TER v TES

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeLee Li Choon
Judgment Date25 May 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGFC 51
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberDivorce No. 2508 of 2013
Year2015
Published date13 August 2015
Hearing Date04 February 2015
Plaintiff CounselP/C: Ms Jinny Tan (Wee, Tay and Lim LLP)
Defendant CounselDefendant : In Person
Subject MatterCatchwords: Family Law,division of matrimonial assets,Family Law,maintenance for wife,maintenance for child
Citation[2015] SGFC 51
District Judge Lee Li Choon: Introduction

This is an appeal against part of my decision given on 4 February 2015 on ancillary matters subsequent to a divorce. The appeal filed by the Defendant-wife is in relation to my order on the division of matrimonial assets and maintenance for the child of the marriage. The Plaintiff-husband and the Defendant-wife were married in Singapore on 20 March 2002. There is one child of the marriage and she is 9 years old now. The husband filed his writ for divorce on 15 May 2013. The wife filed her counterclaim for divorce as well. Interim Judgment pronouncing the dissolution of the marriage on the ground that both parties have behaved in such a way that the other party cannot reasonably be expected to continue to live with the party was granted on 19 November 2013.

The order on ancillary matters which is the subject of the appeal by the Defendant-wife is as follows: The Defendant’s share, title and interests in the matrimonial property situated at (address) shall be transferred to the Plaintiff upon the Plaintiff paying to the Defendant 20% of the net value of the said property quantified at $102,000 (rounded up) inclusive of a full refund with accrued interest to the Defendant’s CPF account within 6 months of the Final Judgment. In the event that the Plaintiff is unable to buy over the Defendant’s share in the matrimonial property as stipulated, the Plaintiff is to notify the Defendant within 3 months from the date hereof and the property shall then be sold in the open market before the expiry of 6 months from the date of the final judgment and the net sale proceeds after repayment of outstanding mortgage loan and deduction of expenses and costs related to sale, shall be divided 80% to the Plaintiff and 20% to the Defendant. Each party shall refund to his or her own CPF account CPF monies utilized towards the purchase of the said property including accrued interest from his or her share of the net sale proceeds. Each party shall retain all other assets in his or her own name. The Plaintiff shall pay to the Defendant $800 per month as reasonable maintenance for the only child of the marriage with effect from 15 Feb and thereafter on the 15th day of each month. In addition, the Plaintiff shall pay directly to the tuition centre for the child’s Chinese tuition as part of the child’s maintenance. The Plaintiff shall arrange for such Chinese tuition classes for the child. Payments shall be deposited into Defendant’s designated bank account (bank account number to be inserted).

My Decision

This is a marriage of 11 years up to the Interim Judgment. However, as the wife left the matrimonial home in 2011, it is effectively a marriage that lasted only 9 years. There is only one child from the marriage. She is now 9 years old.

The husband is now 43 years old and he works as a xxx with xxx. In his affidavit, he gave his fixed salary as $500 and he earns an additional income from commissions and allowances based on the number of training hours he has put in. For the year 2013, he managed to earn commissions and allowances of about $59,000 and this works out to be about $5,000 a month.

The wife is 42 years old. She is an Indonesian citizen and a Singapore PR. She runs her own interior design business under the company xxx in which she is named as the director. In her affidavit, the wife claims she is earning $4,000 a month. The husband maintains that as the sole shareholder and director of xxx, the wife takes all the profits from the company’s business and he believes her income is more than what she has declared. He pointed out that in any event, she had declared her income to be $5,000 in her application for interim maintenance.

On just and equitable division of the matrimonial assets Direct Financial Contribution

The main matrimonial asset is a condominium at xxx held in parties’ joint names. At the hearing, the net value of the property was stated by the husband to be $505,591.65. The husband’s estimated value of the property ($1,065,000) is based on transactions for a similar sized unit as shown on URA’s website. As this was a good basis for the estimated value of the property, for the purpose of the valuation of this asset, I have therefore accepted the net value as provided by the husband (taking into account the outstanding housing loan at $559,408.55.

It is not disputed that the monthly mortgage payment of $2,050.08 has been and is still being paid solely by the husband through his CPF account. With regard to parties’ direct financial contributions towards this property from their CPF monies, as of January 2015, the husband’s contribution was $244,055 from his CPF account (principal only and excluding accrued interest) and the wife’s contribution was $7.000 from her CPF account (also principal only without including accrued interest). Based on CPF contribution alone, 96.4% came from the husband and 3.5% came from the wife.

The wife maintained that in addition to her contribution from her CPF monies, she had contributed $12,000 towards the renovation. However, she did not adduce any evidence in support of her claim which is disputed by the husband. As for the husband, in addition to his CPF contribution, he also paid the 1% and 4% down-payment by cash which adds up to $39,000 ($7,800 plus $31,200) and he has provided documentary evidence to substantiate his claim. The husband maintained that he solely paid for the renovation of this matrimonial property and he produced cheque stubs and receipts and invoices to show for this. From the wife’s account, I believe that she did contribute in re-designing and re-fitting some of the furniture taken from their previous matrimonial flat at xxx for the present flat. However, it is evident to me that the husband was the one who paid for the bulk of the parties’ expenses incurred for the matrimonial flat, including the initial cash down-payment, renovation and moving expenses. If I were to include the cash payments made by the husband, the parties’ respective direct financial contribution is 2.4% from the wife and the rest from the husband.

Prior to the purchase of the present matrimonial property in xxx, the parties lived in a HDB flat at xxx. That matrimonial flat was sold in February 2008. The sale proceeds received from that matrimonial flat was $197,493.87. This amount of proceeds was not disputed. The husband gave an account of these sale proceeds. He said that the amount of $150,000 was deposited in a Phillip Futures account on 26 May 2008 for their joint investment. The account was managed and traded by a Taiwanese trader. The account was under the name of the...

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