Divorce involves hashing out a lot of issues. One of these important subject matters that have to be tackled during a divorce case is alimony.

1. Alimony is given to the wife, not to the husband.

In Singapore, the Women’s Charter sets out the law regarding alimony, which is referred to as spousal maintenance in the country. The figure for the maintenance payments is dictated by the court. The judge considers different factors, which includes the earning capacity of both parties. However, even if you earn more money than your husband does, you do not have to worry about making any maintenance payment.

Maintenance can only be given to the wife or the ex-wife, not to the husband or the ex-husband. This means that you do not need to make any maintenance payments to your husband or ex-husband under any circumstance.

Other factors that may be considered by the judge when deciding on the figure include the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of the wife, the financial standing, income, properties and other financial resources of both parties, the duration of marriage, and the number of children that have to be supported. If the wife has already been awarded a substantial proportion of the matrimonial assets, then her financial needs may already be reduced in the assessment of her claim.

When granting alimony, the court aims to put the wife or the ex-wife in a financial position similar to what she would have if the marriage had still continued. The period for such maintenance payments typically continues until the wife or the ex-wife either dies or remarries another party.

As of now, there is still no legislation under the Women’s Charter or other Singaporean stature that allows the husband or the ex-husband to claim for maintenance from the wife or the ex-wife.

2. The application for alimony does not require an active divorce proceeding.

Alimony in Singapore is one of the most commonly discussed issues during a divorce. However, applying for alimony does not require an active divorce proceeding. This means that you may apply for alimony at the court at any point during your marriage, separation or divorce. During a marriage, a wife can already apply for alimony if the husband refuses to support her financially.

3.If the husband refuses to pay maintenance payments, the wife may apply for enforcement of the order.

If the husband has neglected to make the maintenance payments, then she may attempt to recover the arrears through an enforcement application. It is important to take not that only arrears up to a period of three years before the application may be recovered.

If the husband still refuses to make the maintenance payments, then the judge can impose a fine or a sentence on him. The husband may be imprisoned for a period of not more than one month for each month of arrears.

According to The Law Society of Singapore, the wife can easily file for a complaint at the Family Court at Havelock Road. Since the complaint is filed in English, the wife may request for an interpreter at the court. Before filing the complaint, the wife is advised to find out where the husband can be found. The presence of the wife may be required when the court officer serves the summons to the husband.

Aside from giving a fine and a sentence, the judge may also impose an attachment order for the employer of the husband to directly deduct the maintenance payment out of his salary. In such cases, the wife is advised to find out the name and the address of the employer of the husband.

More information: Marriage Matters and Divorce Issues.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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