If you are married and your husband refuses to provide you with reasonable maintenance, you can apply for a maintenance order to be made against your husband.
Step 1: Application for maintenance order
In order to make an application, you must bring along your identity card and a copy of your marriage certificate to the Family Justice Courts.
As the person making the application, you are the “complainant” while your husband is the “respondent”.
After you submit application, you must swear/ affirm your complaint before a Magistrate or District Judge (that is, to confirm that the contents in your application form are true and accurate).
Subsequently, a summons will be issued to your husband, after your payment of a nominal fee for the issuance of the summons.
Step 2: Service of the summons
Your husband will receive a letter informing him to accept the summons at the Maintenance Registry of the Family Justice Courts on a stipulated date (service date) and time.
If he fails to show up, he will be served the summons by the Court’s process server his home/ workplace. He will be informed to attend Court on a stipulated day.
On the service date, you will be able to engage in mediation with your husband.
In the mediation process, parties are able to communicate openly with each other and explore possible options through the assistance of a neutral mediator who will facilitate the discussion.
If you manage to reach a settlement, the settlement will be recorded as a Court order and the case concludes.
Otherwise, the case will be mentioned in Court 1 of the Family Justice Courts.
Step 3: Court mentions
Mentions are short administrative hearings which usually last no more than 10 minutes.
The Court will give directions for you and your husband to file and exchange affidavits (sworn/ affirmed factual statements). The following documents are to be exhibited in your affidavits:
1. List of monthly personal expenses and supporting receipts.
2. Pay slips.
3. IRAS Notices of Assessments.
4. Bank and CPF statements.
5. Documents evidencing debts (if any).
Your respective lawyers will be able to assist in the preparation of affidavits.
Trial date(s) will be given at the last mention.
If you do not have a lawyer, you would need to attend every Court date (including service date and mentions). Otherwise, your application may be struck out. If you have a lawyer, your attendance at mentions may be dispensed with.
If you are the respondent husband and you do not turn up on any mention date, the Court may issue a Warrant of Arrest against you. Similarly, your attendance at mentions may be dispensed with if you have a lawyer.
Step 4: Trial
Finally, the Court will make the necessary orders after a trial. If you are dissatisfied with the Court’s decision, you may appeal to the High Court.
Your family lawyer can assist by:
1. Advising you on the strength of your case (if you wish to make/ resist an application for a maintenance order).
2. Representing you in all proceedings in your/ your wife’s application for a maintenance order.
3. Drafting and filing the documents required by the Court, including your affidavits.
4. Representing you in negotiations with the other party, mediation sessions and in Court for trial and mentions.
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