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Tue, Dec 21, 2010
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He's not giving me what I need
by Chai Hung Yin

ALL she is asking for is $500 a month for the maintenance of two school-going children.

But Madam Jane’s second ex-husband has been recalcitrant in paying the full amount. We’re not identifying the couple as one of their children is a minor. Of her five children, two under- 21-year-olds – a daughter, 16, and a son, seven – – are eligible for child support.

Home for the threesome is a two-room rental flat in the Dakota area. The 49-year-old woman takes home an average of $500 to $700 a month. She works as a freelance domestic helper and became a part-time property agent in May.

The court has ordered her ex-husband to pay her $500 a month, but he pays only between $300 and$400 each month.

Madam Jane claimed that since her divorce from her husband around August last year, she has applied for an enforcement of maintenance order on her husband no fewer than six times.

Four warrants of arrest have been issued against her ex-husband for maintenance arrears.

The latest warrant of arrest finally put her ex-husband behind bars lastmonth for two weeks. But he claims he has money problems of his own.

Madam Jane is currently getting help from a communitydevelopment council (CDC). The CDC is helping her set goals and action plans. This includes helping her work out  how she will pay her arrears – about $300 in rent and about $400 in utility bills.

Apart from the two children for whom she is claiming child support, she also has two other daughters with her ex-husband – one is 23 and the other is 21.

The older one is a housewife married with two kids while the younger one is still single and working part-time in a fast-food restaurant.

She also had a 29-year-old daughter with her first ex-husband. This daughter is also married with two kids.

So why can’t she get help from her adult daughters who are working? Sounding agitated, Madam Jane replied: “You think they want to help me? Cannot expect them to help, they have their problems.

“I don’t want to burden them with my problems.”

The same goes for her aged parents and seven siblings, who each has their own set of problems and also need help, she claimed. Madam Jane said that money was one of the reasons her relationship between her and her second ex- husband soured.

Last year, he got retrenched, leaving the family in a financial bind.

At that time, she was also jobless when the company she was working at as an administrative assistant decided to cut costs early last year.

On her current job as a property agent, she said: “I had a lot of training seminars to go to. Sometimes, I brought my son along for viewings because nobody could look after him.”

Madam Jane said her relationship with her 16-year-old daughter is also bad.

She claimed: “I asked my daughter to look after him. But she went out with a boy and left my son alone at home.” Earlier this year, her ex-husband asked to reduce the maintenance amount from $500 to $400. But he didn’t turn up, so the court dropped the case, she said.

She said: “Even $500 is not enough. The kids are oldernowand needmoneyfor education.” Under the Women’s Charter, a mother can claim maintenance for children below 21. This is why she is claiming maintenance only for the children from her second marriage.

The couple were match-made by a distant relative of the second ex-husband.

Madam Jane said she divorced her first husband because he wasan alcoholic.

Her second ex-husband didn’t mind her being a divorcee, she said.

But his family members thought she was after his money, MadamJane said. The relationship soured furthe rwhen the unhappiness escalated into clashes between Madam Jane and her ex-husband’s family members.

More stories:

He's not giving me what I need
I can't always afford to give her the $500
What are some of the options for dad?
Kids' interests take priority in post-divorce cases
Why some divorced women suffer
How the proposed changes to Women's Charter may affect you
Women's Charter: Proposed changes to tackle divorces
More marriages and divorces last year
Divorced but he goes to ex's flat for shower & laundry


readers' comments

Absolutely agree. A lot of people are unable to see far. They have no idea of what family planning is all about. They have no idea of what anything is all about, and they simply sail along, day by day.

That's life. There are all kinds of people in this world.
Posted by smickno on Thu, 23 Dec 2010 at 12:24 PM
if you say poor families shouldn't have more children, then who's going to be the judge of that? not the govt, surely?
Posted by lightasacloud on Thu, 23 Dec 2010 at 12:20 PM
Rightfully, a low income family shouldn't have so many children in the first place. Irony is, these are the groups that have the most, creating more domestic issues, teenage delinquents and crimes.
Posted by BlackDragon on Wed, 22 Dec 2010 at 21:31 PM

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