JudgeDarryl Soh
Judgment Date19 January 2023
Neutral Citation[2023] SGFC 2
CourtFamily Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberDivorce 2820 of 2019
Published date28 January 2023
Hearing Date16 September 2022,07 July 2022
Plaintiff CounselLawrence Tan Wei Chieh and Gopalakrishnan Dinagaran (M/s Prestige Legal LLP)
Defendant CounselHaridas Vasantha Devi (M/s Silver International Chambers LLC)
Subject MatterFamily law,Ancillary matters,Division of matrimonial assets,Maintenance of wife,Maintenance of children
Citation[2023] SGFC 2
District Judge Darryl Soh: Introduction

This matter concerns acrimonious proceedings on ancillary reliefs arising from divorce proceedings between the Plaintiff-Wife (“Wife”) and the Defendant-Husband (“Husband”) (collectively referred to as the “Parties”). The Parties had earlier arrived at consent orders for the care of their two children after divorce proceedings commenced in 2019. One has since become an adult and the remaining child will turn 21 in the second quarter of 2023. Only financial issues remained to be adjudicated – the division of matrimonial assets, maintenance for the Wife, and maintenance for the minor child. Orders were made on 16 September 2022 and both Parties subsequently appealed. The Wife is appealing against the whole of my decision and the Husband is appealing against part of my decision relating to the division of matrimonial assets. In these grounds, I explain my decision on the adjudicated issues in greater detail.

Background Facts and Consent Orders

The Parties were married in June 1998, and they have two sons. The marriage was registered in India and solemnised by way of a traditional temple wedding. The Wife is in her mid-40s. She was primarily a homemaker throughout the marriage, working only sporadically between 2001 – 2013.1 The Husband is in his 50s. He is an educator, and he ran a private tuition business in the past.2

The Wife commenced divorce proceedings against the Husband on 14 June 2019. According to her, the Parties’ marriage started to break down shortly after their marriage. Amongst other things, the Wife accused the Husband of being emotionally unsupportive and failed to provide for her adequately. The Husband subsequently filed a counterclaim against the Wife on 19 August 2019. Amongst other things, he accused the Wife of turning hostile against him and failed to support him in the course of his employment or when he was grappling with health issues. Both Parties prayed for their marriage to be dissolved on account that the opposing party had behaved in a way that each cannot reasonably be expected to live with the opposing party.

The divorce proceeded on an uncontested basis on both the claim and counterclaim. The marriage was dissolved, with Interim Judgment entered on 30 January 2020. During mediation thereafter, the Parties agreed on final care orders in respect of the two children and interim maintenance orders pending the full adjudication of the dispute. Their agreement was recorded as consent orders on 19 February 2020. The Parties agreed to having joint custody of the children, with the Wife having care and control and the Husband having reasonable access. The Parties also agreed for the Husband to provide the Wife with interim supplemental maintenance of $1,000.00 monthly for herself and the two children, and for the Husband to continue to pay for several of the Wife’s insurance premiums for a prescribed period.

Orders Made and Appeals

The Parties filed the following affidavits in respect of the ancillary reliefs: Wife’s Affidavit of Assets and Means filed on 11 May 2021 (“WAOM”); Husband’s Affidavit of Assets and Means filed on 11 May 2021 (“HAOM”); Husband’s 2nd Ancillary Matters Affidavit filed on 25 December 2021 (“H2AM”); Wife’s 2nd Ancillary Matters Affidavit filed on 13 January 2022 (“W2AM”); Husband’s 3rd Ancillary Matters Affidavit filed on 12 May 2022 (“H3AM”); Wife’s 3rd Ancillary Matters Affidavit filed on 30 May 2022 (“W3AM”); and Husband’s 4th Ancillary Matters Affidavit filed on 10 June 2022 (“H4AM”);

For completeness and for the avoidance of doubt, additional affidavits were filed by the Parties’ respective witnesses for specific issues. I will refer to those affidavits below only where they are relevant and material to my decision.

Having considered the Parties’ evidence and submissions, I ordered the pool of matrimonial assets be divided in the ratio of 56:44 in favour of the Husband, no maintenance for the Wife, and monthly maintenance of $300.00 for the minor child for several months until he turns 21. On 21 September 2022, the Wife filed a Notice of Appeal against the whole my decision. On 28 September 2022, the Husband filed a Notice of Appeal against my decision relating to (a) the size of the pool of matrimonial assets wherein I excluded several pieces of gold jewellery, and (b) the final division ratio.

