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UYQ v UYP [2020] SGCA 3

Outcome: Appeal allowed


1 The Wife appealed against the High Court Judge’s decision to adjust the ratio of division of matrimonial assets by 7.5% to 60:40 in favour of the Wife, from the initial average ratio of 67.5:32.5 in favour of the Wife arrived at through application of the structured approach in ANJ v ANK [2015] SGCA 34 (“ANJ structured approach”).

Court’s Decision:

2 The Court of Appeal allowed the Wife’s appeal, and affirmed the initial 67.5:32.5 division reached by the High Court Judge (rounded off to 67:33 in favour of the Wife), as it was of the view that there was no need to make further adjustments given that the High Court Judge had already taken into account the factors in s 112(2) of the Women’s Charter in arriving at the initial division.

3 Rules and principles, particularly in the family law field, are not set in stone. Due to the nature of marriage and the task of division of matrimonial assets, it would be obfuscating and futile for parties to dredge up every record of their marriage, and impossible for every detailed record of the marriage to be considered, particularly for long marriages: at [2].

4 A rigid, mechanistic, and overly-arithmetical application of the ANJ structured approach should be avoided, as doing so would be inconsistent with family justice aspirations of enabling harmonious resolution of disputes and for parties to continue their family life after divorce in the most dignified manner possible: at [3].

5 Parties should focus on the major details, rather than every possible detail which would serve to undermine their cases. Costs sanctions may be imposed in extreme situations where the court’s time and resources have been disproportionally wasted: at [4].

6 Although there may be inclination towards equal division of matrimonial assets in long dual-income marriages (the Court of Appeal did not rule conclusively on this point in the appeal), the precise facts and circumstances of the case have to be considered. It is paramount that courts do not merely focus on a direct and indirect contributions dichotomy in arriving at a just and equitable division of matrimonial assets: at [5].

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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