How is maintenance awarded when parties go through a divorce?
In Singapore, according to Section 113 of the Women’s charter, the court may order the husband to pay maintenance to his wife/ex-wife either during granting or subsequent to the grant of a judgement of divorce, judicial separation or nullity of marriage. There is no need to file for a divorce before applying for the maintenance.
The court has the discretion to decide on the quantum of maintenance required to be paid to the wife/ex-wife, taking into account all the facts of the case.
Section 114 of the Charter lists out the factors that the court will consider. These include:
- The salary and earning capacity of each party in the past, present and future
- The financial needs and obligations of each party in the future
- The standard of living of each party before the marriage broke down
- The age of both parties and how long they were married for
- Any direct and indirect contributions made by each party to the household
- Any losses suffered by each party as a result of their marriage
What if the wife/ex-wife earns more than the husband?
However, where the wife/ex-wife is earning more than the husband, the court will take this into consideration and may be reluctant to order the husband to pay maintenance.
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How is it paid?
Maintenance can be paid in either a lump sum, or in periodic payment.
What if the husband refuses to pay maintenance?
If the maintenance is ordered, but is not paid, the wife/ex-wife may recover the arrears by filling an enforcement application to the Family Court. Please consult a lawyer.
Period of maintenance
In Singapore, usually the period of maintenance will last until the death of the wife or the wife remarries.
For a more detailed explanation on spousal maintenance, please refer to our Spousal Maintenance in Singapore blog.