How does divorce property settlement in Singapore work?
Glenn Briers built his 10 million pounds fashion empire. 2.7 million pounds of his assets was recently awarded to his ex-wife, whom he divorced more than 10 years ago! What happened?
More than 10 years ago, he divorced his ex-wife, Nicola. At that point, his company was worth little more than 1 million pounds. Briers gave Nicola the 600,000 pounds family home and a salary of 10,000 pounds every year. He provided child maintenance for their children. He thought that was the end. Until early this year when Nicola was awarded 2.7 million pounds of his assets.
Briers and Nicola married in 1987. They have 2 children- a 29-year-old son and a 26-year-old daughter. Briers started his business in the year his son was born. By the time when their daughter came around, he was successful enough to lease a warehouse. In 2001, the couple separated. Briers bought a 119,000 pounds home a mile away from their family home but continued to pay the mortgage of their family home and gave his wife an annual salary of 10,000 pounds. 2 years later, Nicola asked for a divorce. The couple then had an agreement that she would get the family home and Briers would pay off the mortgage. In addition, Briers would continue paying her salary and child maintenance. An agreement was drawn up, but never signed.
Things remained amicable between him and his wife until 2012, when Briers started a new relationship. Nicola was angry that Briers was seeing someone else. She sent him a solicitor’s letter and eventually took him to Court.
The Court of Appeal judges ruled that Briers did not honestly disclose his assets to Nicola and she had not given her informed consent to the settlement. Further, a full and final settlement of the financial affairs was never concluded.
Eventually, Nicola was awarded 2.7 million pounds of Briers’ assets.
See: Rebecca Hardy, “How could a judge make me hand over 2.7 million pounds to my ex-wife 10 YEARS after we divorced? Glenn’s cautionary tale and a ruling that could have consequences for all divorced couples”, Daily Mail, 7 February 2017
Divorce property settlement in Singapore
What happens if parties do not have a divorce property settlement in Singapore?
Divorce in Singapore is a 2-stage process. In stage 1, the Family Justice Courts decide if there are sufficient grounds for divorce. If the answer is yes, an interim judgment is granted and the matter moves on to stage 2. The division of matrimonial assets is decided in stage 2. Briers’ case would not have happened in Singapore, because all issues relating to division of matrimonial assets would have been resolved by stage 2.
What happens if parties have a divorce property settlement in Singapore?
In such a case, the divorce will be a simplified one. Parties will sign on the agreement known as the “draft consent order”, which will be submitted to the Family Justice Courts. Parties will be deemed to have a divorce property settlement in Singapore and the Family Justice Courts will not be making any changes to the settlement terms.
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