Assets (After ANJ v ANK  SGCA 34)
ANJ v ANK  SGCA 34 is a recent Court of Appeal pronouncement that has revolutionised family law in Singapore, particularly the law governing the division of matrimonial assets.
The team of lawyers at Gloria James-Civetta & Co have reviewed the current decision and prepared a short summary of the implications of the decision.
What is the principle that guides the courts in the division of matrimonial assets?
Section 46 (1) of the Women’s Charter (“WC”) is the starting point that guides that courts. The division of matrimonial assets is founded upon the prevailing ideology of marriage as an equal co-operative partnership of efforts.
Under Section 112 (1) of the WC, the courts have to divide matrimonial assets in a manner that is just and equitable. This is a guiding principle of family law in Singapore. Therefore, the directive of the court is to reach a just and equitable division of matrimonial assets based on the personal efforts that both parties contributed to enriching their marital partnership.
Pre- ANJ v ANK
The old family law regime in Singapore, lower courts would use the ‘uplifting approach’ whereby the direct financial contribution of each party to the acquisition of matrimonial assets were the starting point. The court would then adjust these proportions by giving the spouse with a greater non-financial contribution an ‘uplift’.
This approach has been criticised as it would double credit one party as that party will gain the percentage of the uplift which would be deducted from the other party. However, the Court of Appeal in ANJ v ANK has now clarified the position.
New method by the court in ANJ v ANK
In ANJ v ANK, the court came up with a structured approach to divide matrimonial assets. This is done in three steps:
- The court will ascribe a ratio for direct financial contribution of the parties
- The court will ascribe a second ratio to reflect the non-financial contributions or indirect contributions of the parties
- The court will use the ratio in 1) and 2) to get an average percentage contribution.
The benefit of this method is that it allows the courts to give the financial and non-financial contribution of parties’ equal weightage.
For more information on family law in Singapore concerning the division of matrimonial assets or the implications that this new method in ANJ v ANK will have for your case, Gloria James-Civetta & Co has a team of dedicated lawyers who are able to answer your questions.
“You don`t just get lawyer – you get an entire team”
Email us or call +65 63370469 to speak to one of our friendly lawyers.