3 Finance Questions To Ask Before a Divorce

Last updated on September 28, 2018

Featured image for the "3 Finance Questions To Ask Before a Divorce" article. It features a couple agreeing to a divorce with divison of assets and money.

Parties to a divorce are impacted financially in two primary ways:

  1. The division of their matrimonial assets
  2. The order for maintenance payments that the court may make.

In each, the law sets out provisions that the court is required to take into consideration.

1. What Assets are Considered Matrimonial Property?

Matrimonial property includes the following:

  • All assets bought during the course of the marriage;
  • Assets bought before the marriage by one or both parties and used by both parties and their children while the parties are living together; or
  • Assets bought before the marriage by one or both parties which has been substantially improved during the marriage by either or by both parties.

Examples of matrimonial assets include the marital home, family car, insurance policies, shares, cash savings, Central Provident Funds (CPF) and jewellery – all of which can potentially be divided between the parties in the event of a divorce.

Exempted matrimonial assets are gifts or inheritance to one of the parties, unless the gift is the matrimonial home, or it has been substantially improved by one or both parties.

2. How Will Such Matrimonial Property be Divided?

The parties can come to an agreement between themselves on the division of their matrimonial property through a pre-trial conference, or they could leave it to the courts to decide the matter.

In the case of the latter, the courts are required by law to make a decision that is just and equitable by taking several factors into consideration, which includes the following:

  • Contributions made by either party in the course of the marriage. This includes both financial and non-financial contributions, to property or work towards acquiring, improving or maintaining the matrimonial asset as well as caring for family members;
  • Any debt incurred by either party for their joint benefit or for the benefit of any child of the marriage;
  • Needs of the children of the marriage. This takes into consideration custody arrangements between the parties;
  • Any agreement between the parties with respect to the ownership and division of the matrimonial assets made in contemplation of divorce.

Upon making its decision, the court can make any of the following orders.

  • Selling of any matrimonial assets and division of the proceeds;
  • Vesting of any matrimonial asset in either party;
  • Postponement of sale or vesting of any share in any matrimonial asset until the fulfilment of specified terms;
  • Granting one party to personally occupy the matrimonial home for a period of time;
  • Paying of a sum of money by one party to the other.

3. How Much Maintenance is Needed?

Ill or incapacitated husbands or ex-husbands can now apply for maintenance as well, in addition to ex-wifes, where necessary. Amendments to the Women Charter has made this possible. In deciding the amount, the court has to consider the following:

  • The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
  • The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
  • Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
  • The contributions made by each of the parties to the marriage to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family; and
  • The value to either of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which, by reason of divorce that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

The maintenance order can be in a lump sum or periodic payment as the court determines. The court will try to put the parties in the financial position they would have been in, had the marriage not broken down.

In general, the court is guided to do what is best for the parties and the children of the marriage, making provisions as holistically and as fairly as possible to minimise financial hardship.

Should you require any guidance on the costs of engaging a divorce lawyer in Singapore, please refer to our Divorce Fee Guide.

Before getting a divorce
  1. How to Get a Divorce in Singapore (and Requirements)
  2. How Can I Divorce Overseas?
  3. Mandatory Parenting Programme Guide for Divorcing Parents
  4. Online Divorce in Singapore: How It Works and Should You Get One?
  5. Getting a Divorce Due to “Irreconcilable Differences” in Singapore
  6. Judicial or Legal Separation in Singapore: When and How to File
  7. Should You Make a Post-Nuptial Agreement in Singapore?
  8. How to Get a Divorce Within 3 Years of Marriage
  9. Personal Protection Orders (PPOs), Expedited Orders (EOs) and Domestic Exclusion Orders (DEOs) in Singapore
  10. Prenuptial Agreements in Singapore
  11. What are the Legal Grounds for Getting a Divorce?
  12. Separation in Singapore
  13. Annulment of Marriage in Singapore
  14. Practical Preparations for a Divorce
  15. 3 Finance Questions To Ask Before a Divorce
Divorce Fees
  1. Comprehensive Guide to Divorce Fees in Singapore
Getting a Divorce Lawyer
  1. The Complete Guide to Choosing a Good Divorce Lawyer in Singapore
  2. First Meeting with Your Divorce Lawyer: What to Bring
  3. Don’t Just Go for the Cheapest Divorce Lawyer in Singapore
  4. Find Experienced Divorce Lawyers in Singapore
  5. Child Custody Lawyers in Singapore
Proving Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage
  1. How to Prove Adultery for Divorce Purposes in Singapore
  2. Getting a Divorce: How to Prove Desertion
  3. How to Prove Unreasonable Behaviour
  4. How to Prove Separation for a Singapore Divorce
Application for Divorce Part I: Dissolution of Marriage
  1. Procedure for Dissolution of Marriage
  2. Divorce Mediation in Singapore
  3. Divorce Application: What to Do If Your Spouse Cannot be Found
  4. Simplified Uncontested Divorce vs Contested Divorce in Singapore
Application for Divorce Part 2: Ancillary Matters (Maintenance, Assets, Custody)
  1. Procedure for Ancillary Matters
  2. What Happens to Gifts Between Spouses During a Divorce?
  3. What Happens to Property and Assets Located Overseas Upon a Divorce in Singapore?
  4. Getting Divorced: Child Maintenance in Singapore
  5. Singapore Divorcee's Guide to Relocating Your Child Overseas
  6. Maintenance of Spouse in a Singapore Divorce
  7. Guide to Child Custody, Care and Control, and Access in Singapore
  8. How the Court Divides Matrimonial Assets in a Singapore Divorce
Post-divorce
  1. What Happens to Your HDB Flat after Divorce?
  2. Variation of Maintenance Orders in Singapore
  3. Division of CPF Assets (Monies, House, Investments) after a Divorce
  4. Divorce Certs in Singapore: How to Get a Copy and Other FAQs
  5. Transfer of Matrimonial Home to Ex-Spouse After Divorce
  6. What to Do If Your Ex-Spouse Denies You Access to Your Child
  7. What Happens If Your Ex-Spouse Does Not Provide Maintenance?
Expatriate Divorce
  1. Can Foreigners Divorce in Singapore?
  2. Expat or Foreigner Divorce in Singapore: 10 Legal Issues to Consider
  3. Immigration Issues for Divorcing Expatriates
  4. Hague Convention: Overseas Child Abduction in Singapore Divorce
  5. Case Study: Cross-Border Child Custody and the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction
Muslim or Syariah Divorce
  1. Muslim Divorce in Singapore
  2. Applying for Nafkah Idaah and Mutaah in a Muslim Divorce in Singapore
Other divorce matters
  1. What Happens to Your HDB Flat after an Annulment?
  2. Case Study - Love conquers All: The Divorce That Didn’t Happen