Factors influencing division of matrimonial assets
Matrimonial assets comprise of all assets acquired during the course of the marriage by one or both parties. They can sometimes also include assets acquired before marriage if certain conditions are met such as having been substantially improved during the marriage by one or both parties. Some common types of assets that are put up for division include insurance, businesses, shares, CPF balances, savings, car and jewellery. Once the pool of matrimonial assets has been ascertained by the court, it then decides on a fair and equitable division of the assets.
The court will look at how much each party has directly contributed towards the assets. These would include documentary evidence of, for instance, the CPF account statement of the monies to show how much the party has paid towards the mortgage of the matrimonial property.
If there are any debts or obligations incurred by either party for their collective benefit or done in the interest of the children of the marriage, the court will consider them as a contributing factor in ascertaining the division of assets.
Indirect financial contributions are also taken into account. They refer to payments that are required for the maintenance of the asset such as renovations and utility bills for the matrimonial home and other household expenses.
Where non-financial contributions are concerned, the court will consider the role played by each party in taking care of the welfare of the family, which include caring for elderly, infirmed family members and dependents of either party. Homemakers thus do not need to feel prejudiced by their lack of financial contribution when acquiring part of the matrimonial asset. The support provided to the other party in pursuing his/her career will also be looked into.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreement terms
The couple may have entered into a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage or a postnuptial agreement during the marriage that stipulates the ownership and division of matrimonial assets in the case of a divorce. As such, the court will give such agreements due consideration.
It is imperative to note that the above factors are not exhaustive and that the court may consider other factors before arriving at a fair and equitable division of the matrimonial assets. Other factors can include matters relating to maintenance. You are recommended to seek an experienced divorce lawyer’s advice on these matters to better understand your financial position after your divorce.