TFH v TFI

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeLee Li Choon
Judgment Date25 August 2014
Neutral Citation[2014] SGDC 320
Citation[2014] SGDC 320
Docket NumberDivorce No. 1018 of 2013
Hearing Date25 June 2014,14 May 2014
Published date29 August 2014
Plaintiff CounselLee Li ChoonDistrict Judge
District Judge Lee Li Choon: Introduction

This is an appeal against my decision on ancillary matters subsequent to a divorce given on 25 June 2014. The Plaintiff-husband and the Defendant-wife were married in China in 1992. There are three children from the marriage – two daughters and a son. The eldest daughter was just past 21 years of age at the time of my decision. The second daughter is now 18 years old and the youngest child, a boy, is 13 years old.

Interim judgment was granted on 12 September 2013 on both the Plaintiff’s claim and the Defendant’s counterclaim of unreasonable behaviour of the other. The order on ancillary matters that I gave is as follows: On Division of Matrimonial Assets The matrimonial flat (at address) shall be sold in the open market within six (6) months after the Final Judgment or within such extended period as the parties may agree. The net sale proceeds after deducting the mortgage loan, costs and expenses related to the sale including sales agents’ commission, shall be divided 40% to the Plaintiff and 60% to the Defendant. Each party shall refund all CPF monies utilized by him/her towards the purchase of the said flat including accrued interest from his/her respective share of the above net proceeds. Each party shall retain all other assets in his or her sole name. On the children The Plaintiff and the Defendant shall have joint custody of the children of the marriage with care and control to the Plaintiff. The Defendant shall have reasonable access to the children and the Defendant is to arrange with the children directly for such access. (iii) On maintenance for the Defendant There shall be no maintenance for the Defendant.

This is an appeal against the whole of my decision.

Background Facts

This is a marriage of about 21 years from the date of the marriage to the date of the grant of Interim Judgment. There are 3 children from the marriage. The eldest is past 21 years of age. Of the two minor children, one is 19 years old and the other is 13 years old. The Plaintiff is 52 years old and he works as a supervisor in an engineering company earning about $3,800 gross a month. The Defendant is 46 years old and since October 2012, she has been working as a part-time assistant at a food stall earning about $1,100 a month.

Parties were married in China in 1992. After the marriage, the Defendant came to Singapore to work. The Plaintiff and the two older children continued to live in China until late 1997 when the Plaintiff came to Singapore to join the Defendant. The two children remained in China and were looked after by their paternal grandmother. In 2000, the two older children also came to Singapore to be with the parties. The eldest daughter was then 7 years old and the younger daughter was 5 years old. The youngest boy was born in Singapore in 2000. From the evidence, it seems that prior to October 2012, from about 1998 or at least from the time the children came to Singapore in 2000, to October 2012, the Defendant was not working.

Parties’ present matrimonial flat is a jointly owned 4-room HDB flat bought by the parties in 2000. Prior to this flat, the Defendant had a flat in her sole name which she sold in 2000, just before parties moved into the present 4-room flat.

My Decision On custody, care and control and access for the children

The Plaintiff says that all 3 children have expressed their wish to go with him. In support of this claim, he exhibited three handwritten notes, one from each child, in his affidavits. The Defendant says the youngest child is still in need of care and she initially asked for care and control of the youngest child only but changed her mind subsequently to ask for care and control of the youngest boy and the second daughter. I decided to interview the children as their wishes is one thing that I shall have regard to, subject to the overall consideration of what would be in their welfare which is the paramount consideration (see section 125(2)(b) of the Women’s Charter Cap 353).

From the interview and from the Plaintiff’s evidence, I am satisfied that the children are closer to the Plaintiff than they are to the Defendant and that the Plaintiff appears more involved in their lives than the Defendant. For instance, it is the Plaintiff who would cook for them occasionally. On most days, the eldest child and the...

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