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Ong Boon Huat Samuel v Chan Mei Lan Kristine [2007] SGCA 19

Outcome: Appeal allowed


1 The Husband appealed against the Hight Court Judge’s decision wherein the High Court Judge had affirmed the lower court’s inclusion of two properties (one of which was the matrimonial home) in the matrimonial pool, and reduced the Wife’s share of the net total value of the two properties. The Husband’s main argument was that the investment property which was not the matrimonial home (“Malvern Springs”), should not be included in the pool of matrimonial assets to be divided.

Court’s Decision:

2 The Court of Appeal allowed the Husband’s appeal and excluded Malvern Springs from division, in view of the Wife’s position all along that she was to have no part in the purchase of and liabilities associated with Malvern Springs. The Court of Appeal also varied the orders relating to the sale of the matrimonial home.

3 The court’s power to divide matrimonial assets is a discretionary one (evident from s 112(1) and s 112(2) of the Women’s Charter). While an asset acquired during the marriage may technically fall within the definition of a matrimonial asset under s 112(10) of the Women’s Charter, it is not mandatory for the court to exercise its powers of division under s 112 of the Women’s Charter. The court may generally decline to do so where a valid reason is given: at [25] and [26].

4 In a short and childless marriage, the matrimonial assets will usually be divided in accordance with parties’ direct financial contributions, as non-financial contributions will be minimal: at [28].

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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