Unwrapped: When a matrimonial home is not a matrimonial home

  • Under the Women’s Charter, matrimonial assets include those acquired before the marriage which were used by one or both parties or their children for shelter, and/or substantially improved by one or both during the marriage.
  • Yet, in a February 2022 landmark ruling by the Appellate Division of the High Court, a woman was denied a share of her ex-husband’s one-third share of his parents’ home, reversing an earlier ruling by the High Court in September 2021.
  • Through our weekly series Unwrapped this week, TheHomeGround Asia takes a look at the implications on future divorce cases when it comes to the division of matrimonial assets of multigenerational households.

In our weekly series Unwrapped, TheHomeGround Asia takes a closer look at major stories and happenings that impact Singaporeans.

The matrimonial home occupies a very special place in the family as it where bonds are formed. Accordingly, it also occupies a very special place in family law that when a couple divorces, the matrimonial home is almost invariably divided between them.

Should the married couple move into a multigenerational household after the wedding, then is that home considered their matrimonial home? A case in point is a woman who, after 33 months, decided to call it quits. The question then was whether the husband’s one-third share of the property subject to division, notwithstanding it was pre-marital gift. After all, the parties used the property as their matrimonial home.

The team looks at whether the couple needed to be the master and mistress of the home to have a share of the property when the union breaks apart, or whether it should be in accordance with the Women’s Charter that “once a matrimonial asset always a matrimonial asset”.

RELATED: Unwrapped: Changing family dynamics or stick to traditional man-woman stereotype?

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