Maintenance provided by the husband to the wife is extremely common but is it always the case? In 2016, the law has recognized that an incapacitated husband may also receive maintenance from his wife.
This change was made to strike a balance of Singapore’s societal development whereby there has been an increase in dual-income families as well as a rising number of wives being the main breadwinner.
What must the husband prove in order to get maintenance?
The courts would be slow to order for maintenance to be given to the husband unless he is:
- Incapacitated before or during the course of the marriage (mental or physical)
- Unable to maintain himself
- Continues to be unable to maintain himself
The incapacity must be one proven medically and not one of choice. What this means is that if the husband is able to work but chooses not to work due to his own personal reasons, the court would not be satisfied that he is incapacitated.
Husband is a house husband. This was an agreement between the parties. Does this entitle him to maintenance from the wife?
As alluded, the courts are less concerned about the couples’ agreement as to who shall be the one working and who shall be the one taking care of the family when deciding whether the husband is eligible for maintenance.
The sole determining factor as to whether maintenance would be granted to the husband is whether he is incapacitated, resulting him in an inability to maintain himself.
Having said that, the fact that there was an agreement between parties could possibly be a factor the court considers when it comes to division of assets.
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What determines the quantum of the maintenance?
The decision as to the quantum may be agreed between the parties or decided by the Judge upon considering these factors:
- Financial needs of the husband
- Earning capacity of the wife
- Age of both the husband and the wife
- Duration of the marriage
- Contribution (direct and indirect) to the marriage
These factors are non-exhaustive as the courts may consider other relevant factors applicable to the particular marriage.
What documents must the husband provide to the court to aid in the assessment of the quantum of maintenance?
The usual documents required to aid the court in determining the quantum include:
- Medical report of the husband proving the extent of the incapacity
- Medical receipts of the husband (if any)
- List of monthly personal expenses
- Documents evidencing any debts
- Receipts for personal, household and children’s expenses
- Salary slips of both parties (if any)
- Any other document that may be relevant
How long will the husband receive the maintenance?
The period of maintenance would depend on the factual matrix of each case. If the order for maintenance is for a lump sum payment, then the maintenance would be one-off.