JudgeRegina Ow-Chang Yee Lin
Judgment Date07 September 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 118
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberDivorce Writ No. 4811 of 2013
Published date18 September 2015
Hearing Date25 May 2015,11 May 2015
Plaintiff CounselMs Rina Kalpanath Singh (Kalco Law LLC)
Defendant CounselMr Alan Shankar s/o Kulkarni (Alan Shankar & Lim LLC)
Subject MatterCatch words: "Family Law,ancillary matters,division of the matrimonial assets"
Citation[2015] SGFC 118
District Judge Regina Ow-Chang Yee Lin: Background

The plaintiff (“wife”) and the defendant (“husband”) registered their marriage at the Singapore Marriage Registry on 23 December 1995. They had 2 children, aged 15 and 13, respectively.

The wife is 46 years old and is a Finance and Administration Manager, earning a monthly nett salary of $12,270.83. The husband is 51 years old. He is an IT Assistant Manager with a monthly take home salary of $3,030.

The parties own 2 properties which form the main bulk of the matrimonial assets to be divided. The first is their matrimonial home at Blk xxx Singapore xxx (“the Canberra flat”) purchased in October 1997. The parties hold the fully paid–up flat as joint tenants. The other property is an apartment at xxx Singapore xxx (“the Grandeur 8 apartment”). This apartment was purchased in June 2003 in the joint names of the parties. There is an outstanding loan of $433,455.55 (comprising $143,368.39 on the original loan and $290,087.16 on the overdraft taken out by the wife) on the property.

Sometime in November 2010, the wife moved out of the matrimonial home with the children. On 27 September 2013, the wife filed for divorce on the ground that the husband had behaved in such a way that the wife cannot reasonably be expected to live with him. The divorce was initially contested by the husband but became uncontested after mediation when parties agreed to proceed on the ground of 3-years separation with consent. Interim Judgment was granted on 11 August 2014 with a consent order recorded on the issues of custody, care and control, and access of the children; maintenance for the children and the wife. The issue of the division of matrimonial assets was adjourned to be heard in chambers.

The ancillary matters came up for hearing before me on 11 May 2015. After reviewing the evidence in the affidavits filed by the wife and the husband, and submissions by their respective counsel, I made the following orders on 25 May 2015: 1. Division of Matrimonial Assets

The Canberra apartment

The Plaintiff’s right, title and interest in the matrimonial flat at xxx Singapore xxx (“the matrimonial flat”) shall be transferred (other than by way of sale) to the Defendant upon the Defendant paying the Plaintiff 75% of the market valuation of the property conducted by a HDB-approved valuer. The Plaintiff shall refund her CPF account the monies withdrawn for the purchase together with accrued interest. The Defendant shall pay for the costs and expenses of the transfer. In the event that the matrimonial flat is not transferred within 3 months of the date of this order, the matrimonial flat shall be sold in the open market. The proceeds of sale, after deducting the costs and expenses of sale, is divided 75% to the Plaintiff and 25% to the Defendant. Each party shall refund their Central Provident Fund accounts, the monies withdrawn for the purchase of the matrimonial flat, together with accrued interest from their respective share of the proceeds of sale.

The Grandeur 8 apartment

The Defendant’s right, title and interest in the apartment xxx Singapore xxx (“the Grandeur 8 apartment”) shall be transferred to the Plaintiff, upon the Plaintiff paying the Defendant 5% of the market valuation of the property after deducting the outstanding mortgage loan. The Defendant shall refund his CPF account the monies withdrawn for the purchase together with accrued interest. The Plaintiff shall pay for the costs and expenses of the transfer. The Plaintiff shall pay the Defendant $20,000 being his share of the rental proceeds of the Grandeur 8 apartment. In the event that either party refuses to sign the documents for the sale/transfer within 14 days of written notice to do so, the Registrar of the Family Justice Courts is empowered pursuant to Section 31 of the Family Justice Act to sign the said documents on the defaulting parties’ behalf. Each party to retain the other matrimonial assets in their own name. Liberty to apply The Appeal

On the 5 June 2015, the husband filed an appeal against all the orders made, save for the orders on each party retaining their own matrimonial assets and the empowerment clause for the Registrar of Family Justice Courts to sign on behalf of defaulting parties.

The Husband’s position

The husband submitted that the Canberra flat ought to be transferred to him upon his refunding the wife’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) account, the monies withdrawn for the purchase of the flat, together with accrued interest. In terms of direct financial contribution to the purchase price of the Canberra flat, it is not disputed that the parties contributed the following amounts from their CPF accounts:

Wife Husband
CPF contributions $241,436.64 (as at 31 December 2014) $70,152 (as at 15 February 2014)
Accrued interest on CPF withdrawal $98,239.21 (up to November 2014) $22,166.22 (up to January 2014)

The main bone of contention is a cash payment of $55,000 to pay off the outstanding HDB loan in October 2004. The husband’s case is that he paid that sum from the proceeds of sale of his flat at Blk xxx Singapore xxx (“the Yishun” flat). This flat was purchased by him in his sole name. The flat was sold in or around 1997/1998 and the proceeds of $53,174.83 was banked into the parties joint UOB account. He also relied on the receipt issued made out to his name from the HDB as evidence that he had paid the $55,000 to redeem the HDB loan.

Apart from his direct financial contributions, the husband said he made substantial non-financial contribution in the form of looking after the children for the 8 years he was a “house-husband”. He said that in 2002, after the birth of their son, parties agreed that he would stay at home “to provide full-time care-giving to supervise the upbring of our 2 children during their formative years”. Prior to that, he was running his own business. Although they employed maids, there were many periods in between maids (according to him, there were 27 maids in the course of 11 years). During these periods, he was the main person attending to the children, cooking lunch and dinner, doing household chores and marketing. He also volunteered at a school so that their...

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