What happens to your HDB Flat in a divorce?





This article focuses on a simple scenario where parties are planning a divorce and the matrimonial assets consist of an HDB flat in either or both the parties’ names. The issues set out below are only a general guide and are not intended to be either prescriptive or exhaustive.


Exploring Different Options When Splitting the HDB Flat

In a divorce, you may ask to retain or sell the HDB flat. Your ability to retain or sell will depend on whether you meet HDB eligibility requirements. At PKWA Law, we will assist you to find out if you qualify under HDB rules.

In respect of the HDB flat, the divorce lawyers at PKWA Law will usually ask the following questions:


· What is the present value of the HDB flat?

· Is there an outstanding loan on the HDB flat? If so, is it a bank loan or a HDB loan?

· Did you and your spouse use any cash to purchase the HDB flat?

· Did you and your spouse utilize any CPF monies to purchase the HDB flat? If so, how much was used?

· What is the proportion of both parties’ direct financial contributions to the flat?

· If there is a sale, how much has been returned to each party’s CPF accounts?

· Is there a housing grant that has been paid into the CPF account of either party that must be returned to HDB?


We will also ask what you wish to claim in respect of the HDB flat:


  • Whether to dispose of (i.e. sale, transfer, or surrender) or retain; and
  • The division of the flat – what proportion of the value of the flat are you claiming.


Notwithstanding the above, we will also assess how practical your claim is, in the light of the size of the matrimonial assets, the relevant CPF rules and regulations, and your financial resources if you intend to purchase your spouse’s share in the HDB flat.



What happens to your HDB flat in a Divorce?


What happens to your HDB flat in a Divorce?


What happens to your HDB flat upon Divorce?

Under the HDB’s prevailing policy for divorce (not due to non-consummation of marriage or annulment or break-up of Fiancé / Fiancée relationship), a divorced party who has the custody of the child (including care and control) is allowed to retain the HDB flat subject to the eligibility conditions.

If there are no children from the marriage, the divorced party (flat owner) may retain the HDB flat under the Single Singapore Citizen (SSC) Scheme, provided:


  • he / she is a Singapore citizen
  • he / she is at least 35 years old
  • the matrimonial flat must be a resale flat purchased from the open market without the CPF Housing Grant for Family


If the HDB flat is bought directly from HDB (including resale flats bought with the CPF Housing Grant for Family), the 5-year minimum occupation period (MOP) must be satisfied before the divorced party is allowed to take over the flat under the SSC Scheme.

Alternatively, the divorced party may include another person to retain the HDB flat, subject to the prevailing eligibility criteria and eligibility scheme regardless of the occupation period.

If the divorced owners wish to resell their flat in the open market, they must have completed the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) for the flat, as at the date of divorce completion. If the divorce is within the MOP and none of the owners is eligible to retain the flat, the owners may have to return the flat to HDB, subject to HDB’s approval. The compensation for the return of flat will be determined by HDB.


What If One Or Both Of Us Is Bankrupt?

When a person is made bankrupt, the Official Assignee will step in to manage all his assets except for the HDB flat and CPF money.

The Court will still divide the matrimonial assets in the same way as in a case where neither spouse is bankrupt. But the Official Assignee may attend the hearing to make representations on behalf of the bankrupt spouse. If you and your spouse have reached an agreement on the division of the matrimonial assets, you will need to obtain the Official Assignee’s approval before the Court will endorse your agreement.


Recent CPF Rule Changes – To Help Divorced Women Get Their Fair Share From Sale Of Matrimonial Home

DIVORCED couples have benefited from recent changes in Central Provident Fund (CPF) rules, which allow for a more ‘equitable’ distribution of their CPF monies when they divide their matrimonial assets.

Previously, divorced women often got very little from the sale of the matrimonial home. The changes are an attempt to help them get more money and not face financial hardship.

One of the changes allows a member to transfer money from his or her CPF account into the CPF account of his or her former spouse.

For instance, under the old ruling, if $100,000 had been used out of a member’s CPF account to buy the matrimonial property, the $100,000 would have had to go back into his CPF account together with the accrued interest once the property was sold. This was the case even if the court had awarded his ex-spouse half the proceeds, or $50,000. The reason was that members were not allowed to withdraw their CPF money until the age of 55.

With the change, the court can order the transfer of $50,000 from the member’s CPF account into his ex- spouse’s account.

Another change allows for the immediate transfer of a piece of property to the former spouse.

In the past, when a member had used his CPF money to buy property and the court ordered ownership to be transferred to his ex-spouse, the member had to return the due amount to his CPF account.

In cases where a wife had no money to make the refund to her ex-husband’s account, the transfer could not take place. The court might then have to order a sale of the property, which might not be ideal in a weak property climate.

With the rule change, the member or his former spouse no longer needs to put back into his CPF account whatever money had been taken out for the property.