Wong Pit Mei v Sim Yok Chin [2001] SGDC 63


Suit No:    RAS No 720001 of 2001, DP No 3117 of 1999

Decision Date:    28 Feb 2001

Court:    District Court

Coram:    Tan May Tee



Academy Digest 

Family Law Division of matrimonial property

Family Law Maintenance for wife after divorce

Facts – Parties registered their marriage on 24 January 1995 and celebrated the customary wedding in September 1995 – Their child, a boy, was born on 3 March 1996 In November 1999, the wife petitioned for divorce citing the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage by reason of the husbands behaviour such that she could not reasonably be expected to live with him Decree nisi was granted on 8 May 2000 with the ancillaries adjourned to chambers – At the ancillaries hearing, the issue of custody of the child and his maintenance was adjourned pending a welfare report – On the issue of division of matrimonial assets, the wife claimed that she should be given 75% of the sale proceeds after repayment of the outstanding loan to HDB with each party to refund to their CPF accounts the amounts utilised with interest – The husband submitted that he should be given 80% and the wife 20% on account of the larger financial contributions on his part towards the purchase of the flat, the renovations and the maintenance and upkeep of the family and the household On maintenance, the wife claimed a lump sum of $60,000 at $500 per month for 10 years The husband disputed the maintenance claim on the ground that the wife was capable of supporting herself whereas he was plagued with health problems and was unemployed – The wife was a factory worker until January 2000 when she became a part-time crew member at McDonalds in order to take care of the child The husband was a mechanic and a part-time taxi driver until he resigned his mechanics post in April 2000 He claimed that he had diabetes, piles and gastritis which prevented him from working full-time.

Held [1] – Both parties had paid towards the purchase of the flat from their CPF as well as the renovations – The wifes contribution was $48,253.00 whilst the husbands was $93,380.30 which worked out to be 34% from the wife and 66% from the husband The wife had fulfilled her role as mother and caregiver of the child The husbands financial contributions were greater but he had the exclusive occupation of the flat and would continue to do so until the flat was sold The husband had also received rental income from the flat Taking into account all the factors in section 112 of the Womens Charter, it was just and equitable that the flat be sold and the proceeds divided 40% to the wife and 60% to the husband after deduction of the outstanding loan and costs and expenses of the sale with each party to refund their respective CPF accounts [2] The husband had a higher earning capacity than the wife as shown by his income tax statements He had specialised skills as a mechanic He had not produced any evidence to show that he was medically unfit to work The wife should be able to arrange her schedule in order to work full-time instead of part-time A monthly maintenance was likely to exacerbate the acrimony between the parties Taking into account the factors listed in section 114 and in order to achieve a clean break, the husband was ordered to pay a lump sum maintenance of $18,000 computed at $150 per month for 10 years – The husband would be in a position to make payment of the lump sum from his share of the sale proceeds of the matrimonial flat.

Wong Pit Mei (m.w.) v Sim Yok Chin Grounds of decision delivered by District Judge Tan May Tee dated 28.2.2001 in Divorce Petition 3117/99 (RAS 720001/2001)

Ms S Y Lin (M/s Hoh & Partners) for the Petitioner

Mr Vijay Kumar Rai (M/s V K Rai & Partners) for the Respondent