B.P. from Maryland wrote in to The Moneyologist Column recently, saying that his wife of 21 years wants to divorce him and that she wants everything in their savings account.
B.P. does not earn as much as his wife and wants to stay in their family home.
According to B.P., the facts are as follows:
- B.P. and his wife own a home with 9 years’ worth of mortgage loan to serve.
- They have a joint savings account with a large sum of readily available cash for emergency and their children’s school fees, including university fees and living expenses for their son. They also planned to use the money in the savings account if one of them loses his/ her job.
- B.P.’s wife earns more than him.
Proposals from the wife
B.P.’s wife proposes:
- To use all the savings in the joint account for her own apartment;
- That she shall continue to pay the mortgage on their current home;
- That B.P. pays fully for all household expenses; and
- B.P.’s wife would pay half of their son’s university expenses.
Concerns of B.P.
B.P. is concerned that he may lose his job and have nothing to fall back on. Further, he is only 3 years away from retirement.
See: Quentin Fottrell, “My wife is divorcing me after 21 years- and wants everything in our savings account”, Market Watch, 4 December 2016
Divorce property settlement Singapore
Before we go into division of matrimonial assets in Singapore, we need to define matrimonial assets. In brief, matrimonial assets in Singapore are assets acquired in the course of the marriage, excluding gifts to one party and inheritance.
See: Section 112 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)
As such, if B.P.’s case were to happen in Singapore, he and his wife need to think about division of their matrimonial home and the joint savings account.
Divorce property settlement Singapore is mainly determined by the direct financial, indirect financial and non-financial contributions of the parties. All contributions will be taken into account.
B.P. has genuine cause of concerns. It appears that his wife wants to take away most of the assets, leaving him a promise that she shall continue to pay for his mortgage. Given that B.P. is close to his retirement age, should his wife be unable to fulfil her promise, it may be difficult for him to keep up with the mortgage payments.
An alternative would be for the couple to divide assets and use whatever they receive to pay for their homes. A downgrade may be essential.
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