Credit bureau collects more than $1.2m owed in spousal support to single mothers

SINGAPORE - An intervention method, which records unpaid matrimonial debt on an individual's credit report, has collected a total of $1.28million on behalf of single mothers whose ex-partners did not pay the support ordered by the courts.

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Here is the press statement from the DP SME Commercial Credit Bureau (the Bureau):

The holiday season will be a bit brighter this year for many Singaporean single mothers who have received help to collect unpaid support payments from their former spouses.

The Bureau today announced that it has collected $1.28 million dollars in unpaid matrimonial support payments on behalf of mothers whose ex-partners did not pay the support ordered by the courts.

The Bureau encourages ex-spouses to pay by recording payments and defaults on the individual's credit report. These reports are available to more than 700 companies, including banks, retailers, moneylenders and other credit providers.

The Bureau's actions on behalf of women are approved by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

More than 150 women have come forward for help since the service started in June 2011, with 123 women receiving payment as a result of the Bureau's intervention - a success rate of greater than 8 in 10.

The biggest payment received was for $180,000, while the smallest was $50.

According to Ms Ong Siew Kim, Senior General Manager of the DP SME Commercial Credit Bureau, the holiday period can be a time of great financial stress for many families.

"We hope these payments brighten the lives of women and their children during this holiday period."

"While we know times are still tough for many families, every little bit helps and the additional money will do much to ease their hardship," Ms Ong said.

Government figures show more than 3,000 Singaporeans a year approach the courts to seek enforcement on payments that their ex-spouse has defaulted on.

"While the numbers helped by the Bureau are significant, there are still many thousands of women struggling to get the money they are owed from their ex-spouses," Ms Ong said.

"The Bureau offers this service as a public service, so we do not charge the women we help. There is no reason why more women shouldn't come forward and ask for assistance."

"Our experience shows that people are more likely to pay if someone is calling and reminding them on a regular basis," said Ms Ong.