Ending your relationship with someone you vowed to spend a lifetime with is never easy. Getting a divorce causes a significant life change that is often complex and stressful. It involves coping with several issues such as division of assets, discussion of maintenance, and custody of the children. These issues bring forth emotional, economic, and legal considerations.
Divorce is not simplistic wherein one solution fits everyone else’s circumstance. It is case-specific as it takes the needs and means of each person into account. Even the length of your marriage affects the division of assets. For instance, if your marriage is brief, the court may decide to part you with the money you had before coming in to the relationship.
According to the 2013 Population Trends by Statistics Singapore, marital dissolutions are escalating with 7,386 in 2009 from 7,216 in 2008. With this increasing number of divorced couples, it is important to discuss the financial matters to sort out after the breakup.
1. IMMEDIATE FINANCIAL CONCERN
Your first concern shall be the recurrent household bills. If you had been paying your bills through a joint account, you have to make some arrangements with your bank to dissolve this account and pay through your personal account instead. Remember to update your GIRO arrangements as well.
2. MAINTENANCE AFTER DIVORCE
Maintenance is intended to cover the living expenses and necessities of the wife and her children. Under Singapore’s law, maintenance for the wife continues until she remarried or passes away while the maintenance for the children continues until the age of 21 or until graduation. The husband can pay the wife in a lump sum but only monthly maintenance is allowed for the children.
There is no specific amount or length of maintenance as the Family Justice Courts examine the situation to arrive at a reasonable and fair decision.
3. THE FAMILY HOME
One of the most daunting decisions you have to make (especially if you used your CPF savings to buy a property with your ex-spouse) is the housing arrangement. Are you going to sell your family home? Or will you keep it while the other one moves out?
If you intend to sell your house wherein CPF savings were used to purchase it, you will need to apply for CPF refunds to your respective accounts. Please visit the CPF Board website for more information.