Division of Matrimonial Assets Pool of Matrimonial Assets Uncontested Matrimonial Assets

The gross value of the pool of matrimonial assets that were uncontested stood at $4,164,898.40:

S/No Description Value
Joint Assets
1. Matrimonial Home $3,300,000.00
2. Malaysia Property $119,741.10
Sub-Total $3,419,741.10
Wife’s Assets
3. POSB Account ending 6167 $161.91
4. HDFC Account ending 3869 $31.03
5. OCBC Account ending 3599 $194.40
6. CPF Ordinary Account $4,973.62
7. CPF Special Account $2,351.12
8. CPF Medisave Account $2,125.05
9. AIA Policy ending 7533 $34,417.75
10. AIA Policy ending 6238 $5,945.04
11. AIA Policy ending 1932 $0.00
12. AIA Policy ending 3405 $0.00
13. AIA Policy ending 3741 $0.00
14. AIA Policy ending 1201 $672.73
15. AIA Policy ending 5503 $0.00
Sub-Total $50,872.65
Husband’s Assets
16. UOB Account ending 8570 $0.00
17. OCBC Account ending 2487 $91.55
18. POSB Account ending 0690 $2,917.06
19. Citibank Account ending 1883 $0.00
20. UOB Account ending 8156 $2,775.55
21. UOB Fixed Deposit Account ending 7450 $0.00
22. UOB Account ending 1097 $330.00
23. ICICI Account ending 571 $810.94
24. ICICI Account ending 1721 $766.15
25. CPF Ordinary Account $66,212.56
26. CPF Medisave Account $60,930.05
27. CPF Special Account $218,901.43
28. AIA Policy ending 5726 $108,682.49
29. AIA Policy ending 7708 $35,372.34
30. AIA Policy ending 7661 $16,887.46
31. AIA Policy ending 6181 $0.00
32. AIA Policy ending 1945 $0.00
33. AIA Policy ending 6241 $8,266.73
34. AIA Policy ending 2260 $16,240.61
35. AIA Policy ending 3434 $0.00
36. AIA Policy ending 9772 $1,855.89
37. AIA Policy ending 4829 $397.88
38. AIA Policy ending 7027 $1,432.42
39. AIA Policy ending 3089 $0.00
40. NTUC Policy ending 9273 $0.00
41. NTUC Policy ending 0076 $0.00
42. AIA Policy ending 8815 $57,198.54
43. AIA Policy ending 0838 $15,540.00
44. Great Eastern Policy ending 0772 $0.00
45. Motor Vehicle $78,675.00
Sub-Total $694,284.65
Total Gross Value of the Uncontested Pool of Matrimonial Assets $4,164,898.40
Disputed Matrimonial Assets
Wife’s South India Property

The Wife owned an empty plot of land in South India valued at $22,000.00. Whilst there was no dispute on the ownership and ascribed value of the property, the Parties could not agree whether it was a matrimonial asset. The Wife submitted that it was not a matrimonial asset. She averred that she inherited the property from her father in September 2019 and the Parties never used it as a matrimonial property.3 No documentary proof was adduced in support. In contrast, the Husband submitted that it was a matrimonial asset. He argued that it was transferred by the Wife’s father to her, that the Wife and her family constructed a house on the land between 2006 and 2009, and that her family resides there.4 The Husband claimed that the Wife sent the moneys she collected from the Husband’s tuition business to her family in India for the construction of the house.

The Wife bore the burden of proving that the South India property was inherited from her father. There was however no documentary evidence adduced which could either prove or corroborate her claim that the said property was inherited. The Husband took one step further when he produced photos supposedly of a house under construction, directly contradicting the Wife’s claim that it was a bare plot of land. Since the Wife came into ownership of the South India property during the pendency of the marriage (i.e. September 2019) and because she could not satisfy her burden of proof that the property was inherited, I added the property to the pool of matrimonial assets for division.

Wife’s Undisclosed India Property

The Husband submitted that the Wife owned an undisclosed additional property in India comprising two plots of land which she purchased on 10 March 2008 using his funds.5 He asked the court to draw an adverse inference against the Wife for her failure to disclose that property. In support, title deeds of the property bearing the Wife’s name, identity number, and address were exhibited by the Husband. The Husband claimed that the land was worth 5,03,992 Indian Rupees in 2008 and would be three or four times the purchase value by now. The Wife denied that she owns the alleged property, but if she did, she submitted that the property has no value.6

I found the Wife’s position to be unsustainable. There are title deeds documenting her purchase of the property and there is, at a minimum, a face value of the property on the title deeds depicting its purchase price. The Wife failed to make full and frank disclosure of this asset and I consequently drew an adverse inference against her.

Wife’s Gold Jewellery

The Husband sought to include gold jewellery that the Wife possessed to be included in...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT