Divorce and Alimony
One of the most contentious areas in a divorce would be the issue of alimony. This is especially so if the dissolution of the marriage was not exactly cordial, which would then not make the husband entirely charitable to the fact that he has to contribute to the maintenance of his ex-wife.
He would not have much of a choice in the matter though. According to the Women’s Charter in Singapore, provision in family law requires a man to pay the upkeep of his former wife.
However, before the court decides on the actual amount to be allocated, there are certain criteria the court will examine:
- Financial standing and earning capacity of both parties
- Assets owned by both parties
- The standard of living of the family during the marriage
- Age of both husband and wife and how many years they have been married
- Financial needs, obligations and responsibilities that the ex-wife may have after the divorce, in maintaining her new home and especially if she has custody and care of any children from the marriage, which the man must then also contribute to the support of said children
- If the ex-wife is gainfully employed, how much is her income, what are her earning capacity
The court, however, does expect that the ex-wife is reasonable in her demands. The court would also expect that she endeavours towards self sufficiency regardless of her employment situation during the marriage. The amount adjudicated will also be dependent on how much she received from the division of matrimonial assets.
Ability of the Husband to Provide Maintenance for the Family
The court will also take into consideration the husband’s financial situation in allocating the maintenance sum. In most cases, the courts will order a monthly maintenance rather than one lump sum in order to be fair and reasonable to the husband.
Period of Maintenance
The period and terms of the alimony will be voided once the ex-wife remarries or either party dies.
Enforcement of Maintenance Order
Should the ex-husband neglect in his maintenance, the ex-wife can engage a lawyer to file an enforcement application to the Family Court to recover the arrears. Application of such arrears can only be claimed up to a period of 3 years.
The court also has the jurisdiction of instructing the ex-husband’s employers to pay the maintenance by way of deduction from his salary.
In cases of default, the court can, may its discretion, impose a fine or sentence the ex-husband to imprisonment for his negligence.