LE­GAL COR­NER

Fre­quently asked ques­tions on … SPOUSAL MAIN­TE­NANCE

Expat Living (Singapore) - - Life & Family -

In our reg­u­lar col­umn, the team from Con­sil­ium

Law Cor­po­ra­tion an­swers com­mon queries on a range of le­gal is­sues in Sin­ga­pore.

Why did the Fam­ily Court order me to pay my ex-wife $1 in main­te­nance ev­ery month rather than just not mak­ing a court order at all?

The prin­ci­ple be­hind award­ing $1 or nom­i­nal main­te­nance for a wife is to pre­serve the right of the wife to ap­ply for sub­stan­tive main­te­nance if the need for her to do so arises in the fu­ture. How­ever, as the Sin­ga­pore Court of Ap­peal has stated, nom­i­nal main­te­nance is not some­thing that is or­dered “au­to­mat­i­cally or as a mat­ter of course”. The Court would care­fully con­sider all the facts and cir­cum­stances of the case be­fore de­cid­ing whether or not to pre­serve a wife’s right.

The con­se­quences in not award­ing any main­te­nance are sig­nif­i­cant. If a Court re­jects an ap­pli­ca­tion for spousal main­te­nance, a wife will not be al­lowed to ap­ply for main­te­nance in fu­ture, even if she re­quires it.

My hus­band has served divorce pa­pers on me, and he’s seek­ing main­te­nance for him­self from me. Can he do so?

Pre­vi­ously, only women could ap­ply for main­te­nance from their former spouse. How­ever, fol­low­ing changes made to the Women’s Char­ter in 2016, a hus­band, or former hus­band, is now en­ti­tled to seek main­te­nance if, dur­ing the mar­riage, he was or be­came in­ca­pac­i­tated by any phys­i­cal or men­tal dis­abil­ity or ill­ness, re­sult­ing in his in­abil­ity to earn a liveli­hood and main­tain him­self.

What can I do if I have an order for main­te­nance against my ex-hus­band, but he still re­fuses to pay?

You can take steps to en­force the order. Or­ders made by the Court for en­force­ment may in­clude: An at­tach­ment of earn­ings order, di­rect­ing his em­ployer to make de­duc­tions from his salary in order to make pay­ment of main­te­nance owed. Gar­nishee or­ders against debts owed to him from third par­ties. Fine or im­pris­on­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion on divorce, visas and passes, contact Con­sil­ium at spencer@ con­sil­i­um­law.com. sg or cather­ine@ con­sil­i­um­law.com.sg.

Stam­ford Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional School re­cently launched a new in­fant care of­fer­ing at the Early Learn­ing Vil­lage for chil­dren aged two to 18 months. Choose from ei­ther a five­day, three-day or two-day (on re­quest) ar­range­ment. Each baby will have an in­di­vid­ual care pro­gramme and fam­i­lies are reg­u­larly up­dated of their child’s devel­op­ment through pho­tos, videos and text via on­line plat­form Sto­ry­park. sais.edu.sg

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