Woman Who Earns S$1.2M Over 4 Years Asks For 50:50 Split Of Child Maintenance
A judge in Singapore recently made it clear that while separated parents have an equal responsibility in maintaining their children, this need not translate to each parent bearing an equal quantum.
Such a ruling came to light when a woman who earned twice as much as her ex-husband requested a 50:50 split of their child’s maintenance.
However, the judge denied her request, arguing that each parent’s earning power must be considered when determining the quantum that they have to bear.
Woman files appeal for more child expenses & payments by ex-husband
According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), the mother in this case had earned close to S$1.2 million between 2018 and 2021.
In contrast, her ex-husband, who was a commercial pilot affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, earned about S$600,000 over the same period.
Recently, the woman made an appeal to the courts to increase their 5-year-old child’s monthly “reasonable expenses” to S$9,575. She also requested that her ex-partner pay 34% of this sum.
The sum includes S$1,500 for food and groceries, as well as S$1,400 for books, edutainment, and toys.
She added an alternative request, requiring her ex-husband to pay 50% of the original expenses, which came up to S$3,450.
The mother argued that the district judge who issued the maintenance order had not determined the child’s reasonable expense, as well as the standard of living that the child was “accustomed” to.
She further stated that the initial proportion ran “contrary to the principle that both parents bear equal responsibility”.
The father, however, felt that the initial expenses and appropriation were correct after considering the parents’ income disparity.
Judge says equal responsibility need not mean equal quantum
In her written grounds on Thursday (26 Jan), Appellate Division Judge Debbie Ong noted that the ratio of the father’s earnings to that of the mother was 34:66.
As such, she found it “fair” that the father bore 35% of the child’s monthly expenditure of S$4,000.
Judge Ong argued that though both parents have equal responsibility to maintain the child, this need not translate to each parent bearing an “equal quantum”.
As for the higher expenses, the judge highlighted that they were only “reasonable” because the mother had paid for them.
However, the premise cannot stand. According to Judge Ong, just because one party had spent the amount “does not automatically render the expenditure reasonable”. Neither does it justify the calculation to arrive at the new maintenance sum.
Instead, parents must show how a child’s likely expenses are reasonable in relation to all relevant circumstances.
These include the child’s standard of living and the parents’ financial means and resources.
Another factor is the circumstances after a divorce, which would impact the family’s financial needs and resources.
Since a child’s spending amount changes over time, filing court proceedings for each variation would reduce the value of cooperative parenting, Judge Ong noted.
Therefore, she encouraged parents to consider mediation and therapeutic services if need be. They should only bring their disputes to court as a last resort.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at email@example.com.
Featured image by MS News.
Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.