SINGAPORE - A pair of newly-weds who relocated themselves to Australia after the husband was sent there for a work assignment, became caught in a battle over their matrimonial flat in Sengkang after they became involved in a motor vehicle accident that left the wife paralysed.
Madam Ho Shin Hwee, had been working as an accountant, but she gave up her job to join her husband, Mr Kwik Mak Seng, Mark.
Then in July 2003, Mr Kwik, now 37, was driving when he fell asleep at the wheel and became involved in an accident. Madam Ho, now 35, was a passenger onboard the vehicle at the time. She was left permanently disabled and later received an insurance payout of $4.56 million (AUD$3.8 million) in August 2011.
They returned to Singapore, but Mr Kwik left their home in July 2004, a year after the accident.
The couple were separated, and in December 2010, Madam Ho filed for a divorce.
Madam Ho went to court to ask for their matrimonial flat, valued at $490,000, to be solely under her name, without any refund to Mr Kwik's CPF contribution towards the flat. She also wanted a lump sum maintenance of $276,000 from her ex-husband, or a monthly alimony of $2,300 for a period of 10 years.
Before the divorce, Mr Kwik paid about $46,000, while Madam forked out about $23,500 to re-pay the loan on their flat.
However, Mr Kwik claimed 80 per cent of the net proceeds from the sale of their flat. He was also unwilling to pay any maintenance towards Madam Ho's upkeep as his monthly salary is $2,500. $950 of that goes to rental expenses.
But the High Court ruled that Madam Ho should receive 47 per cent of the net proceeds from the sale of the matrimonial home, while Mr Kwik should receive 53 per cent.
Judge Lionel Yee said in his judgement that he arrived at this allocation after taking into account both parties' financial and non-financial contributions when dividing the matrimonial flat. These included their CPF contributions in purchasing the flat, which was about 33.87 per cent by Madam Ho and 66.13 per cent by Mr Kwik.