Custody, Assets and Maintenance
When couple divorce, conflicts dealing with children often cause stress and heated arguments. The emotional disruptions at home can cause sufferance to the children and will have lasting effect on them. The decision of adults to go their separate ways should impact as little as possible upon the child’s daily life.
To that, the courts grant rights to the parents that ensures the best arrangement for the child. Custody, Care & Control and Access refers to 3 different authorities given to the parents in a divorce.
The courts’ primary concern in granting the rights would be for the benefit for the child, which supersedes the preferences of the parents.
Custody refers to authority to make major decisions regarding the child, such as education, religion, healthcare matters etc.
The courts generally grant joint custody to both parents, which means that both parents are equally responsible for the child. Although the marriage has ended, the parenthood is a life time commitment. The presence of both parents is crucial for the child’s wholesome development and a joint custody ensures that both parents can be equally involved in the child’s life.
Care & Control refers to the day-to-day decisions. The child would live with and care for by the parent with the care & control.
Access refers to visitation rights, where the parent without the care and control would be given time periods to spend time with the child.
Our role as your lawyer is to help you understand your realistic options when deciding how best to look after any children during divorce and in the long run. They will be able to help you come to an agreement if there are disagreements, and give detailed information on the rights of both parents.
Upon a divorce, the matrimonial assets are to be divided between the parties. The overarching principle in the division of matrimonial assets, is to reach a just and equitable
outcome, with no bias for or against any gender.
S112(10) of the Women’s Charter defines matrimonial assets as:
- • Assets which were ordinarily used or enjoyed by both parties or one or more of their children for various purposes;
- • Assets which has been substantially improved during the marriage by the other party or by both parties to the marriage; OR
- • Assets which were acquired during the marriage by one party or both parties to the marriage.
The exception is if you received the asset as a gift or part of an inheritance AND the asset did not improve substantially during the marriage.
Some examples of matrimonial assets are your matrimonial home, joint savings, CPF monies etc. In determining the division of the matrimonial assets, the courts would consider several factors, including each party’s financial contributions and non-financial contributions
to the assets, the need of the child, or any pre-nuptial agreement
to indicate parties’ expectations and intentions as to the division of matrimonial assets.
Financial contributions simply refer to monies used for the assets. Non-financial contributions refer to time spent taking care of the family, maintaining the property etc.
Maintenance – for Wife and for Children
Child support or child maintenance
is financial support that helps towards a child’s everyday living costs. Payment is made by the absent parent to the parent, caregiver or guardian, with whom the children live – the parent with residence.
Both parents are liable to maintain the child under law. The amount of financial support an absent parent should contribute for the welfare of any children varies widely as it is reliant on so many different factors. These include income, assets, age of the child, levels of savings, pension contributions, any special health needs the child has and any additional support already being given to support the home where the child lives.
Women’s Charter also empowers the court to order a man to pay maintenance to his wife or ex-wife.
Factors, pursuant to S114 of Women’s Charter, that could influence the maintenance amount includes:
- 1. The earning power of both parties, previously, currently and in the future.
- 2. The assets owned by either and both parties.
- 3. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of both parties in the future. (If the wife is awarded the care and control of the child, she would also need to bear the financial burden of raising the child, whilst the child would require maintenance too. Therefore, the husband may be ordered to pay for such sums.)
- 4. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the marriage broke down.
- 5. The age of the parties and the duration of the marriage.
- 6. The contributions made by each party to the family.
- 7. Any potential losses suffered by the parties as a result of the marriage.
With the new 2016 amendments to the Women’s Charter, husbands can apply for maintenance
if he is incapacitated by a physical or mental disability,
before or during the course of marriage, and as a result, unable to earning a living to support himself.
Ideally you should have child maintenance looked at and sorted out at the same time as spousal maintenance as part of agreeing a financial settlement.
At Yeo & Associates LLC, we offer a unique alternative to go to Court to reach agreement – Neutral Mediation.
This is one of the added value services at Yeo & Associates LLC. Neutral mediation is for you if you are seeking a cost-effective and time-saving way to complete your divorce and resolve family conflicts disputes without the stress and cost of a formal court proceeding. Yeo & Associates LLC enjoys excellent success rate in reaching an acceptable compromises with your spouse regarding property division, maintenance or child custody and access issues etc.
In some cases, you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse even with the help of a lawyer. The next step is to let the court deal with your matter and decide on your case. This is when costs can begin to escalate.
Yeo & Associates LLC is careful with the pricing of legal service and we pride ourselves as the “Ambassador of Affordability” and provider of high quality legal service.
For specific amounts, you must either reach an agreement between both parties amicably, often with the help of your divorce solicitor.
Prenuptial agreements are agreements, usually on the ancillary matters, entered by the spouses before their marriage. Although the Singapore Court of Appeal has upheld a prenuptial agreement in the seminal decision of TQ v TR  SGCA 6, the judges emphasized that not all prenuptial agreements are enforceable.
The Women’s Charter provisions for the ancillary matters would still prevails over the agreed terms of the pre-nuptial agreement. Especially for matters with regard to children, the courts would always put the child’s welfare and benefit above all else.
Nevertheless, a prenuptial agreement is still useful in indicating the intentions of the parties, which could taken into consideration by the courts in coming to a just and equitable decision. For instance, if the prenuptial agreement states that the wife shall not ask for any maintenance in exchange for an financial benefit, the court might uphold the term, so long as it is just and equitable in totality.