In a divorce, the Court will make orders regarding the division of assets.
In a simplified uncontested divorce, parties will arrive at an agreement on the division of assets along with any child issues and/or other financial issues.
However, where there is no agreement, the division of assets often becomes a point of contention.
Whether you have filed for a divorce or are contemplating getting a divorce, it is important to have an idea of what you are entitled to and what courts look at when making orders on the financial matters.
Your rights related to matrimonial assets
Section 112(10) of the Women’s Charter defines matrimonial assets as assets that were acquired by either party during the marriage. The matrimonial home will also typically be regarded as a matrimonial asset.
When ordering the division of matrimonial assets, the courts will typically consider:
- The contributions made by each party in terms of cash contribution and effort made in acquiring, maintaining, or improving the assets
- Any debt incurred by either party for the benefit of the family or any child of the marriage
- Contributions made by each party toward the welfare of the family
- Any assistance or support provided by one party to enable the other to perform their professional duties
- The duration of the marriage (generally, indirect contributions factor more heavily in longer marriages)
- The needs of the children of the marriage
- Any agreement between parties with respect to the ownership and division of the matrimonial assets made in contemplation of divorce
The Court will then order a just and equitable division of the matrimonial assets. This may be done through a division of any matrimonial asset or through the sale of any such asset and a division between the parties of the resulting sale proceeds.
Who gets ownership of the HDB flat?
A party may wish to retain the HDB flat jointly owned by parties in their sole name post-divorce. However, retaining a HDB flat may depend on the following:
- Whether parties have fulfilled the MOP (Minimum Occupation Period).
- That party’s financial ability to buy over the spouse’s share of the flat.
- That party’s financial ability to bear any HDB/housing loan repayments.
- That party’s age – one typically needs to be above 35 years of age to retain a flat in their sole name.
- Whether that party is able to form a family nucleus, whether it be with a child of whom they have care and control, or some other family member.
- the age of the parties
- the length of the marriage
- the parties’ income, earning capacity, and financial resources, both present and future
- any physical or mental disability of the parties
- the standard of living enjoyed by the family during the marriage
- contributions made by each parties towards the welfare of the family
If neither party is able to retain the flat, the flat may have to be sold on the open market or surrendered to HDB.
Spousal maintenance may be ordered by the court if one party lacks the means to support themselves after the divorce.
In Singapore, while it is assumed that only women are able to claim maintenance in a divorce, the legislation has changed to allow incapacitated men to claim for maintenance from their wives.
In determining the quantum of maintenance to be awarded, the court will consider:
Get expert help
The legal principles relating to maintenance and the division of matrimonial home and matrimonial assets may seem complex and confusing. Having an experienced family lawyer, such as GJC Law, on your side will help you receive what you are entitled to and safeguard your interests.