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.

George Sapooran Singh v Gordip d/o MD Garsingh [2016] SGHC 197

Outcome: Orders made


1 The Husband applied to rescind an order for him to pay maintenance to his Wife from his first marriage on the basis on his inability to continue working, as he was caregiver to his second wife and diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Court’s Decision:
2 Under s 118 of the Women’s Charter, one of the three grounds to vary or rescind an existing order for maintenance is a material change in circumstances. Generally, the circumstances in question must be those prevailing at the time of the original order for maintenance: at [9] and [27].

3 The applicant had the burden of establishing a material change in the circumstances. Cogent and persuasive evidence was required to justify the variation of a maintenance order under s 118: at [33].

4 Remarriage is not a free pass to avoiding pre-existing financial obligations owed to one’s family from a previous marriage. Remarriage, by itself, should not affect or compromise pre-existing obligations owed by a husband to the wife and children from his previous marriage. However, the husband’s fresh financial commitments to his new family due to remarriage could be a factor affecting whether there has been a material change in circumstances. A new balance must be struck between competing demands of the husband’s earlier and present family: at [39].

5 As the husband assumed commitments to his new family in the context of pre-existing obligations to his earlier family, whether the husband’s conduct in assuming the new obligations and the amounts involved are reasonable depend on: (a) reasonableness of commitments assumed, bearing in mind his pre-existing obligations to the family from his previous marriage; (b) whether him and his new family have explored and exhausted all reasonable solutions for him to perform his obligations to both families; and (c) financial circumstances and needs of the family from his previous marriage. It would not be reasonable for the husband to expect sacrifices from his earlier family without corresponding adjustments by his new family, to refuse reducing his own expenses to even out the finances, or to assume liabilities not prudent or necessary given his pre-existing obligations: at [40].

6 The Husband’s refusal to work and unwillingness to require his second wife’s adult children to contribute or contribute more was unreasonable. The Wife required maintenance, and there was no material change in the circumstances in this case for a rescission of maintenance. However, parties were free to apply in the future if the circumstances changed materially: at [50] and [51].

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: