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VXM v VXN [2021] SGHCF 37

Outcome: Appeal allowed in part.

Facts

1 The Husband appealed against the District Judge’s orders for him to pay backdated interim maintenance for the Wife and the Children, pending the finalisation of the divorce. One of the Husband’s claims on appeal was that he had indeed provided maintenance for the Wife and the Children. The Wife had withdrawn a lump sum from her joint account with the Husband when she moved out of the matrimonial home earlier. Another issue to be decided was whether the Husband had to pay for the Wife’s rental expenses, as he claimed that she unilaterally moved out with the children and that the costs of the new accommodation were unreasonable.

Court’s Decision:

2 The interim maintenance order was set aside on the basis that the Husband had not entirely refused to provide maintenance for the Wife and Children. However, the Husband was ordered to pay S$9,500.00 per month (to be deducted from the lump sum withdrawn by the Wife from parties’ joint account) for the interim accommodation expenses of the Wife and Children.

3 A spouse must show neglect or refusal by the other spouse to pay maintenance in one’s application for interim maintenance. A spouse is not entitled to refuse to use the funds they have access to and then claim that the other spouse entirely neglected to provide reasonable maintenance: at [6] and [9] to [10].

4 Parties may use what would be matrimonial assets for daily, run-of-the-mill family expenses. They will need to account for such expenses, and cannot spend substantially without the consent of the other spouse. At an interim stage of divorce, the court does not have the means to make a full investigation of the parties’ financial needs and lifestyles, and such examinations should be made at the Ancillary Matters hearing instead. Both parties are expected to conduct themselves reasonably throughout the divorce process: at [8] and [12] to [14].

5 The provision of maintenance also includes the provision of reasonable accommodation expenses. It is not unreasonable for one to move out of a matrimonial home following a breakdown of the marriage, and one is not required to move back to one’s parents’ home to save costs: at [17] to [19].

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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