Spousal and Child Maintenance In Singapore After Divorce

by | Jan 31, 2016

It takes courage and strength to face the whole process of divorce here in Singapore including the cases that involve Spousal Maintenance.

Not only that, but some couples who are going through the divorce process also need to address child maintenance.

If you want to know more about spousal maintenance and child maintenance (alimony) in Singapore, just keep on reading.

What is spousal maintenance or alimony in Singapore?

  • Spousal Maintenance is the financial support provided to pay for the reasonable costs of accommodation, clothing, food and living expenses required by a wife.
  • Everyone has a statutory (legal) duty to provide maintenance for his wife.
  • The wife has a right to claim maintenance from the husband regardless of her misconduct.
  • However, when we are talking about alimony in Singapore, a wife’s misconduct may affect the amount of maintenance that she is awarded by the Court
  • The duty to provide maintenance for the wife and child exists regardless of whether divorce proceedings are ongoing (i.e. the husband/father has a duty to maintain his wife and children even when the marriage has not broken down and when the marriage has not been ended)
  • Maintenance can be paid by giving a monthly allowance or making a lump sum payment

alimony in Singapore

When can you apply for spousal maintenance?

A wife/ex-wife may apply for maintenance during marriage, separation, or the course of divorce proceedings. You need not have to file for a divorce before you apply for maintenance for yourself. You may do so if your husband neglects or refuses to provide you with reasonable maintenance.

If you are undergoing a divorce and do not apply for maintenance during divorce proceedings or your application for maintenance has been turned down by the Court at the conclusion of divorce proceedings, you may not subsequently apply for maintenance.

Maintenance

This depends on a number of factors. The judge will consider the financial standing and earning capacity of both you and your husband/ex-husband. He will also consider the standard of living enjoyed by both of you during the marriage. The ages of the parties and the duration of the marriage are also factors considered. The Judge will try to place you in the same standard of living, as you would have enjoyed if the marriage had not broken down.

Period of maintenance

Usually, the period of maintenance will last until the wife or the husband dies or the wife remarries. Varying the order of maintenance.

Either you or your husband/ex-husband may apply to the Court to vary or cancel the Order for maintenance at any time if the circumstances under which the original order was given have changed.

Arrears of maintenance

If your husband/ex-husband has refused or neglected to pay you the maintenance as ordered by the Judge, you may proceed to recover the arrears by filing an enforcement application to the Family Court. Please consult a lawyer.

Arrears of maintenance can only be recovered up to a period of 3 years before the filing of the enforcement application. Any arrears in excess of the 3 years therefore cannot be recovered under such application.

Enforcement Order for Alimony in Singapore

The Judge has the power to impose a fine or even sentence your husband/ex-husband to imprisonment for a term of not more than one month for each month that he is in arrears of maintenance.

You can make your complaint at the Family Court at Havelock Road. The complaint is filed in English. If you need an interpreter, you should request one at the Family Court. You may be required to accompany the Process Server (a Court Officer) to serve the summons on your husband/ex-husband. You should find out when and where your husband/ex-husband can be found before you file your complaint. This would save you time and effort in serving the summons.

On the day of the hearing, you should prepare yourself by asking the Maintenance Counter in the Family Court to issue an updated record, showing the arrears of your husband/ex-husband, for the Judge if the Order required him to make payment through the Court.

Attachment Order

The Judge also has the power to make an order that the maintenance be paid by the employer of the husband/ex-husband out of his salary if he holds a steady job and has been defaulting regularly. You should be prepared to provide the Court with the name and address of his employer. We hope you will get the right advice for alimony in Singapore. We advise you to consult us.

Everything you need to know about child maintenance in Singapore

  • Every parent has the same duty to provide maintenance for the parent’s child.
  • A party can formally apply to the Court to obtain a Maintenance Order which will formally order the husband or parent to provide maintenance to his wife or children
  • The decision of the Judge on how much maintenance to give to your child depends on a number of factors. The Judge will consider the basic financial needs of your child such as his education, food and lodging expenses. Any physical or mental disability of your child will also affect the amount of maintenance.

Period for custody or maintenance

When we talk about Alimony in Singapore, usually an order for custody or maintenance will automatically expire or become ineffective after your child reaches his 21st birthday or in the matter of the child’s maintenance, when your child is financially independent. Sometimes the Judge can order maintenance for a specific period, even after your child reaches his 21st birthday, such as until the completion of his tertiary education.

However, if your child suffers from any physical or mental disability, the custody and/or the care and control/access or maintenance order may continue until he recovers from that disability, even after he turns 21.

Varying an order of custody or maintenance

You may make an application in Court to vary or cancel the Order of custody or maintenance in the interest of your child. You may do so if there is a material or important change in the circumstances since the Order was made. Examples are: there is a substantial increase in the salary of either parent, change in health conditions or the remarriage of one parent.

Agreement for custody or maintenance

You can make an agreement for custody and/or the care and control/access or maintenance. However, the Judge may vary the agreement if it is in the interest of the welfare of your child to do so.

If you need more clarifications about spousal maintenance and child maintenance, we’re here to accommodate your inquiries. 

Feel free to contact Singapore Family Lawyer or book your free 30-minute consultation with us! 

Frequently Asked Questions About Spousal Maintenance And Child Maintenance In Singapore

How do we calculate alimony in Singapore?

It will depend on many factors including the child’s financial needs if it’s for the child’s maintenance. As for the spousal maintenance, the financial capacity of both parties are one of the factors to be considered. 

How does the court determine spousal support in Singapore?

The Family Justice Courts would always check several factors like the financial needs of the wife and the financial capacity of both parties. This also includes the age of the husband and wife, the contributions they made inside their marriage, and many others

How can alimony be paid in Singapore?

It depends on the order of the Family Justice Courts. It can be made through a lump sum payment or paid on a monthly basis. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to know more about this matter. 

How long does alimony have to be paid in Singapore?

In most cases, it should be paid until the wife dies or remarries. 

Can a parent refuse to pay for child or spousal maintenance here in Singapore?

Technically, no. It’s because the maintenance will be on arrears. In this case, the spouse will need to file an enforcement application to the Family Court. You can consult Singapore Family Lawyer if you want to know further details about this matter.

Is alimony mandatory in Singapore?

Spousal maintenance is a legal responsibility, according to section 113 of the Women’s Charter.

Can men apply for spousal maintenance in Singapore?

Men can apply for spousal maintenance here in Singapore. However, they can only do this considering various factors like: they are incapacited or are unable to financially support themselves.

About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.