How does the Court make a decision on division of matrimonial assets in Singapore?
Under Section 112 of the Women’s Charter, the Family Justice Courts have the power to order division of matrimonial assets. The Court needs to consider the following factors:
- Financial contributions made by each party towards the acquisition of assets;
- Needs of children;
- Indirect contributions made by each party towards the welfare of the family;
- Agreement made by parties in relation to the division of matrimonial assets made in contemplation of divorce;
- Assistance given by one party to the other in support of his/ her career;
- Rent-free occupation enjoyed by one party in relation to the matrimonial home; and
- Debts taken by one party for their joint benefit or for the benefit of the child.
In recent years, cases such as ANJ v ANK  SGCA 34 and TNL v TNK and another appeal and another matter  SGCA 15 have provided further guidance on the mechanism behind division of matrimonial assets in Singapore. While it appears that contributions (financial and indirect) are important considerations when the Court deliberates on the division of matrimonial assets in Singapore, other factors listed in Section 112 of the Women’s Charter cannot be taken lightly.
For instance, while a couple are together and happy, it is common for them to undertake debts and obligations to support each other. These factors may also affect the division of matrimonial assets in Singapore.
It was reported earlier that a 52-year-old man allegedly became a loan shark in order to repay the debts owed by his wife. The man pleaded guilty to 10 charges under the Moneylenders Act. In his mitigation plea, the man’s lawyer told the Court that the man’s wife was a gambling addict and he was forced to become a loan shark in order to pay off her debts.
See: CK Tan, “Man desperate to pay of wife’s gambling debts forks out $70,000 – to become loan shark”, Asia One, 14 December 2017
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