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Thu, Dec 26, 2013
The Straits Times
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Husband denied share of flat after divorce
by K.C. Vijayan

A man who left his wife 19 years ago has filed for divorce, but will not get a cent from their flat.

The High Court, in decision grounds released on Monday, dismissed Mr Andrew Sim's claim for an equal share of the $400,000 Housing Board flat, finding that his spouse Wee Siew Gee's indirect contributions to the family outweighed any share he would have got.

Judicial Commissioner George Wei ruled it was the "just and equitable" thing to do, under the circumstances, and affirming the decision of the family court where the case was first heard.

He made clear in a 74-page judgment that "the division of matrimonial assets must not be reduced to a mathematical exercise of addition, subtraction and percentage. A holistic approach must be taken". The decision was based on the unique circumstances of a long marriage and the court found it fair for Madam Wee to keep the flat without having to reimburse any sum to her husband.

Mr Sim, a 63-year-old cabby, and Madam Wee, 62, were married for 39 years but lived apart after he left the Tampines family home in 1993. They have a daughter now aged 37.

When he took steps to divorce her last year, the issue of dealing with their joint asset and maintenance came up for a decision.

District Judge Sowaran Singh ruled in June the flat was to be handed over to Madam Wee and with no order as to maintenance. The judge also ruled there would be no refund of his CPF monies used in buying the flat, about nine times that of her CPF contribution. On appeal, Mr Sim, through lawyer Tan Siew Kim, argued he took care of all major household and family expenses in the 20 years before he left, even after he was made bankrupt in 1984.

But the court found the evidence of Madam Wee, defended by lawyer Thian Wen Yi, to be more credible. Mr Sim had been a bankrupt for about 15 years and showed no documentary evidence of his contributions to the flat renovations or household expenses. After he left, he provided no financial support to the family.

The court accepted that he "occasionally" contributed towards some household expenses, but Madam Wee's share towards renovations, homemaking, parenting and household expenses were were "far higher" and "far more significant" than Mr Sim's.

It emerged that he left in 1993 after an altercation which led to a police report, had gambling debts and served jail time in 1983 for cheating. The family helped pay off some of his debts.

Judicial commissioner Wei said a clean break was in the best interest of the parties.

Asked why he waited for 19 years before filing for divorce, his lawyer Ms Tan said he "wanted his wife and daughter to have the comfort of home to live in".

Mr Wee did not file even when his daughter got married in 2010.

"It was only after his wife moved to their daughter's home that he realised she no longer needed the home and decided to file for divorce. He is now a virtual destitute, having lost the case."

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readers' comments

Ya ya ya .. For all we know, also never said she nagged whilst the man did left
Posted by mystrawberry on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 15:19 PM

X'cusee me hor, not all women are naggers. I dont nag. I wonder if strawberry nags. My mom doesnt nor my grandma. :D

But i know some women are. And even some men too, horribly long winded, kaypoh and terrific naggers, are you a nagger? ;)
Posted by I♥Singapore on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 15:15 PM

The article didnt say anything about another woman. I personally do not believe anyone wants to be a bad parent, you really dont know what his wife was like. I am not siding the man, just being rational as a bystander and not judging so blindly.

For all you know he could be a soft spoken guy whose life was ruined by gambling and the wife was harsh and a complainer, whining all the time.
Posted by I♥Singapore on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 15:11 PM

If you want to get married and don't expect the woman to nag at you, then you are not realistic. You are better off marrying a man instead of a woman.
Posted by Peter Low on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 13:50 PM

When he left home, the value of the flat was low. Now when the value is substantial, he suddenly woke up to find that there are a lot of money to unlock. Sorry lah. No such luck. This is Singapore.
Posted by Peter Low on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 13:42 PM

19 years ... In total 38 years of two women's life. The wife did not file for divorce on abandonment and for maintenance of the family over the months x years, he should be happy liao.
Posted by mystrawberry on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 12:28 PM

Yah, maybe living off another woman when the family had help to pay off some part of his debts, having 19 years of the daughters' life without a father and mother taking over his role as a dad ...
Posted by mystrawberry on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 12:24 PM

Wonder how does he provide for the family when he is a bankrupt, plus his family helped him pay off his debts.

You believe him? I think at least the judge doesn't.
Posted by patfong00 on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 12:15 PM
Wow ... that cabby not XJP rite? :p :D :D
Posted by Small Fly on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 11:57 AM people got a heart or not....

The article says he did provide for his family while he was with them for 20 years. We dont really know the real reason why he left, maybe the wife was a nagger so much so than he cant tahan. The only setback was he was once a gambler and he went broke and he had been to jail.

At least he didnt insist on selling the flat earlier knowing that the wife and daughter still needing a home to stay.

The judge just cant dismiss his CPF contribution which is definitely on record. Stupid judge. At least give that back to him if not about a quarter of the total sum to be fair.

Lastly we really dont know the real reason why he left. They probably quarrelled .....
Posted by I♥Singapore on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 at 10:37 AM

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