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CLT v CLS [2021] SGHCF 29

Outcome: Orders made.  

Facts

1 The High Court dealt with the ancillary matters following the divorce of the parties in this case. The main area of dispute concerned the division of matrimonial assets falling under s 112 of the Women’s Charter 1961. One of the issues include how an inter-spousal gift during marriage ought to be treated.  

Court’s Decision:

2 The general position is that interspousal gifts of assets which do not originate from a third-party gift or inheritance are not gifts for the purposes of s 112(10) of the Women’s Charter 1961, and therefore constitute matrimonial assets for division. However, the nature and context of the gift could be taken into consideration when the court decides on a just and equitable division between the parties. The court can award the spouse who received the gift with a greater percentage, if it would be clearly inequitable for the gift-giving spouse to be awarded with a substantial share. Where the gift-giving spouse clearly intended to permanently renounce his or her beneficial interest in the asset transferred, he/she may be estopped from claiming any share in the asset: at [44] and [45].  

3 The court may exercise its discretion to exclude de minimis inter-spousal gift. What is considered de minimis is dependent on not only the value of the assets concerned but also the assets’ relative value compared to the pool of matrimonial assets as a whole. The court gave an example of a case where the High Court decided to exclude a jewellery even if worth approximately $250k to $500k because the total size of the pool of matrimonial assets in that case was about $68.9 million: at [46].

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.

2022/07/22

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