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.

Teo Hoon Ping v Tan Lay Ying Angeline [2009] SGHC 244

Outcome: Appeal dismissed


1 The Husband appealed against the District Judge’s decision to allow the Wife’s application for divorce on the basis that the Husband had acted in such a way that the Wife could not reasonably be expected to live with him. 

Court’s Decision:

2 The object behind s 95(6) of the Women’s Charter is to encourage estranged parties to attempt reconciliation. The party considering divorce can return to try living with the other party for up to six months. If reconciliation fails, the party considering divorce can still seek divorce on the ground of intolerable behaviour, but the other party cannot rely on this period of living together as evidence that his or her behaviour was not intolerable: at [17] and [18].

3 The focus of the analysis of whether the defendant has behaved in such a way that the plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her, should be on whether the defendant’s behaviour was so unreasonable that the union has become impossible, rather than on any consideration of blameworthiness: at [36] and [38].

4 The reason behind a defendant’s behaviour is a relevant factor in determining whether the defendant has acted in such a way that the plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to live with the defendant. The fact that the defendant cannot be blamed for his behaviour should not be a bar to a finding that is in favour of a plaintiff under s 95(3)(b) of the Women’s Charter. The weight to be placed on this factor depends on circumstances such as the nature and severity of the defendant’s mental illness, the kind of treatment suffered by the plaintiff, and the strength of the causative link between the defendant’s illness and the behaviour which he or she has inflicted on the plaintiff. In particular, the strength of the causative link is a determinative factor – the judge is entitled not to place any weight on the factor if the causative link between the defendant’s behaviour and his or her illness is weak or non-existent: at [46].

5 Although the District Judge did not consider the Husband’s alleged depression in determining if it was reasonable for the Wife to continue living with him, his finding that the Husband had acted unreasonably was based on the disrespectful manner in which the Husband had treated the Wife throughout the marriage. The Husband’s medical reports did not suggest that his malicious comments had any causative link to his depression, and the District Judge was entitled to place little or no weight on the Husband’s depression when considering if he had acted in such a way that the Wife could no longer reasonably be expected to continue living with him: at [49] to [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.
Subject Matters: Divorce - facts

Share this page: