JudgeGeraldine Kang
Judgment Date09 February 2017
Neutral Citation[2017] SGFC 18
Citation[2017] SGFC 18
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Published date15 February 2017
Docket NumberDivorce Suit No D1545/2016
Plaintiff CounselJason Chiang (Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP)
Defendant CounselShaun Ho (Harry Elias Partnership LLP)
Subject MatterLeave to extract final judgment before the resolution of ancillary matters
Hearing Date22 December 2016
District Judge Geraldine Kang: Brief Background

Parties were married on 20 November 2004 in Bermuda, and there are no children to their union.

The Plaintiff / Husband commenced divorce proceedings on 1 April 2016 on the basis of 4 years separation. On 3 May 2016, the Defendant / Wife filed her Defence and Counterclaim on the basis of the Husband’s unreasonable behaviour.

Pursuant to a successful mediation, parties were able to resolve the grounds of the divorce which was eventually granted by consent on their respective unreasonable behaviour. The Interim Judgement was granted on 13 September 2016 (“IJ”).

The Husband took out the present application to extract the Final Judgement on 25 October 2016, six weeks after the IJ was granted.

I dismissed the Husband’s application and ordered costs against him; he has since filed an appeal against my entire decision. I shall now set out my brief reasons.

Date Event
20 November 2004 Parties were married
February 2012 Husband moved out of matrimonial home
1 April 2016 Husband filed Writ for Divorce
3 May 2016 Wife filed Defence and Counterclaim
July – August 2016 Mediation
14 September 2016 IJ granted (By Consent)
25 October 2016 Husband filed present application to extract Final Judgement
26 October 2016 1st round of Affidavit of Assets and Means exchanged.
22 December 2016 Hearing and dismissal of the Husband’s Summons application
*May 2017 Estimated birth of the Husband’s child with his new partner

For ease of reference, the chronology of events and certain key events are set out in tabular form below.

The Husband’s Case

At the point of filing his application to extract the Final Judgement before the conclusion of the ancillary matters, the Husband’s arguments were two-fold: His new partner was expecting a child and he was desirous of legitimising the child. His father was unwell and he was desirous of marrying his new partner before his father passed on.

By the time the matter came up for hearing before myself, the Husband’s father had unfortunately passed on and consequentially, the only argument that he was able to put forth was the fact that he wanted to legitimise the birth of his child. To this end, he argued that the Wife would frustrate his desire to legitimise the birth of his child by deliberately prolonging the ancillary matters, and his child would be born out of wedlock and cited sociological concerns on the impact of the child.

On the other hand, the Husband contended that he had every intention to work towards a swift resolution of the ancillary matters as he wanted to purchase a bigger home to make provisions for his new partner and child; as well as his mother whom he intended to relocate to Singapore upon the demise of his father.

The Wife’s Case

Briefly, the Wife’s strenuous objection to the Husband’s application to extract the Final Judgement before the conclusion of the ancillary matters was her belief that this was a strategic move on the part of the Husband to gain leverage over her in respect of the division of matrimonial assets and her maintenance. The Wife argued that she was also in a financially weaker position that the Husband, and should the Husband’s application be granted, there would be no incentive for him to resolve their ancillaries amicably and expeditiously.

The Law

For ease of reference, the relevant statutory provisions are set out below.

Women’s Charter (Cap 353)

Section 99(1) (Cap 353) states:

Every judgement of divorce shall in the first instance be an interim judgement and shall not be made final before the expiration of 3 months from its grant unless the court by general or special order from time to time fixes a shorter period.

Section 123 (Cap 353) states: Subject to this section, the court shall not make any judgement of divorce or nullity of marriage or grant a judgement of judicial separation unless the court is satisfied as respects every child - arrangements have been made for the welfare of the child and that those arrangements are satisfactory or are the best that can be devised in the circumstances; or that is impracticable for the party or parties appearing before the court to make any such arrangements.

Family Justice Rules

The relevant extracts of Rules 96 are set out below: An application by a party to make an interim judgment pronounced in his favour may be made on any day after the expiration of the period fixed by the Court for making the judgment final.

An application referred to in paragraph (1) must not be made (a) before the hearing of all applications for ancillary relief has been concluded at first instance, without the leave of Court [.] Case...

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