Outcome: Appeal allowed in part.
1 The Husband appealed against the decision of the District Judge in the Ancillary Matters hearing of the divorce proceedings between him and the Wife. One of the issues on appeal relates to the date of valuation of the Flat, a Housing and Development Board (“HDB”) flat purchased in parties’ joint names. The Husband’s submitted that the date of valuation of the Flat should not be the Ancillary Matter hearing date (“AM date”), but the appeal hearing date. This was because the gross value of the Flat on the AM date would be its surrender value, which was lower than its market value, and the Husband would have to sell his share of the Flat to his wife at a discount.
2 Especially in a volatile market where prices do move up and down fairly rapidly, there should be certainty and finality. The party who, under the order on division of matrimonial assets, is given an immovable property would have to take it subject to all risks or vagaries of the market. Otherwise, it would only encourage relitigation at the appeal stage. Unless there are special circumstances or compelling reasons, the mere change in value of an asset between the date of the ancillary orders and that of the hearing of the appeal per se should not be a ground to revisit the division made by the court below: at .
3 The court observed that both the market value and surrender value of a flat is a speculation on the flat’s value when it is eligible for sale. The surrender value would only be an accurate estimate of the flat’s value if it is surrendered to the HDB. The market value of HDB properties similar to the Flat in this case was preferred to the Flat’s surrender value as the former was a more accurate indication of the real worth of the flat: at .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.