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 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.
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.