Transfer of Matrimonial Home to Ex-Spouse After Divorce
What Happens to My Property Upon Divorce?
However, if the court does not consider your property to be a matrimonial asset, your property will not be divided and both you and your ex-spouse may retain your respective shares in the property.
Read our other article for more information on the division of matrimonial assets during a divorce and when a property will be considered a “matrimonial asset”.
What Happens to My Property If My Marriage has been Annulled?
Generally, the same principles on the division of matrimonial assets (as mentioned above) apply if instead of obtaining a divorce, the marriage is annulled.
However, if your matrimonial home is a HDB flat, you must surrender your flat to HDB. You will receive a surrender value (i.e. a sum of compensation) that is subject to HDB’s valuation in exchange for surrendering your flat.
Read more about what happens to an HDB flat upon an annulment of marriage.
In What Situations Must I Transfer My Share in the Property to My Ex-Spouse?
You must transfer your share in the matrimonial property to your ex-spouse if the court is of the view that it is fair and reasonable to order you to do so. This is regardless of whether the property was held in joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common.
The court may not exercise its power to order you to transfer your share in the property to your ex-spouse if, you and your ex-spouse have come to a private agreement on your own on what should happen to the property after the divorce.
For example, you may have agreed to transfer your share in the property to your ex-spouse (as a gift or for compensation).
In What Situations Can My Ex-Spouse Retain the HDB flat?
If your ex-spouse is entitled to the HDB flat after the divorce but the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) for retaining the flat is not satisfied, it must be surrendered to HDB at the prevailing HDB prices upon divorce.
If the MOP is satisfied, your ex-spouse may retain the HDB flat in the following situations:
- If he/she has care and control of the children, and he/she is capable of financing the home loan for the HDB flat.
- If there are no children to the marriage and he/she is eligible to retain the flat under the Single Citizen Scheme.
- If either of your (you or your spouse’s) parents’ names are listed on the flat application.
If your situation falls under one of the above, you may transfer your share in the HDB flat to your ex-spouse in order for him/her to retain it.
If your situation does not fall under any of the above, you and your ex-spouse must sell your HDB flat in the open market.
How Do I Transfer My Share of the HDB Flat to My Ex-Spouse?
First, you need to appoint either a HDB or private lawyer for the transfer of your share to your ex-spouse. HDB will decide whether they can act for you if you choose to appoint them.
How do I apply to transfer my share of the HDB flat?
Before you can apply for a transfer, you must repay any loans or refund any grants (such as housing grants from HDB) taken from the government.
Thereafter, you may submit your application and the required supporting documents through My HDBpage. Upon submitting the application, your ex-spouse must provide his/her consent to the transaction via My HDBpage as well.
For more information on the application process, please visit HDB’s website.
What are the documents I need to submit for the transfer?
You need the original copies of the following documents for your transfer application to be processed:
- Identity Card.
- Duplicate Lease (if applicable).
- Divorce documents (e.g. Certificate of Making Decree Nisi Absolute).
- Deed of Separation (if applicable).
- If the court ordered the transfer, a written confirmation from the CPF Board indicating their consent to the Court Order.
- A written confirmation from your private lawyer that he or she is acting on your behalf for the transfer.
- If you or your ex-spouse is an undischarged bankrupt, written consent from the Official Assignee on the ownership change.
- If your ex-spouse is overseas, a valid HDB Power of Attorney.
- Any other documents requested by HDB.
How much do I need to pay for the transfer?
The court has the power to decide whether you or your ex-spouse should bear the cost of the transfer.
If you have to bear the cost of the transfer, HDB will send you a letter to inform you of the estimated fees payable and the documents required to finalise the transfer once it processes your transfer application.
Fees payable generally includes:
- Administrative fees
- Stamp duties
- Conveyancing fees
The amount of stamp duties and conveyancing fees payable depends on the flat type, loan amount, and share of ownership being transferred.
You and your ex-spouse will need to attend an appointment at the HDB branch to finalise the transfer and make full payment for all fees.
How Do I Transfer My Share of the Private Property to My Ex-Spouse?
