An order for spousal maintenance is normally made as part of the final orders in ancillary matters in divorce proceedings. If parties are able to reach an agreement, the maintenance order can be made as part of the consent order. Otherwise, the Court will make a decision.
Forms of maintenance orders
1. No maintenance.
2. Nominal maintenance. For instance, the maintenance sum could be S$1.00 per year. Nominal maintenance preserves the right of the former wife to make an application for variation of the maintenance order if there is to be a material change in circumstances.
3. Lump sum maintenance. Where the former husband has the financial means, the Court may assess (a) the former wife’s monthly financial needs (“the multiplicand”) and (b) the number of months that the former husband ought to continue to provide for her (“the multiplier”). The lump sum is produced by the multiplication of the multiplicand by the multiplier.
4. Periodic maintenance.
Period of maintenance
In cases where lump sum maintenance is ordered, the order shall expire upon payment of the lump sum and the former wife will not be able to vary the maintenance order.
In cases where unsecured nominal or periodic maintenance is ordered, the order shall expire on the death of the former husband/ wife, or upon the remarriage of the former wife. If the maintenance is secured, the order shall expire upon the death of the former wife or her remarriage.
The maintenance order may expire at an earlier date if it is expressed to be for any shorter period.
Amount of maintenance
In determining the amount of maintenance to be paid, the Court shall consider all the circumstances of the case, including the following factors:
1. Income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which the parties have or are likely to have in the foreseeable future.
2. Financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which the parties have or are likely to have in the foreseeable future.
3. Standard of living of the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
4. The age of each party and the duration of the marriage.
5. Any disability of the parties.
6. Contributions made by each party to the marriage and to the family.
7. Value to which either party will lose the chance of acquiring as a result of the divorce/ annulment of the marriage.
The Court will consider financial preservation of the former wife so far as practicable and reasonable to do so.
Variation or rescission of maintenance order
Either the former wife or the former husband may apply to the Court to vary or rescind the maintenance order if there is a material change in circumstances or if the order was based on any misrepresentation or mistake of fact.
If the former husband refuses to pay the ordered maintenance, an application for enforcement can be filed in the Family Justice Courts. However, arrears of maintenance can only be recovered up to a period of 3 years prior to date when the enforcement action is filed.
See: Sections 113 to 121 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)
Your divorce lawyer can assist by:
1. Advising you on all issues involving maintenance of former wife.
2. Representing you in all proceedings relating to spousal maintenance, including enforcement and variation proceedings.
3. Drafting and filing the documents required by the Court in your divorce/ variation/ enforcement proceedings.
4. Representing you in negotiations with the other party, mediation sessions and in Court.
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