Maintenance of spouse and children
Under Singapore law, a man can be ordered to pay maintenance to his wife or former wife, either during matrimonial proceedings, or after a divorce, judicial separation, or nullity of marriage has been finalised.
Recent changes to the law have made it possible for a man to claim maintenance from his wife if he is:
- Incapacitated by a physical or mental disability, before or during the course of marriage.
- Unable to earn a living as a result of the disability.
- Unable to support himself.
How Much Maintenance?
After a divorce, there is usually maintenance to be given to a former wife and more recently, to disabled former husbands. It is important to bear in mind that every case is different and there is no hard and fast rule in determining the quantum of maintenance to be given.
Under section 114(1) of the Women’s Charter, the court will take into account all circumstances of the marriage, including the following factors, in assessing the amount of maintenance due:
a. The income and earning capacities of both parties;
b. The financial needs of both parties;
c. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the divorce;
d. The age of both parties;
e. The duration of the marriage;
f. The existence of any physical or mental disabilities in both parties; and
g. The contributions of each party to the marriage.
There are other factors not specifically mentioned in the Women’s Charter that will be taken into account as well. For example, the likelihood of remarriage of the spouse being maintained and an estimate as to how long both parties can continue working. Furthermore, if the marriage were a short one, the usual period of maintenance (that is until the maintained spouse remarries or either party passes away) may not apply.
After a maintenance order is made, if there are changes in your circumstances that either affect your ability to afford the current level of maintenance or to warrant a higher maintenance, you may apply to Court to vary the maintenance order.