Are husbands entitled to seek maintenance from wives?

Section 69 (1A) of the Women's Charter allows for incapacitated husbands to seek maintenance from their wives. Arguably, incapacitation means a debilitating illness or disability which prevents the husband from working. 

In circumstances where the wife is able-bodied and working, the incapacitated husband should be allowed to claim reasonable maintenance from the wife. This was a relatively recent amendment to the Women's Charter. 

House-husbands who are otherwise able-bodied and not incapacitated are usually not allowed to claim maintenance from their working wives.

The concept of reasonable maintenance is the same one which allows for wives to claim reasonable maintenance from their husbands during the subsistence of a marriage, what is commonly termed as interim maintenance.

Arguably, the Courts usually allow a reasonable amount for necessary expenses. However, expenses which are considered superfluous and unnecessary or inflated are usually disallowed, or the amount allowable for that item of expense is reduced.

What is a Deed of Separation? Is a Deed of Separation enforceable in Singapore?

A Deed of Separation is a document signed by husband and wife to regulate their relations during a period of separation in contemplation of divorce. A Deed as its name suggests, is a document that is signed, sealed and delivered and is usually witnessed by lawyers. The terms of the Deed of Separation has to be agreed upon, and the terms are usually negotiated between parties and their lawyers.

The usual terms that one would include in a Deed of Separation is that either party would be free from the marital control of the other and each party would lead separate and independent lives. Other terms may include the prospective terms in the intended future divorce proceedings.

 The Courts in Singapore refer to the Deed of Separation as prima facie evidence of separation between parties during divorce proceedings, and although they give due weight to the terms of the Deed of Separation and are bound to consider it, the Courts retain the powers to vary the terms of the Deed of Separation i.e. to record terms in the divorce which may be different from what was agreed upon in the Deed of Separation, in accordance with family law principles.

Is it necessary to obtain a Private Investigator's Report in order to prove adultery in a divorce?

No, it is not necessary to obtain a Private Investigator's Report in order to prove adultery in divorce proceedings.

The evidence that is needed are usually photographs, text messages, video or audio recordings.

In order to satisfy the Courts that the marriage has indeed broken down, we may also include an alternative ground of unreasonable behaviour  and the fact of improper association with a third party, which is similar the adultery but as the term improper association suggests, is much broader than the act of adultery itself.

You may still wish to obtain a PI report to satisfy yourself that your spouse has indeed committed adultery. In some circumstances, when the divorce is granted on your Claim, the costs of the PI report is claimable from your spouse.

Does the fact that my spouse committed adultery mean I will be entitled to more matrimonial assets?

Divorce in Singapore is not fault based i.e. the fact that your spouse has committed adultery has no impact whatsoever on the division of the matrimonial assets, and it does not mean that you will be compensated with a higher maintenance amount.

Division of assets and maintenance are based on family law principles i.e. division of assets is mainly based on the direct and indirect contributions of the parties to the marriage including, financial and other non-financial contributions of the parties to the marriage. Maintenance is awarded mainly based on actual expenses vis a vis income.

My child is 21 years old but still studying. Is he entitled to maintenance from my ex-husband?

Section 69 (3) of the Women's Charter states that the adult child must apply in person to continue receiving maintenance from the parent(s) if he or she is in higher education.

In the normal course of affairs, children's maintenance should cease once the child turns 21 years old, but if the child is in higher education, the Courts have the powers to extend and grant maintenance to the adult child applicant.

As maintenance is a joint parental responsibility, this also refers to a case where the mother has to contribute towards the maintenance of the child.