Wong Wai Leng Laura @ Yow Wai Leng Laura v Yap Thiam Nguan

JudgeHamidah Bte Ibrahim
Judgment Date16 November 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGDC 46
Citation[2000] SGDC 46
Published date19 September 2003
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)



1. The parties were marries on the 2/11/1985 at the Singapore marriage registry. There is child to the marriage, a son aged 12. A decree nisi dissolving the marriage was granted on 20/04/1999 on the wife’s petition that the marriage had broken down irretrievably because the parties had been living separately and apart for 4 years. The issues on custody, maintenance for the wife and child and the division of matrimonial assets were adjourned to be heard in chambers.

2. There were heard before me on the 25/8/2000 and I made the following orders:-

    1) Petitioner is granted sole custody, care and control of the only child of the marriage, namly, N, (m) born on 2/11/1988 with reasonable access to the Respondent.

    2) Respondent is ordered to pay $1,100 per month as maintenance for the child of the marriage wef 1/05/2000 and thereafter on the 1st of each month.

    3) Payment into a bank account to be designated by the Petitioner.

    4) Respondent is ordered to pay lump sum maintenance of $85,000 to the Petitioner.

    5) Said sum is to be paid from his share of the proceeds of sale of 61, Taman Bedok.

    6) Respondent to transfer all his rights, title and interest in

    #03-08, 26, Bayshore Road, The Bayshore, Tower 1A, Singapore 469972 to the Petitioner upon the Petitioner paying to the Respondent the sum of $22,396.22

    7) Said sum to be taken into account when Respondent makes payment of lump sum maintenance as ordered in para 4.

    8) That the Respondent transfers the Singapore Swimming Club membership No. Y359 to the Petitioner.

    9) Liberty to apply.

3. The husband has now appealed only against paragraphs 2,4 and 8 of the above order. He is also praying, in his notice of appeal, for a half-share of the proceeds of sale of a property known as #09-B1, Ava Towers.

4. The parties separated on the 5/12/1994 when the husband left the matrimonial home. At that time, they were living with the wife’s parents at No. 61, Taman Bedok. This property i.e.at no. 61, Taman Bedok which was their matrimonial home, is jointly owned by the parties and the wife’s mother, Mdm Tan Lye Gek. Upon a direction of the court that the mother’s share in the matrimonial property had to be determined in the High Court, the husband took out originating summons no. 1634/1999. This was sensibly resolved by the parties and by an order of court (made with the consent of all the parties including the mother) it was ordered that the property is to be sold in the open market with the nett sale proceeds to be divided equally. The wife and her mother were also granted the first option to purchase the husband’s share at market value.

5. Prior to the divorce proceedings, the High Court had in originating summons No. 681 of 1995, instituted by the wife, on the ordered that parties have joint custody of their only child with care and control to the wife and that the husband be ordered to pay $900 per month as maintenance for the son. The son had in fact been under the care and control of the wife since the couple lived separately and apart from the 5/12/1994.

6. At the hearing of the ancillaries, the wife sought sole custody, care and control of the son and maintenance at $1,500 per month for him. (As the husband is not appealing against the order for sole custody made in favour of the wife, this grounds of decision will not dwell on this issue). The wife said that her monthly expenses for the son amounted to $2,929.96. When the sum of $900 was ordered in June 1996, the son was only 7 years of age and attending primary one. As he is now in Primary 6 and older, his expenses have increased tremendously. She found it difficult to manage on the husband’s contribution of $900. Her current monthly salary as a principal of a before and after school student-care service operated by her church was only $2,449 and inadequate to supplement and meet the child’s growing expenses.

7. The husband disputed the wife’s tabulation of the expenses for the son. His estimate was that the son only required $690 per month. As such, not only was he not prepared to carry on with the maintenance order made by the High Court in the sum of $900, he now proposed to offer $345 as maintenance for the son. At the time when the order for $900 was made, the husband was employed as a manager with Pidemco Land Pte. Ltd. earning $4,560 per month. In July, 1998 he resigned from Pidemco Land. His last drawn salary was $5,064 and he claimed that he was still unemployed.

8. While the wife had inflated the child’s expenses to some extent, I find that the husband’s estimate that his 12 year old son only required $690 per month was unrealistic and totally unreasonable for the child. The husband failed to factor in and take into account not only the tuition fees, fees for student after care but the costs of providing a home for the son incurred by the wife. It is amazing that he was contented with the order of court at $900 for a 7 year old boy but now quibbled and suggested that $345 is enough for a 12 year old boy.

9. While the husband claimed that he was unemployed, I find this hard to believe. Firstly, he should not have resigned form a job which paid him $5,000 per month without securing employment which would offer him the same salary, if not more. Secondly, if he had done so, I can only conclude that he must have been fairly confident that he could sustain himself and fulfil his financial obligations under the order of court....

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