Mentioned in previous posts, divorce itself is a complicated process which requires a divorce lawyer in Singapore to guide you. But, nothing is more complicated than the division of property and finances between the spouses. The court is the whole and sole in determining who receives what.
In Women’s Charter, section 112(1) is there empowering the court to determine the division of assets between both the parties, when granting verdict on divorce, nullity of marriage or judicial separation. Division of assets is entirely based on the court’s unbiased and fair judgment.
So, if you’re living in Singapore and are going through the divorce process, you need to know what factors are considered by the court in dividing assets of divorce. But first, remember that the equitable and just division of asset does not imply to equal split.
- The court’s power unrestricted. If, for an initially loss making property, the wife has already disavowed liability by means of formal agreement or affidavit, she cannot claim her share if the property starts to give return in future. The court’s decision to deny her claim in matrimonial asset is justified on the ground that the spouse had not made any contribution is marriage whatsoever.
- The court does not hear matters over division of assets, unless the judgment for judicial separation, nullity of marriage or divorce has been pronounced. However, Chapter 4A(X) of Women’s charter permits application for financial relief if it involves foreign matrimonial proceedings.
According to section 112(10) of Women’s Charter, divisible matrimonial property can be defined as “Asset of any nature one or both parties have acquired during marriage”.
Conditions for matrimonial assets
- Asset acquired by either party prior to marriage is not a matrimonial asset unless it has been used ordinarily by both spouses or by any of the children. The purposes for which the asset has been used may include
- Shelter, or
- Transportation or
- For education,
- For household,
- For recreation
- For social or aesthetic reasons
- Asset acquired before marriage by one party can be termed as matrimonial asset if it has been improved substantially by both the parties or by other party. The other party, claiming a share in such asset, must prove his/her direct contributions in its improvement.
- Assets received by any party to the marriage in the form of gifts or inheritance, are not to be divided. There is no condition of time in it. In order to claim a share, other party must provide evidences that he or she contributed directly to improve that asset substantially.
Validity of Matrimonial Assets
- Gifts offered by third party are not treated as matrimonial assets. A claim, with evidences to substantial improvement may be an exception.
- Inter-spousal gifts are included in the list of matrimonial assets without any condition. These are gifts not received from third party or by means of inheritance.
- Inter-spousal re-gifts are not matrimonial assets regardless of a claim to substantial improvement. These are third party gifts, or inheritance, originally received by the donor spouse and he/she gifted it to other spouse.
- A gift which was made under an agreement in consideration of divorce can be excluded by the court from division, if the court finds it inequitable to divide.
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