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TOT v TOU [2021] SGHC(A) 9

Outcome: Appeal allowed in part.

Facts

1 The Wife and Husband filed cross-appeals against the High Court Judge’s decision on various ancillary matters following their divorce. The key issues on appeal were the division of matrimonial assets, the nominal maintenance for the ex-wife, and the costs of the proceedings below.

Court’s Decision:

2 The Wife’s appeal against the final contributions ratio of 50:50 arrived at by the High Court Judge was allowed, and the Appellate Division imposed a final contributions ratio of 50.5:49.5. The appeals by both parties on the issues of nominal maintenance and costs were dismissed.

3 The courts are not entitled to further adjust the parties’ average ratios after applying the framework in ANJ v ANK [2015] SGCA 34 (“ANJ framework”), for the sole purpose of reaching an equal or a more equal division between the parties. When applying the ANJ framework, the Judge would have had already considered all the relevant factors under s 112 of the Women’s Charter 1961, including the length and dual-income nature of the marriage, as well as the presence of children: at [16] and [17].

4 Relevant considerations in determining whether substantive maintenance should be ordered and its quantum include the numerous financial responsibilities of the maintenance-paying party, the receipt of substantial sums from the division of matrimonial assets by the maintenance-receiving party, and the real possibility of the maintenance-receiving party’s inability to secure employment in the future. Nominal maintenance preserves the maintenance-receiving spouse’s right to apply for substantive maintenance in the future, such as in the event of the maintenance-receiving spouse’s persistent unemployment: at [25], [26] and [28].

5 The costs of ancillary matter hearings lie well within the discretion of the first instance judge, unless there is a compelling reason for the appellate court’s interference: at [30].

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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