Understanding the Division of Matrimonial Assets in Singapore


When a marriage comes to an end in Singapore, one crucial aspect that requires close attention is the division of matrimonial assets.

When a marriage comes to an end in Singapore, one crucial aspect that requires close attention is the division of matrimonial assets.

The division is not solely about who earned more or who paid for what. The courts employ the principle of ‘Just & Equitable’, as required pursuant to Section 112(1) of the Women’s Charter 1961.

Direct vs. Indirect Contributions

To be clear, the division is not based solely on direct financial contributions, such as mortgage payments or asset acquisitions. Indirect contributions (both financial and non-financial) from parties also play an equally pivotal role.

Indirect contributions could be in the form of taking care of the children, financially improving a marital asset, playing a role in the family business, managing household chores, or even overseeing household expenses.

These tasks, though not monetary, can have significant value in the eyes of the court as they contribute towards a harmonious and productive domestic environment.

Read more: Homemaker Wife’s Contribution in the Division of Matrimonial Assets

Guidance on Matrimonial Assets with GJC Lawyers

At GJC Law, our lawyers can help you gauge the scope of your marital assets and each party’s contribution. Our approach is methodically designed to sketch a clear and comprehensive financial picture, ensuring that every detail, big or small, is considered, providing clarity and confidence in each step of the process.

Asset Identification

: What assets are under both or either of your names?

Asset Valuation

: Can you provide a current market value or estimate for each of these assets?

Direct Contributions

: Have you made any direct financial payments or investments towards these assets?

Indirect Contributions

: Beyond money, how have you contributed towards the appreciation or maintenance of these assets?

HDB Flat Considerations

: If you have a HDB flat as a matrimonial asset, it’s crucial to understand the stipulations of the Housing and Development Board. Have you checked with HDB on the possible methods of disposition, such as sale or transfer to the other party? Upon divorce, do you still fulfil the HDB Eligibility requirements?

CPF Refund

: If an asset is sold or transferred, especially in the case of HDB flats, are there any refunds due to your Central Provident Fund account?

Mortgage Details

: It’s essential to know the outstanding mortgage amount, be it with HDB or with banks, as it can play a role in determining asset division.

Existing Debts

: Apart from assets, do you have any liabilities or debts that need consideration?

Bankruptcy Status

: Your financial status can influence the division. Are you a bankrupt?

Third-Party Interests

: Sometimes, properties might have external interests. Is there any third party, such as a family member, who has a stake or share in your property?


: Are there any Trust Deeds/agreements involved which would affect the division of the matrimonial asset?

Read more: What are Matrimonial Assets? Factors Influencing Division of Matrimonial Assets

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a direct contribution?

In Singapore divorce proceedings, a direct contribution refers to the direct financial contributions made by either party towards acquiring, and the initial maintaining, or improving the matrimonial assets.

This can include contributions towards the purchase price of the matrimonial home, the payment of the mortgage, initial renovations, or other financial investments into properties and assets considered part of the matrimonial pool.

Essentially, direct contributions can be quantified in monetary terms and are directly related to the acquisition or enhancement of matrimonial assets.

What is an indirect contribution?

Indirect contributions refer to financial and non-financial contributions made by either party that have benefited the family unit or contributed to the preservation or appreciation of matrimonial assets, even if not in monetary terms. These contributions can include:

  • Financial Payments towards the Matrimonial Home: This includes payment for household utilities, conservancy charges, etc.
  • Homemaking and Household Duties: This includes activities like cleaning, cooking, and general maintenance of the home.
  • Childcare: Raising, nurturing, and taking care of the children, including their education, moral upbringing, and attending to their daily needs.
  • Supporting the Spouse: If one spouse has helped the other in their career or business by providing moral support, advice, or any form of assistance, it can be considered an indirect contribution.
  • Non-financial Contributions to a Family Business: This might include roles that don’t involve direct financial input, such as managerial roles, administrative tasks, or any other support roles.

Read more: Indirect Contributions in Matrimonial Assets

Can assets acquired before marriage be considered as matrimonial assets?

Yes, assets acquired before the marriage can be considered matrimonial assets if they have been used for the benefit of both spouses and their children or if they have been substantially improved during the marriage by either spouse or both.

Read more: Matrimonial Assets before Marriage

How are joint bank accounts treated during a Singapore divorce?

Joint accounts, such as bank accounts, like other matrimonial assets, will be subject to division based on the principle of “just and equitable” distribution. Both direct financial contributions and indirect contributions will be considered. Therefore, it would be essential to provide evidence of who contributed to the account and how the funds were used to determine a fair division.

Read more: What Happens to my Personal Bank Account in a Divorce?

What if spouse disposed of matrimonial assets before the divorce proceedings?

If you have evidence that your spouse has intentionally dissipated/disposed of matrimonial assets to prevent the other spouse from getting their fair share, you will need to disclose the said evidence to Court. The Court might take that into account and include the said amount when dividing the remaining assets.

It’s crucial to provide evidence of such disposals, as the court may order compensation or adjust the division of other assets accordingly.

Read more: How to Prevent my Spouse from Dissipating Assets During a Divorce?

Are gifts or inheritances received during the marriage considered matrimonial assets?

Generally, gifts or inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage are not considered matrimonial assets unless they are used for the benefit of both spouses or their children, or if they have been substantially improved during the marriage by either or both parties, or if they have co-mingled with the remaining matrimonial assets. If they meet these criteria, they could be subject to division during the divorce proceedings.

Read more: Gifts In The Division Of Matrimonial Assets

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