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Lock Yeng Fun v Chua Hock Chye [2007] SGCA 33

Outcome: Appeal allowed in part


1 The Wife appealed against the High Court Judge’s decision to divide the matrimonial assets in the proportion of 60% to the Husband and 40% to the Wife, as well as on the issue of maintenance.

Court’s Decision:

2 The Court of Appeal allowed the Wife’s appeal on the issue of division of matrimonial assets, such that the matrimonial assets fell to be divided equally between the parties. The Court of Appeal also rescinded the maintenance order made by the High Court Judge.

3 The division of matrimonial assets under s 112 of the Women’s Charter is not a precise mathematical exercise. The court’s discretion is to be exercised in broad strokes and all relevant circumstances should be assessed objectively and holistically. The focus is on achieving a fair and reasonable division: at [33] and [34].

4 An appellate court should not interfere with a trial judge’s exercise of discretion except in very exceptional circumstances: at [36].

5 While non-financial contributions to the marriage such as homemaking, parenting and husbandry are difficult to measure in precise financial terms, sufficient recognition should be accorded to such factors in awarding a spouse his or her just and equitable share of the matrimonial assets which corresponds to his or her contributions: at [39].

6 Equality of division is not the starting point or the norm in the division of matrimonial assets. Instead, the court’s focus is on achieving a just and equitable division of matrimonial assets based on the specific facts of each case, as required under s 112(1) of the Women’s Charter. Nevertheless, the court will order an equal division of matrimonial assets if the facts justify such a decision: at [50] to [55] and [57] to [58].

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.

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