing to be adjourned. The husband objected to this 11th hour application. At the conclusion of the hearing the court dismissed the wife’s application in SUM 1583/2015 and proceeded to make the requisite orders on the ancillary matters as well.

The Appeal

On the 2 June 2015, the husband filed an appeal against the court’s decision relating only to its orders on the division of the matrimonial home (the home), the division of the husband’s CPF funds and the sale of the club (xxx) membership. The court will now deal with these issues. As the court’s other orders are not being appealed against the evidence relating thereto need not be alluded to in these grounds in detail or at all.

The Parties Positions in Brief as in their 1st AOM’s3

The husband in his 1st AOM4 declared that as a country manager his gross income was $10,700 and he took home $9,799. He was also paid a month’s bonus in June 2012 and a 13th month bonus was paid earlier in the year. In addition, he received a transport allowance of $900 and a housing allowance (for Malaysia) of $666. Apart from this he had a rental income of A$310 per week from an Australian property. This fully paid up property was in their joint names and its value was $364,000. The agent in Australia collected the rent and paid all the expenses on their behalf. The net rent was paid into their ANZ bank account held jointly in their names. They had an apartment in Singapore at xxx (the home) which was valued at $900,000 and the outstanding mortgage loan stood at $196,075. He had used for this apartment a sum of $386,638 from his CPF funds and the accrued interest was $123,638.A sum of $1,500 was deducted from his CPF account for this loan and another $1,462 from the wife’s CPF account. He had a piece of vacant land in xxx (the land) held by a Malaysian friend of his one xxx (xxx) and its estimated value was $40,000. There was also a condominium unit in his sole name in xxx, Malaysia (xxx) and its estimated value was $152,000 and there was an outstanding mortgage loan of $51,480. He owned 3 vehicles namely a xxx valued at $80,000 (hire purchase outstanding: $88,826), a xxx valued at $46,000 (hire purchase outstanding: $37,740) and a xxx registered car valued at $23,200 (not on hire purchase).

He also had 4 insurance policies with surrender values of $40,571 (xxx), $37,555 (xxx paid from CPF), $15,000 (xxx) and a personal accident policy with xxx which had a nil surrender value. He had shares in xxx a company started by his father and the shares were given to him before their marriage and did not form part of the matrimonial assets. He also had 177 xxx shares worth about $600 bought with his CFP Investment Account. In his 6 Singapore bank accounts (one of which was xxx joint current account with the wife) he had some $20,562. In his 3 xxx bank accounts he had some $58,838 and in their 3 xxx joint bank accounts there was some $27,454. In his CPF accounts he had xxx. He also had another vehicle No. xxx with an estimated value of $100,000 which was inherited through his father from his grandfather. His xxx club membership was worth $230,000 and the xxx at $4,000. His monthly expenses added up to more than $11,586 out of which $1,040 was for the insurance policies, more than $1,000 for petrol/car related expenses, $675 for his “lifestyle expenses”, another $915 for his club subscriptions/personal expenses, $1,000 for dining out, and $4,295 for loan/overdraft payments for cars and the Malaysian unit. He also set aside $300 for his mother-in-law.

The Malaysian and Australian properties were bought with cash and bank loans. The cash was taken from the “joint savings5of the wife and his whilst the repayment of the bank loans was paid from his monthly salary. Both the wife and he worked throughout their marriage and in the beginning their salaries were credited into their joint xxx account which had an overdraft facility. All the family bills were paid from this account. When there were insufficient funds they would draw on the overdraft and when there were excess funds these would be transferred to the wife’s personal xxx account for savings. In July 2011 the wife told him she wanted to cancel the overdraft facility and henceforth only $1,000 of her salary would be credited into the account and the rest saved by her. She did not give him a “reason for her decision” but he “respected6 it. He continued to transfer money into the joint account and this was depleted every month on payments for family expenses. When there were insufficient funds he would draw on his cash advance/overdraft facilities he had with xxx, xxx and the xxx. This arrangement has continued to date. Hence the wife would have accumulated substantial savings over the years which were intended for their joint benefit.

He listed out his indirect financial and non-financial contributions which included the following: - he paid for all the outgoings for the home. The renovations/furnishings for the home, the properties in Malaysia/Australia were paid from their joint savings. Recent renovations to the home in 2010 which cost about $20-$30,000 and in 2011 of about $6-$7,000 were paid from their joint xxx account. -he purchased all the vehicles for the family’s use and paid for all the outgoings. He arranged and paid for all the insurance policies. He paid for their daughter’s expenses. He assisted in her school enrolment. He arranged and paid for all family holidays. -in 1992 he was offered a job in Malaysia and he took it up. This entailed spending most weekdays in Malaysia and he came home on weekends. The wife was unhappy and insisted he resign in 2000. After his resignation he could not find a similar-paying job in Singapore. Later he was offered the post of xxx with his present employer and he explained to the wife that he needed this job to support their lifestyle and sought her understanding. He now spent most weekdays in Malaysia (and was also required to travel to other countries) and returned to Singapore every weekend. -he was supportive of the wife’s career development and accompanied her on her trips to Australia and Switzerland. When the wife had to travel he took leave from work to take care of their daughter. He supported the wife when she wanted to provide financial assistance to her niece and nephew for their polytechnic education. He supported the wife and arranged to pay her sister $30,000 when she wanted to renovate her flat as well as when she wanted to buy a flat for her mother to live in. A flat in xxx was purchased in their joint names using their CPF monies and cash and he arranged to renovate it. As her mother did not live in it, the flat was sold 2 years later and they received $180,000 in cash out of which $50,000 was used for the home and balance kept by the wife as their joint savings. -the payments for the various expenses were made by him using his overdraft and cash advance facilities. The savings they accumulated were deposited into the wife’s personal xxx and xxx account.

He offered to transfer his rights in the home to the wife upon her paying the outstanding mortgage loan and refunding a sum of $150,000 to his CPF account (partial refund) and bear the transfer expenses. She could keep all the monies in her xxx, xxx accounts, all shares /investments in her name and all jewellery in her possession as well as the club membership in her name (xxx). He would keep all the Malaysian properties, monies in Malaysian banks, the xxx club memberships, the car xxx and the Mercedes Benz. He would discharge all the liabilities for these assets. The Australian property would be sold and they agreed and the net sales proceed divided equally. Pending the sale the income generated less all outgoings would also be equally shared. The monies in the xxx bank would be divided equally. There was to be no maintenance for the wife as she was self-sufficient. For their daughter he would pay $1,000 for her monthly maintenance until she completed her tertiary education as well as her school/course fees for her local tertiary education up to her first university degree. He asked for joint custody of their daughter with care and...

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