3 Finance Questions To Ask Before a Divorce

Last updated on March 31, 2022

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. Drafting a Deed of Separation in Singapore (Instead of Divorcing)
  2. Alternatives to Divorce in Singapore: A Practical Guide
  3. Process for Getting Divorced in Singapore (With Diagram)
  4. What are the Legal Grounds for Getting a Divorce?
  5. 3 Finance Questions To Ask Before a Divorce
  6. Practical Preparations for a Divorce
  7. How to Divorce Within 3 Years of Marriage in Singapore
  8. Getting Divorced: Documents and Evidence to Prepare
  9. Getting a Divorce Due to “Irreconcilable Differences” in Singapore
  10. Online Divorce in Singapore: How It Works and Should You Get One?
  11. How Can I Divorce Overseas After Marrying in Singapore?
Divorce Fees
  1. Comprehensive Guide to Divorce Fees in Singapore
Getting a Divorce Lawyer
  1. 7 Experienced Female Divorce Lawyers in Singapore (2024)
  2. Can a Divorcing Couple Use the Same Lawyer? Pros and Cons
  3. 7 Best Divorce and Family Lawyers in Singapore (2024)
  4. The Complete Guide to Choosing a Good Divorce Lawyer in Singapore
  5. Don’t Just Go for the Cheapest Divorce Lawyer in Singapore
  6. Find Highly Rated Divorce Lawyers in Singapore
  7. Child Custody Lawyers in Singapore: Do I Need One?
Proving Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage
  1. How to Prove Adultery for Divorce Purposes in Singapore
  2. Getting a Divorce: How to Prove Desertion
  3. Getting a Divorce by Mutual Agreement in Singapore
  4. How to Prove Unreasonable Behaviour in a Singapore Divorce
  5. How to Prove Separation for a Singapore Divorce
Application for Divorce Part I: Dissolution of Marriage
  1. Your Spouse Doesn't Want to Divorce: What to Do
  2. Procedure for Dissolution of Marriage
  3. Simplified Uncontested Divorce vs Contested Divorce in Singapore
  4. Mandatory Parenting Programme Guide for Divorcing Parents
  5. Divorce Mediation in Singapore
  6. Divorce Application: What to Do If Your Spouse Cannot be Found
Application for Divorce Part 2: Ancillary Matters (Maintenance, Assets, Custody)
  1. Contempt of Court in Divorce: When You Can be Punished
  2. Guide to Co-Parenting for Divorcing Parents in Singapore
  3. Procedure for Ancillary Matters
  4. Maintenance of Spouse in a Singapore Divorce
  5. Filling in a Matrimonial Property Plan for a Singapore Divorce
  6. Dividing Matrimonial Assets in a Singapore Divorce
  7. What Happens to Your HDB Flat after Divorce?
  8. What Happens to Gifts Between Spouses During a Divorce?
  9. What Happens to Property and Assets Located Overseas Upon a Divorce in Singapore?
  10. Child Custody, Care and Control & Access: Singapore Guide
  11. Getting Divorced: Child Maintenance in Singapore
  12. Singapore Divorcee's Guide to Relocating Your Child Overseas
  1. How to Vary a Child Custody Order in Singapore
  2. How to Appeal Your Divorce Case in Singapore
  3. Divorce Certs in Singapore: How to Get a Copy and Other FAQs
  4. Transfer of Matrimonial Home to Ex-Spouse After Divorce
  5. Can Divorcees Buy or Rent HDB Flats, and How?
  6. What to Do If Your Ex-Spouse Does Not Provide Maintenance
  7. How to Vary a Maintenance Order After a Singapore Divorce
  8. What to Do If Your Ex-Spouse Denies You Access to Your Child
  9. Division of CPF Assets (Monies, House, Investments) After a Divorce
Expatriate Divorce
  1. Divorce for British Expats: Spousal Maintenance Under the Law of England and Wales
  2. Settling Ancillary Matters in Singapore After Foreign Divorce
  3. Typical issues in Singapore/England Divorces
  4. Immigration Issues for Divorcing Expatriates
  5. Can Foreigners Divorce in Singapore?
  6. Expat or Foreigner Divorce in Singapore: 10 Legal Issues to Consider
  7. Hague Convention: Overseas Child Abduction in Singapore Divorce
  8. Case Study: Cross-Border Child Custody and the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction
  9. Can British Expats in Singapore Choose to Divorce in England?
  10. Divorce for British Expats: Approach to Matrimonial and Non-Matrimonial Assets in England vs Singapore
  11. Divorce for British Expats: How the English Courts Deal with Financial Matters
Muslim or Syariah Divorce
  1. Fasakh in a Muslim Divorce in Singapore: Grounds & Process
  2. Divorce by Cerai Taklik: Guide for Muslim Wives in Singapore
  3. Muslim Divorce in Singapore
  4. Talak in a Muslim Divorce in Singapore (and Its Effects)
  5. Guide to Divorcing by Khuluk for Muslim Wives in Singapore
  6. Applying for Nafkah Idaah and Mutaah in a Muslim Divorce in Singapore
Other divorce matters
  1. Guide to Personal Protection Orders in Singapore
  2. Case Study - Love conquers All: The Divorce That Didn’t Happen
  1. Annulling a Singapore Marriage: Requirements and Process
  2. What Happens to Your HDB Flat After an Annulment?
  1. Separation in Singapore Via Deed of Separation and More
  2. Judicial or Legal Separation in Singapore: When and How to File
Prenuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
  1. Prenuptial Agreements in Singapore
  2. Should You Make a Post-Nuptial Agreement in Singapore?