JudgeSowaran Singh
Judgment Date29 February 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] SGFC 32
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberDivorce No. 2116 of 2013
Published date24 March 2016
Hearing Date19 February 2016
Plaintiff CounselMs. Lim Pheck Hoon Joan (M/s Legal Options LLC)
Defendant CounselMs. Yvonne Sweeny (M/s Gloria James-Civetta & Co)
Subject MatterFamily Law,ancillary hearing,division of matrimonial assets,maintenance.
Citation[2016] SGFC 32
District Judge Sowaran Singh: Background

The parties married on the 30 December 1978 in the United Kingdom (UK) and have two adult daughters from the union who are now 28 and 26 years old1. The Plaintiff (wife/mother) was described2 as being 57+ years old and the Defendant (husband/father) as being 56+ years of age. The husband is an administrator and the wife a counsellor3. The wife filed for a divorce on the 26 April 2013 based on the husband’s adultery with the Co-Defendant (CD). However, on the 19 May 2014 she filed an amended Statement of Claim (SOC) and an amended Statement of Particulars asking for the divorce on the ground of the husband’s unreasonable behaviour. On the 15 May 2014 the court granted Interim Judgement (IJ) on her amended claim and the ancillaries that were adjourned to Chambers came up for hearing on the 19 February 2016. After the IJ was granted and the parties had filed the 1st round of their respective Affidavits of Assets and Means but before the ancillary hearing there had been other applications filed by the parties. These included discovery4 applications and others that had been dealt with.

In her Statement of Particulars (Amendment No.1) (SOP) the wife recited that the husband was frequently at the CD’s home in the evenings and over the weekends. He had been paying the CD $3,000 a month in 2012 and sponsored the CD’s studies for a Master’s degree course which cost $32,000 and giving the CD an allowance of $1,200 a month during the 18 months duration of her course. He also admitted that he gave the CD $60,000 to support her studies. On the 19 November 2012 he sent an email to the CD to the effect that he missed her. He communicated with the CD into the early hours of the morning. The husband had admitted to using the services of social escorts as recently as November 2012. She was heart- broken and felt cheated and betrayed by the husband. She exhibited a copy of the Private Investigator‘s (PI) report dated the 25 March 2013.

The Summary of Relevant Information5 (Summary) and the Ancillary Matters Fact & Position Sheet6 (AM Fact Sheet) in Brief.

In her Summary the wife stated that as a counsellor her gross income was $6,684 a month and she asked for lump sum maintenance of $1.5 million. She valued the matrimonial home (“the home”) at $1.78 million. Her assets came up to some $850,124 and those of the husband to $1,916,915. Her liabilities were $1,631 + $17,000 for her Graduate Diploma course fees. The husband’s liabilities were $180,939. She wanted the home to be transferred to her with no consideration and 50% of their other assets. In his Summary the husband disclosed that his gross income was $16,800 a month. He offered no maintenance for the wife but mentioned that he was maintaining their elder daughter who was studying for her Post-Doctorate degree in the US by providing her with some $28,613 a year. He said that besides the home, the wife had some $1,000,527 as disclosed in her 1st AOM. The net value of his other assets (excluding the home which he valued at $1,638,643) would be about $1,428,721 that included another property at Edgedale Plains (“the other property”) that he valued at $291,3527. He wanted a 65% share of the home with 35% going to the wife. For the other assets he suggested that each retain what they had in their respective names.

In her AM Fact Sheet the wife stated that for the home she had paid a sum of $31,158 from her CPF (accrued interest was $33,444 and the total: $64,602) and another $28,000 in cash. The husband had paid $356,699 from his CPF8. She wanted the home awarded to her as she required a place to stay whereas the husband had a residence purchased in his sole (the other property). In the event the home was ordered to be sold, she asked for it to be divided equally with each party refunding their CPF accounts with such sums as were required to be refunded from their respective share. She wanted to retain all her other assets which amounted to some $849,100.61.She listed the husband’s other assets as being the sum of $1,072,284 and asked for a 50% share of these. In respect of the other property (which was still under construction) she asked for a 50% share of it. She valued it at $800,000 with an outstanding mortgage loan of $161,290 for which the husband paid a sum of $82,506 from his CPF and $101,085 in cash. On maintenance she asked for a monthly sum of $13,058 that were her total monthly expenses. The husband had been paying for all her household bills, credit card expenses and meals until she filed for the divorce when he reduced these and subsequently terminated them. Her credit card limit was reduced from $12,700 to $5,000 and then to $1,000. Her car was de-registered by the husband in August 2015 and he terminated her access to the Warren Club in November 2014.

