SINGAPORE - A businessman worth more than $21 million will get to keep the vast majority of his assets after a judge ruled that his ex-wife, 21 years his junior, be given only about $500,000.
The 35-year-old Chinese national was married to the 56-year-old Singaporean man for only two years.
The couple, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, met when she was studying English here in 2000 and tied the knot two years later. They had a son in 2003 but separated a year later. The High Court was tasked with dividing their matrimonial assets.
Justice Belinda Ang noted in written grounds released on Tuesday that the ex-husband was a "self-made man" who owned a successful business built up over the last 30 years.
The former wife obtained sole custody of their child, to which the husband did not object. He did not even ask for access rights.
He had paid $11 million for a landed property before they wed, and the matrimonial home was a $2.2 million condo unit.
The ex-wife sought to divide these, as well as his company and related units worth $6.6 million, a $500,000 five-room HDB flat and several other assets totalling $21.36 million. Represented by lawyer Luna Yap, she argued for 15 per cent of all these assets.
But the husband's lawyer, Mr Johnson Loo, countered that the only asset eligible for division was the HDB flat, which should be sold so that she can be given a three-room "replacement" flat.
Justice Ang excluded the $11 million property from the matrimonial assets and rejected the ex-wife's "backdoor attempt" to include her former partner's business assets among them.
The court pared down the matrimonial assets list, based on the evidence heard, to $3.3 million, and awarded the wife 15 per cent.
The judge accepted the husband made all direct financial contributions but ruled the wife's indirect contributions, like helping him through a hard time with his business, had to be weighed in along with the son's needs.
Justice Ang held that the woman be given the $500,000 flat plus $6,700 in cash to make up the 15 per cent. The man was also ordered to pay $3,000 a month in maintenance.