TEP v TEQ

CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
JudgeMasayu Norashikin
Judgment Date04 August 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 104
Citation[2015] SGFC 104
Publication Date05 September 2015
Docket NumberDivorce Suit No. 4581 of 2013
Plaintiff CounselAmarjit Singh and Javern Sim (Gloria James-Civetta & Co)
Defendant CounselLee Mong Jen (LMJ Law Corporation)
SubjectFamily law,division of matrimonial assets,children's maintenance,no maintenance for the wife
District Judge Masayu Norashikin:

Parties were married in October 2000 and have 2 daughters aged 8 and 5 years old. Interim Judgment was granted on 13 March 2014 on both the Plaintiff husband’s claim and the Defendant wife’s Counterclaim. Both the Claim and Counterclaim relied on the fact that the other party had behaved in such a way that the filing party could not be reasonably be expected to live with him/her.

I heard the ancillary matters on 28 April 2015 and thereafter made the following orders: The Plaintiff shall pay the Defendant $1,300 per month as maintenance for the 2 children with effect from 5 May 2015 and thereafter on the 5th day of each month. Payment shall be made into the Defendant’s bank account. The Plaintiff’s share, title and interest in the matrimonial flat at Blk xxx shall be transferred to the Defendant (other than by way of sale) upon the Defendant paying the Plaintiff 30% of the nett value of the flat. Nett value shall be determined by the market value of the flat less the outstanding loan. The payment to the Plaintiff for his 30% share shall be used by the Plaintiff to make a partial refund to his CPF account of the monies utilised for the purchase of the flat, including accrued interest. The Defendant shall take over the outstanding mortgage loan and shall bear the costs and expenses of the transfer. The transfer shall take place within 3 months of the date of the Certificate of Final Judgment. In the event the transfer does not take place as above, the matrimonial flat shall be sold in the open market within 6 months thereafter. The sale proceeds shall be used to pay off the outstanding mortgage loan and the costs and expenses of sale. The balance thereafter shall be divided in the proportion 70% to the Defendant and 30% to the Plaintiff. Parties shall refund, or make a partial refund, as the case may be, of their respective CPF accounts of all monies utilised for the purchase of the flat including accrued interest, from their respective shares. Parties shall have joint conduct of sale. There shall be no maintenance for the Defendant. Parties shall retain assets in their respective names. Pending the transfer or sale, the Plaintiff shall continue paying the monthly utilities, Singtel residential phone bills, Internet broadband connection, service and conservancy charges and monthly instalment for the Ikea cabinets. The Plaintiff shall reimburse the Defendant the sum of $7,114.17 being the surrender monies for V’s Smart Growth 18 policy, $660 being the cash portion of both children’s Medishield insurance policies for 2014, and the sum of $2,125.92 being the insurance premiums paid for his AXA insurance policy. The Defendant shall repay the loans under the ANZ Platinum Card and DBS Cashline taken out by her and which are in the Plaintiff’s sole name. Liberty to apply.

The Plaintiff husband appealed against the whole of my decision. I set out below the grounds of my decision. I shall refer to parties and “Husband” and “Wife” respectively. Background

The Husband is 45 years old and is a senior manager. The Wife is 35 years old and is self-employed, running a baking school for children.

On 8 January 2015, parties agreed to have joint custody of the 2 children, with care and control to the Wife and specified times of access for the Husband.

On 28 February 2014, parties entered into a consent order that the Husband shall pay interim maintenance of $1,000 a month as maintenance for the 2 children. In addition, the Husband shall also pay: Utilities; Singtel residential phone bills; Internet broadband connection; Service and conservancy charges; Monthly instalment for Ikea cabinets; Insurance premiums for the elder child’s Smart Growth education policy; and The cash portions of both children’s Medishield insurance policies.

In spite of the specific provision in the interim maintenance order, the Husband terminated the elder child’s education policy and was paid the surrender value of $7,114.17. He also terminated the children’s Medishield insurance policies. All these was done without notice to the Wife who then had to purchase fresh insurance hospital cover for the children. Parties’ assets and means Husband’s assets and means

The Husband said his take home monthly income as a manager is $4,499 and claimed monthly expenses of $6,921.58. The Wife claimed that the Husband is reimbursed by his company for his car expenses and mobile phone bills. The Husband admitted this and subsequently revised his monthly expenses to exclude the expenses paid by the company. The revised list of the Husband’s expenses is set out below, together with the amounts allowed as reasonable expenses. In addition, his company pays an additional $1,464 monthly for vehicle expenses, motor insurance and mobile phone bills.