If you are transferring your share of the private property for compensation, you have to execute a sale and purchase agreement.
Transfer of private property subject to mortgage or CPF charge
If you are transferring your share of the private property as a gift, but your property is subject to a mortgage or CPF charge, you should check with your bank and the CPF Board to find out what you need to do in order to be able to gift your property to your ex-spouse.
Generally, the existing mortgage payment will be discharged (i.e. you will no longer be liable for the mortgage payment – see below) and a fresh mortgage loan will be obtained by your ex-spouse (who will now be the sole owner of the property).
A fresh mortgage may be obtained by either an HDB loan or a bank loan if he or she does not have enough CPF monies and cash to pay for the property.
Will I be liable for making mortgage payment pending the transfer?
No, your ex-spouse will bear the mortgage payment pending the completion of the transfer (i.e. until the transfer is complete).
However if you had used your CPF monies to buy the property, you will need to return the amount of CPF monies withdrawn from your CPF accounts, together with interest accrued, before the CPF charge will lapse.
Transfer of private property not subject to mortgage or CPF charge
If you are transferring your share of the private property as a gift, and your property is not subject to a mortgage or CPF charge, you have to:
- Enter into a Deed of Gift with your ex-spouse.
- Pay stamp duty of the Deed of Gift for the market value of the private property.
- Prepare the relevant forms and file it at the Singapore Land Authority with the relevant title document.
- Lodge a Notice of Transfer with the Comptroller of Property Tax and MCST Board.
For more information, please refer to our article on transfer of property in Singapore.
What Happens After I Complete the Transfer (Both Private Property and HDB Flat)?
Do I need to continue contributing to the repayment of the mortgage loan (if any)?
You do not need to contribute to the mortgage loan (if any) after the transfer unless you have agreed to do so.
Mortgage payments must be borne by your ex-spouse (the eventual owner) of the property given that the payments will solely benefit him/her (i.e. ownership of the property).
Your ex-spouse must be capable of refinancing the outstanding mortgage loan. Otherwise, the flat can be sold in the open market.
However, the court may at its discretion order you to repay the mortgage payment, if for example, it would be unjust to order your ex-spouse to bear the mortgage payment.
If you believe that it is in the best interest of your children (if any) to keep the matrimonial home, you may wish to consider contributing to the repayment of the mortgage loan.
Does my ex-spouse have to repay me for my contributions to the property’s purchase price?
Your ex-spouse has to repay you for your contributions to the property’s purchase price in cash or refund your CPF account(s) only if the court orders him/her to do so. The court will decide the sum to be paid/refunded.
If the court did not order any refund to your CPF account(s) upon the initial transfer, your ex-spouse will not need to refund your CPF account(s) even if the flat is eventually sold.
These policies apply even if the HDB flat was not bought using CPF monies but had been pledged in lieu of the Retirement Sum.
Can I ask my ex-spouse to sell the property?
Upon transferring the property on court order, you may wish for your ex-spouse to sell the property so you can receive a portion of the sale proceeds.
However, you do not have the legal right to force your ex-spouse to sell the property after you have transferred your share to your ex-spouse.
In the event your ex-spouse sells the property of his/her own accord, the shares of the property will still not be returned to you if the court had not ordered your ex-spouse to repay you for your contributions to the property’s purchase price. This includes your CPF monies (as mentioned above).
What if my ex-spouse agrees to return me my share of the property?
If the court has ordered you to transfer your share of the HDB flat to your ex-spouse, the CPF Board has no power to undo the transfer and return you your original share of the HDB flat.
However, your ex-spouse may return you your original share of any other property.
After Getting Divorced, Can I Buy or Rent a New HDB Flat?
There are various schemes to help divorcees buy or rent HDB flats. Housing grants may also be available.
Read more about these schemes and check your eligibility for them in our other article on how divorcees can buy or rent HDB flats.
Should you require legal advice on the divorce process, the process of transferring your shares in your matrimonial home to your ex-spouse after divorce, or other divorce issues, please contact a divorce lawyer for advice.
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