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Thu, Nov 28, 2013
The Straits Times
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Payout to divorcee cut to $1 a month
by K.C. Vijayan

An elderly man, whose six children have all taken the side of his divorced wife, has achieved a victory in the High Court.

A judge has cut the initial $60,000 lump sum maintenance payment he had to pay his former wife to a nominal $1 a month.

Justice Choo Han Teck found that the circumstances of Mr Chue Hon San, 71, were stacked against him as he no longer worked as a taxi driver and has dim job prospects.

These issues were relevant to the "question of how much maintenance he ought to pay" to his former wife, Madam Wong Yim Yen, also aged 71.

They divorced last year after being wedded for 46 years.

In March, the Family Court ordered that the HDB flat in Bukit Batok in the couple's names be sold, from which Madam Wong would get $259,537.

About $119,230 from the flat's sale was returned to their daughter Alicia Israel, being Central Provident Fund monies she had used to help them buy the flat about 10 years ago.

The lower court had explained that Madam Wong's share included the $60,000 lump sum maintenance and her portion of the couple's matrimonial assets.

Mr Chue, who represented himself, appealed against the decision to the High Court, seeking an increase in his portion to $200,000, to enable him to buy a studio flat.

He said that none of the six children, aged between 40 and 49, were willing to support him given their allegiance to their mother. Madam Wong, defended by lawyer Adriene Cheong, did not dispute his claim.

Justice Choo, in judgment grounds released yesterday, found the circumstances were relevant to Mr Chue's appeal.

The judge said he might be able to compel the children to support him under the Maintenance of Parents Act but that is a "last resort, to be avoided as far as possible".

He accepted Mr Chue's "financial situation was not the healthiest", given that he was jobless.

"On the other hand, the wife could expect all the children to help her meet her expenses whereas the husband could not expect similar help."

He ruled the $60,000 lump sum payout "inappropriate" and ordered a nominal $1 a month instead.

The $60,000 lump sum was meant to be the total maintenance payout of $1,000 a month over five years to be settled upfront in one go.

The nominal monthly sum awarded would leave the door open for the wife to go back to court and ask for more should circumstances change and the need arise at some point in the future.

Justice Choo's ruling means Madam Wong will get about $200,000 or 54 per cent of the proceeds while Mr Chue will get 46 per cent or $170,000.

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readers' comments

The problem is the old man needs to buy a home.

After that, where have money for food?
Posted by merlin12 on Thu, 5 Dec 2013 at 15:23 PM
I wish (and fervently pray) that in the near final moments of my life I won't be tormented and treated to a situation like this poor chap...
else it'll be such an emotional death trap, case in point here

it'll be such a sad, sad day indeed
Posted by perceivedtobe on Thu, 5 Dec 2013 at 09:11 AM

My opinion lah...

Why not the old man, now has $200k, put it in cpf and let the cpf draw out monthly and credit into the old man account? That way, he will not overspend the money.
Posted by hfourhappy on Thu, 5 Dec 2013 at 08:59 AM
The $170,000+ will allow him to buy a studio. Maybe he has charc. problem. Had met quite a few. The tradition of men being the hunter might have cause a lot of problems. However, should he fall seriously sick and hospitalised, there might not be enough left for him. Six children shouldn't have problem to support him. <= Are they all like that?

Ever imagine if there is an only child.
Posted by Hello Name on Thu, 5 Dec 2013 at 08:44 AM
The reduction to $1 per month and not the abolition entirely of the monthly maintenance just leaves a gap for future forthcoming claims on the man.
Posted by johnnykwek on Thu, 5 Dec 2013 at 08:23 AM
I suggest the ah pek go mount Sophia hang 200k flowers then marry his favorite PRC swan singer and apply PR FOR HIS NEW PRC SWAN WIFE
Posted by ahgogogo1 on Wed, 4 Dec 2013 at 21:53 PM

How many gov in this world can or do fully take care of their olds? Don't expect that from any countries. We are thought to have 'standby' fund such as cpf. So now come this question, self-employed how huh? Better remind our sexy taxi hunk XJP :D
Posted by mystrawberry on Wed, 4 Dec 2013 at 20:23 PM
I still remember that case where the guy got into accident and end up earning $500pm was ask to pay his ex $200pm when the ex was earning $2500pm.

He couldn't pay and jailed 3mths.
Posted by Dankoh148 on Tue, 3 Dec 2013 at 23:07 PM
Looks like the judge is trying to be fair to the man, but because his hands are tied by the Chabors' Charter, he still had to order a S$1 payout.

The woman has 6 grown up children to look after her. Obviously, child maintenance is out of question.
Posted by crowilla on Tue, 3 Dec 2013 at 22:47 PM
The elderly man better not laugh too fast .... wait the charbor APPEAL again and end up with paying big $$$ monthly later .... :D :D :D

Better not forget ... this is siglap ball ... :D :D

Posted by Small Fly on Tue, 3 Dec 2013 at 12:36 PM

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