S/No. Item Amount ($) Findings
1. Mortgage loan (CPF) 1,049 Excluded, as paid through CPF.
2. Vehicle loan 635 Excluded – wife’s evidence that instalments end in February 2015
3. Vehicle expenses 342.74 150
4. Allowance for father 500 300
5. Personal insurance 752.92 Excluded – form of savings
6. Raffles Town Club membership 85.60 85.60
7. Internet, mobile broadband, father’s mobile broadband 58.20 58.20
8. NKF donation 10 Excluded
9. Ikea instalments 97.37 97.37
10. Telephone (residence) 12 12
11. Electricity/water/gas 200 200
12. Service & conservancy charges 66.25 66.25
13. Food/groceries $200 Eating out (lunch, tea break, dinner and breakfast) $900 Entertainment $100+ 1,200 700
14. Public transport 10 10
15. Personal outing with kids 300 200
16. Clothing (shoes, socks, shirt, pants etc) 100 100
17. Vitamins supplement 100 50
18. Personal grooming (Haircut, hair gel, shampoo, soap etc) 70 50
19. Hobby: books and magazines 20 20
20. Newspapers 31.65 31.65
21. Others: battery, PC accessory, medication etc 20 20
Total 5,660 2,151.07

The Husband’s personal assets are:

Car (nett value) $11,129.00
POSB account $607.52
OCBC account $11.78
CPF Ordinary account $20,954.22
CPF Medisave account $44,860.92
CPF Special account $52,514.81
AIA Life Insurance $17,649.42
$24,815.62
AIA investment-linked policy $31,754.33
Singtel shares $4,768.00
Total $209,065.62
Wife’s assets and means

The Wife is self-employed in running a baking school for children. This was set up in 2002, with an OCBC microloan of $80,000 to pay for the start-up and initial running costs. She incorporated xxx (City Square) LLP as a limited liability partnership between the Husband and herself on 18 February 2010. She said the Husband was merely a nominee. On his request, his name was withdrawn on 2 April 2014. The Wife incorporated xxx on 3 March 2014. She said her monthly income is about $4,553 using average income for the last 3 years. She also said it is unlikely that there is any value to the business as it is a small start-up and self-run business.

The Husband submitted that the Wife’s income should not be based on the average over three years as her income is on an upward trend. He alleged that her monthly income in 2014 is more than $7,000. The Wife denied her take-home is $7,000 as any profits would also be used to repay bank loans and to finance the business.

The Husband wanted the Wife to provide an estimated value of her business which would have by now generated sufficient goodwill during the last 12 years. The Wife denied this and said that her business was reliant on her running the show, and that he was aware that she had to take on personal liabilities to support the business.

The Husband alleged that the Wife failed to declare businesses she set up in Liaoning, China and in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the income from those businesses eg licensing and franchise fees. The Wife’s response was that the income and expenses incurred for all her overseas joint ventures have been consolidated and included in the profit and loss statements of her business. There is no franchise in Indonesia; the outfit is a joint venture which has yet to be profitable.

The Wife further declared liabilities totalling $86,569.71 owing to banks for credit card bills and overdraft facilities. By the time of her third affidavit, the liabilities drawn on the Husband’s credit card and other facilities had been significantly reduced. She consistently maintained the position that she would pay for the loans utilised by her.

The Wife’s expenses and my findings on reasonable expenses are set out in the table below.

S/No. Item Amount ($) Findings
1. Food/meals out 600 600
2. Transport (MRT/taxis) 250 250
3. Insurance premiums 397.17 Not allowed – form of savings
4. Clothes/shoes/makeup, gifts for occasions, entertainment 300 300
5. Allowance to aged parents 500 300
Sub-total 2,047.17 1,450
6. Household expenses (1/2 share of 4-person household, comprising Wife, maid and 2 children) (Please refer to paragraph 19) 2,014.61 958
Total 4,061.78 2,408

The Wife’s personal assets (excluding any value of her business) are:

Manulife insurance policy $6,889.43
Great Eastern Life policy $9,093.93
UOB policy $6,019.45
Transamerica life policy $3,475.77
...

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