In his AM Fact Sheet the husband stated that for the home the wife paid the sum of $31,158 from her CPF (accrued interest was $33,444) and $28,000 in cash. He paid from his CPF the sum of $358,749 (the accrued interest was $265,382) and $24,000 in cash. He listed out his other assets as being about $1,141,500 that he wished to retain. He listed out the wife’s assets as being a total of some $999,027 that she could also retain. His expenses were $12,711 a month and he spent $28,613 per year for their older daughter and $1,000 a month for the younger daughter (total: $40,613 a year). In addition he paid several sums monthly for the household including: $834 for the car loan; $73 for property tax; $135 for the Starhub phone bill; $500 for the Warren Gold and Country Club (“the Warren Club”); $1,032 for the quarterly management fees for the home; $768 for the cleaning contract for the home; $230 annually for the home insurance; $42 for the Singtel bill; $2,412 annually for NTUC IncomeShield insurance; $304+$260+$129+$288 annually for 4 other insurance policies; $95 for the car insurance; $140 for the Singapore Power bill; $380 for the housing loan repayment; $388 for the Robinson’s credit card; $1,299 for the annual road tax and $300 for groceries/food. On the maintenance for their daughters he paid 100% of their expenses and this status quo ought to be maintained. For the other property he had paid from his CPF a sum of $95,137 (the accrued interest was $7,326. Total: $102,464) and $101,085 in cash. It was valued at $800,000 and the outstanding mortgage loan stood at $508,647. This property had just been completed and he would be collecting the keys. He would pay for the renovations and furniture solely.

The Parties Affidavits of Assets and Means in Brief

In her first Affidavit of Assets & Means (1st AOM9) the wife declared that her assets came up to some $832,934 and her liabilities were $31,200 that included a sum of $8,400 for eye surgery, $9,000 for implants/braces, $6,800 for course fees and another $7,000 also for course fees. Her monthly expenses were listed as being $13,386. For the home she had paid apart from her CPF monies a cash sum of $28,000 (being about 10% of $280,000) for lawyer’s fees and estate agent’s fees. She listed out her indirect contributions (both financial and non-financial) in great detail10 including the following: -they got to know each other in secondary school in Ipoh in 1974. They both went to the UK for their studies. On 30 December 1978 they had a civil marriage there. Upon her graduation in mid-1979 they lived in London where the husband was studying and she was working. Her salary was deposited into their joint account. When the husband graduated he started working as well. In 1982 they purchased a small flat in London. When the husband was posted to HK, she stayed back for about 6 months to sell the flat before joining the husband in HK. She had to give up her UK job in order to relocate to HK. After 2 years in HK (she worked there as well) when the husband was relocated to Singapore, she again had to give up her job and for the relocation. In Singapore she was offered a job in one of the big banks. Throughout they had a joint account until the 1994 when the husband decided otherwise. In mid-1994 she gave up her job to take care of the children. -she took care of the children and in order to enhance her abilities to help the children she worked as a relief teacher from 1995 to 2002. -she took care of the home and trained the maids. -they had a happy marriage and she gave emotional support to the husband so that he could climb in his career. She trusted the husband with the matrimonial assets for him to provide for their daily needs and old age.

In his 1st AOM11 the husband declared that his total assets came to $3,555,558 which included the value of the home ($1,638,634) and his liabilities were $180,939. His expenses came up to some $12,711 a month. For the home he had paid as the initial capital, apart from his CPF funds, a cash sum of $24,000. For the other property he paid $82,506 from his CPF and $101,085 in cash. In respect of his indirect contributions he declared12 as follows: “To be provided in 2nd Affidavit”. He proposed that the home be divided with 35% going to the wife and each party to retain all their other assets. On maintenance he said that he would continue to support their older daughter who was studying for her PhD in the US with the sum of US$10,000 per quarter. He offered no maintenance for the wife. He had given the wife a sum of $100,000 from the sale of his AIG shares in early 2000 for the children’s education and this sum was still held by the wife. He had also given a loan of $32,000 to the CD.

In her 2nd AOM13 the wife pointed out that the husband had chosen not to include details of his indirect contributions in his 1st AOM and she believed he did so in order to “tailor his evidence” after reading her 1st AOM and to take an “unfair advantage”. She went on to add that she had trusted the husband in their long marriage and lived her life “dependent on him all...

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