Tsai Michelle Nguyet v Lee Yong Lee

JudgeHamidah Bte Ibrahim
Judgment Date22 September 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGDC 40
Citation[2000] SGDC 40
Published date19 September 2003
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)



1. The parties were married on 2nd December 1995 in Fairfax County, State of Virginia, USA. The Petitioner (wife) is an American Citizen and a Permanent Resident of Singapore whilst the Respondent (husband) is a Singapore citizen. There are no children to this marriage. The marriage was dissolved on the 10th of December 1999 on the wife’s petition that the marriage had broken down irretrievably because of the unreasonable conduct on the part of the husband. The issues of the division of assets and maintenance for the Petitioner were adjourned to be heard in chambers.

2. These were heard before me on the 17th of May 2000 and at the conclusion of the hearing, I made the following orders :-

(a) the Respondent is ordered to pay lump sum maintenance of S$15,000 to the Petitioner;

(b) Payment is to be made within 4 weeks from the date of my order; and

(c) No order as to costs.

    The Petitioner wife has now appealed against the above orders.

3. The parties were married in the United States of America after having courted for some 5 years whilst pursuing their tertiary education at Purdue University. After their marriage, they returned to live in Singapore where they resided with the Respondent’s parents at the latter’s house at No 2 Saraca View, Singapore.

4. Within 3 months of the marriage, the Petitioner discovered that the Respondent had a more than platonic interest in another woman and worst still, that she had contracted herpes, presumably from the Respondent. In February 1996, the Respondent left his parents’ house and went to live in a rented apartment in Upper East Coast Road. In May 1996, the Respondent moved back to his parents’ house and in June 1996, he moved out again to live at No 26 Stratton Drive, another property belonging to his parents. He lived there alone until April 1997 when the Petitioner, who had until then been residing with the Respondent’s parents at No 2 Saraca View, moved in with him. She continued to reside with the Respondent at Stratton Drive until February 1998 when she moved out. The parties have been living separate and apart since then.

5. Neither party seriously disputes these dates and there is general consensus that the period the parties lived together as husband and wife did not amount, in total, to more than 14 months.

6. Shortly after their arrival in Singapore, both parties secured employment. The Petitioner initially worked as a Hospital Pharmacist at the Kandang Kerbau Hospital and later as a medical product specialist with Servier (S) Pte Ltd, a job she currently maintains. With commissions, she earns a gross monthly sum of approximately S$4,120.00 and takes home about S$3,555.00 per month. The Respondent was initially a Systems Engineer with Motorola Electronics Pte Ltd and subsequently became a Business Development Manager with Simoco Singapore Pte Ltd ("Simoco") where he currently draws a gross monthly salary of S$5,800.00.

7. In October 1996, whilst the parties were living apart, the Petitioner applied for maintenance. A consent order was made for the Respondent to pay to the Petitioner a monthly sum of S$450.00 with effect from 30th November 1996 vide MO 1128/96. Subsequently, even though she took out enforcement action against the Respondent, she withdrew her complaint against him. In September 1998, she gave him a sum of $2,000.

8. The serious problems that beset the marriage from its inception did not permit the parties to acquire any joint assets. Each party maintained and held his or her assets in his or her own name and continue to do so. Consequently, there are no matrimonial assets in this matter to speak of.

9. Both Counsel submitted that it would be appropriate in this matter to make a lump sum order for maintenance for the Petitioner. Counsel for the Petitioner urged me to award to the Petitioner a `global’ sum of S$150,000.00. On her part, Counsel for the Respondent submitted that an appropriate figure to make as a lump sum settlement on the...

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