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AYM v AYL and another appeal [2014] SGCA 46

Outcome: Appeal allowed in part


1 This appeal concerned the variation of terms of a maintenance agreement which was recorded in a consent order.

Court’s Decision:

2 Section 119 of the Women’s Charter (Cap 353, 2009 Rev Ed) (“WC”) provides that the court may vary agreements for maintenance where it is satisfied that there has been a material change in the circumstances. The circumstances in question must be those prevailing at the time the agreement for maintenance was entered into. The material changes, which any party seeking to vary an agreement for maintenance must show, therefore relate to those circumstances: at [14].

3 Section 73 of the WC provides that any agreement relating to maintenance may be varied where the court is satisfied that it is reasonable and for the welfare of the child to do so. The provision is wide enough to encompass a material change in the circumstances of the parents as a basis for varying the maintenance for the child: at [16].

4 A lump sum payment allows for a clean break in the marriage and should be availed of whenever feasible. It is also appropriate where there is reason to believe that defaults in payments may be likely. However, lump sum payment should not be ordered if it would cripple the paying party financially: at [18].

5 The eventual sale of the matrimonial property at a higher price than expected and the windfall that arose from the sale justified a reduction in the agreed quantum of maintenance since the Wife would be in a better position to provide for herself and the children as a result of this windfall: at [29].

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.
Subject Matters: Variation applications

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