Wang Shi Huah Karen v Wong King Cheung Kevin

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeMichael Hwang JC
Judgment Date27 May 1992
Neutral Citation[1992] SGHC 138
Citation[1992] SGHC 138
Defendant CounselMargaret George (David Ong & Lim)
Plaintiff CounselSusanah Siaw (Adrienne Chew)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberDivorce Petition No 1305 of 1991
Date27 May 1992
Subject MatterWhether the court should 'incline towards equality',Division,Whether s 106(2) raised presumption of equality of division,Whether any significant non-financial contributions by petitioner,Matrimonial assets,Application of s 106 of the Women's Charter (Cap 353),Petitioner's proposal to forgo maintenance of no effect or consequence on order under s 106,Family Law,ss 106, 107 & 108(1)(a) Women's Charter (Cap 353)

This appeal is against the order I made on the petitioner`s ancillary application that the matrimonial property at 27 Shelford Road #03-01, Singapore (`the Shelford Road apartment` or `the property`) be sold and that the net proceeds of the sale be divided between the petitioner and respondent equally. After reviewing the affidavits and hearing arguments of both counsel, I made the following orders:

(1) The Shelford Road apartment be sold and the proceeds after paying the expenses of sale be applied as follows -

(a) in discharge of the outstanding mortgage loan from Credit POSB Pte Ltd (`Credit POSB`);

(b) in repayment to each party`s central provident fund (`CPF`) account of all sums withdrawn from such account and interest thereon as certified by the CPF Board; and

(c) the balance to be distributed between the parties in the ratio of 65% to the respondent and 35% to the petitioner.

(2) All expenses and outgoings for the Shelford Road apartment incurred as from the date of my orders be borne by the parties in the same proportions. (I subsequently clarified that this would include the monthly cash sums payable to Credit POSB to make up the difference between the aggregate monthly deductions from the parties` CPF accounts and the monthly instalments payable.)

(3) The parties be at liberty to apply.

The petitioner (whom I will call `the wife`) claimed a half share of the net proceeds of sale.
In his various affidavits, the respondent (whom I will call `the husband`) maintained that the net proceeds of sale should be divided in the ratio of 70% to himself and 30% to his wife.

The parties were married in September 1986 at the Singapore Marriage Reand thereafter, the husband moved into the wife`s family home.
At the end of 1987 differences arose and the wife left her parents` home, but the husband continued to stay with her parents until April 1989 when he moved into the Shelford Road apartment. He stayed there alone until February 1991 and then moved out. As at the date of the hearing, the property was vacant and a buyer was still being sought. The couple have no children.

The Shelford Road apartment was purchased by the couple as joint tenants before their registry marriage for $520,000 (although legal completion did not take place till the end of 1988).
A substantial loan was taken from Credit POSB and the balance was paid, partly by cash and partly by CPF funds contributed by both husband and wife, the husband contributing a greater amount than the wife.

Subsequently, the monthly instalments in repayment of the loan from Credit POSB were repaid by deductions from the CPF accounts of both the husband and the wife.
As the husband was earning a higher salary than the wife, his CPF deductions were greater than the wife`s. In addition, as the aggregate of their monthly CPF deductions could not make up the entire monthly instalment due, a cash supplement had to be paid each month. There was some dispute as to whether the cash supplements were entirely paid by the husband or whether the wife had made some cash contributions of her own. The husband maintained that the wife had contributed nothing towards the cash supplements, whereas the wife contended (with the support of some ambiguous evidence) that she had contributed about $20,000 towards the cash supplements.

At the end of the day, apart from the disputed $20,000, there was no dispute between the parties as to the amounts contributed by each party towards the purchase price.
As at the date of the hearing, on the wife`s version (ie taking into account the disputed $20,000), she had contributed 38% of the aggregate payments made towards the purchase price. On the husband`s version (ie excluding the disputed $20,000) she had paid 31%. The issue was slightly complicated by the question whether, in assessing the relevant contributions of each party, I ought to take into account the amounts paid by both parties towards the following items:

(a) maintenance contributions to the management corporation,

(b) property tax,

(c) Public Utilities Board bills,

(d) insurance, and

(e) renovations.

Since the time the Shelford Road apartment had been purchased, all of these items had been paid by the husband except for the Public Utilities Board bills, which had been paid by the wife through her GIRO account.
If these items were taken into account (and the actual figures were not in dispute), then, on the wife`s case (ie including the disputed $20,000) her contribution would have fallen to 35%, and on the husband`s version (ie excluding the disputed $20,000) her share would have fallen to 28.7%. The wife also contended that some regard should be given to the fact that the husband had lived in her parents` house for more than two years rent-free, and had then moved into the Shelford Road apartment, which he enjoyed to her exclusion for nearly two years rent-free. If the latter factor were not to be taken into account, she wanted to make a claim for rent.

Numerous other issues relating to the marriage were raised in the affidavits and in the course of submissions, but I will not refer to them as I did not consider them to be material in determining the issue before me.

Both counsel agreed that the matter had to be considered under s 106(1) and (2) of the Women`s Charter (Cap 353) (`the Charter`).
The wife`s counsel based her claim to equality on the presumed intention of the parties. She argued that the Shelford Road...

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3 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2004, December 2004
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