sg-crest A Singapore Government Agency Website
Official website links end with
Secure websites use HTTPS
Look for a lock () or https:// as an added precaution. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

AXM v AXO [2014] SGCA 13

Outcome: Appeal allowed


1 The question before the Court of Appeal was whether a court may backdate a maintenance order made under s 113(b) of the Women’s Charter (“final maintenance order”) such that it overlapped with an earlier maintenance order made under s 113(a) of the Women’s Charter (“interim maintenance order”). The High Court Judge had affirmed the District Judge’s (“DJ”) decision to backdate the commencement of the final maintenance order by ten months.

Court’s Decision:

2 The Court of Appeal substituted the DJ’s final maintenance order with an order for the Husband to pay to the Wife monthly maintenance of A$4,500 for 30 months from April 2012 to October 2014, and subsequently A$5,500 per month.

3 An interim maintenance order made under s 113(a) of the Women’s Charter is only interim or provisional in its duration of operation, to tide the former wife over the course of the divorce proceedings. It is conclusive in determining parties’ financial relations, and operates until the determination of the ancillary matters, and where the judgment for divorce has been made final. The amount stated in the interim maintenance order does not bind the court at the final ancillary matters stage: at [17], [20], and [38].

4 Interim and final maintenance orders differ only in when they are sought, and not in the nature of the orders themselves. Both types of maintenance orders operate with finality, and are binding on parties if not rescinded, terminated, or varied: at [19].

5 Interim or final maintenance orders made under s 113(a) or s 113(b) of the Women’s Charter can only be rescinded or varied: (a) upon successful appeal; or (b) by way of s 118 of the Women’s Charter if the order was based on misrepresentation or mistake of fact, or where there has been material change in the circumstances. However, an interim maintenance order cannot be varied or rescinded under s 118 of the Women’s Charter if a final maintenance order has subsequently been made, as there would no longer be any subsisting order to vary or rescind: at [25] to [29] and [42].

6 The above principles similarly apply to maintenance orders for children made under s 127 of the Women’s Charter. The power to vary or rescind a maintenance order for children under s 72 of the Women’s Charter is not limited to situations of misrepresentation, mistake or fact, or material change of circumstances, but such broader scope may not lead to any practical difference: at [33], [34], and [43].

The full text of the decision can be found here.

This summary is provided to assist the public to have a better understanding of the Court’s judgment. It is not intended to be a substitute for the reasons of the Court. All numbers in bold font and square brackets refer to the corresponding paragraph numbers in the Court’s judgment.

Share this page: