Outcome: Orders made
1 The plaintiff Husband and the defendant Wife were married on 9 August 2002. The Husband left the matrimonial home on 20 March 2013 (“the date of separation”). The Wife then left for China sometime in the later part of 2013. She spent most of her time in China until the Husband filed for divorce in May 2017 based on the parties’ 4 years’ separation. She returned to Singapore to participate in these proceedings. One of the issues was whether the assets should be identified at the date of separation or the date of interim judgment (“IJ”).
2 The default date for the identification of assets is the IJ date. This is because the IJ puts an end to the marriage contract and indicates that the parties no longer intend to participate in the joint accumulation of matrimonial assets. Nevertheless, the court possesses the discretion to depart from that date in deserving cases, where they are cogent reasons to do so: at .
3 The mere fact that the parties made financial arrangements after the date of separation does not show that the marriage had not broken down by then. Those discussions were purely transactional. The quantum of the Husband’s income is also not relevant to the analysis. It may be relevant if the Husband had suddenly made a windfall after the date of separation, but it is not the case here: at .
4 The assets should be identified at the date of separation. While the IJ date is typically the date which puts an end to the marriage contract, the marriage had come to an end by the date of separation. The parties did not have children and the Wife returned to China shortly after the parties separated, where she lived and engaged in business ventures for several years before coming back to Singapore to participate in these proceedings: at  and .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.