You’ve given up a lot for the family.
And now that you’re getting a divorce, finances are an issue and you need a little help getting back on your feet.
Or maybe you’ve become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and it might be tough to sustain it now.
Unsure about your entitlement to maintenance and obligation to pay child maintenance after a divorce? Read more below to find out.
In Singapore, as long as you are a parent of a child under the age of 21, it is your legal duty to support your child in the form of child maintenance.
The duty remains whether you and your spouse are married, divorced or have remarried.
The Court will consider these factors according to section 69(4) of the Women’s Charter:
The Court will also look at the list of expenses of the child provided by both parents to determine the reasonable amount that the child requires monthly. If receipts have been kept as proof of the child’s expenses, the Court is more likely to adopt the amount provided as a true figure.
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The Court may order maintenance in the form of monthly payments, for one parent to solely maintain the child and/or lump sum payment in some cases.
If there has been a change in circumstances of the child according to the criteria mentioned above (for instance, the child has been enrolled for new enrichment classes), the Court can hear an application to vary the amount of maintenance.
Child maintenance involves all expenses for the child such as insurance, groceries, utilities, rental, telephone bills, medical, dental, school fees, tuition and enrichment classes etc.
Maintenance typically extends until the child turns 21 years old, but there are a few exceptions where it may extend beyond 21 years old. For example:
Child maintenance is usually dealt with as part of the divorce proceedings. Your application will be heard during the ancillary matters hearing, together with the issues of division of matrimonial home/assets, child’s custody, care and control, and access.
If you are intending to apply for child maintenance while remaining married, you can do that too. Just speak to our legal specialists to find out how.
In many cases, women choose to stop work to look after the children after they are married and they have not been in the workforce for many years. But many of these women hold degrees and diplomas.
The Court sees these women as still employable hence they may have a lower chance of receiving the same amount of maintenance which their spouses have provided them with during the marriage.
But does that mean they do not get maintenance?
A clean break means ending the financial ties between you and your spouse as soon as reasonably possible after your divorce.
To achieve a clean break, you and your spouse can choose not to go for nominal or monthly maintenance. Instead, you may wish to consider seeking a lump sum maintenance and/or higher division of matrimonial assets.
Importantly, the only way you can guarantee that your ex does not try to make financial claims against you in the future is to get a court order.
As much as it is a legal obligation to pay maintenance if so ordered, there are still many instances where ex-husbands refuse, fail, and neglect to pay due to their financial circumstances. What can you do to prevent this? Speak to our legal team to find out.
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The law states that maintenance covers “reasonable expenses”. This grey area has caused major disputes among couples.
But generally, it covers daily necessities like insurance, groceries, utilities, rental, telephone bills, medical, dental etc.
If you require more expenses such as travel and/or entertainment, you might need to justify the reason why. All expenses should also be substantiated with receipts.
Have you reminded him about it? If you tried and nothing was done, you can go to the Family Justice Courts and lodge a claim for enforcement of maintenance.
A divorce order usually states what date, how much, and into which account monthly maintenance should be paid.
You should bring along your NRIC, divorce orders (e.g. Interim Judgment, Order of Court, Final Judgment), bank statements as well as text messages when you head to the Family Justice Courts and/or to see your lawyer. The claim can be lodged by you or your lawyer.
The legal test is whether the receiving party can adjust without undue hardship.
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Spousal maintenance does not automatically end on cohabitation. Cohabitation is much more uncertain than marriage and cohabitants do not have the same financial claims against one another in the event of relationship breakdown.
The court might order a reduction in maintenance. This might be a more complex issue, so speak a specialist if you’re in such a situation.
No, maintenance is not taxable.
Many men feel that Singapore divorce law favours women.
However, since the revision of Section 113 of the Women’s Charter, ill or incapacitated husbands are eligible if they are:
Do note that men who are unemployed or house husbands cannot claim maintenance from their working wives.
For more information on divorce proceedings, spouse or child maintenance in Singapore, approach one of our trusted divorce lawyers.