What are Ancillary Matters?
Simply put, they are practical life matters related to the marriage and will still continue to affect you post-divorce. Ancillary Matters can be classified into 3 categories:
- Distribution of Matrimonial Assets
- Maintenance (also known as alimony)
- Custody, care and control of Child(ren)
Distribution of Matrimonial Assets
Matrimonial Assets refers to shared assets in the marriage, including the home and other properties, saving(s), investment(s), business(es) family car(s), household items etc. owned or shared by the couple together.
Some arguments may arise as to what should fall into this pool of assets. According to Singapore’s Women’s Charter, the following are considered Matrimonial Assets:
- Assets acquired by one or both parties during the marriage
- Assets used by one or both parties or their children for various purposes
- Assets acquired before the marriage but substantially improved in quality during the marriage
This is a pretty wide definition that puts personal savings and investments into the pool, as long as they are acquired during the marriage.
On the distribution of this pool of assets, there is no scientific formula. There is a list of factors that the Court would consider, including but not limited to:
- The extent of contribution by each party (financial and non-financial)
- Income level of each party
- Needs of child(ren)
- Needs of each party
- Length of marriage
A man may have to pay maintenance to his wife or ex-wife during and after the divorce. The amount of maintenance may vary depending on considerations such as income level and financial needs of the parties. In some cases where the woman is financially independent, she may still be given a nominal maintenance of S$1 a month, to keep her right to maintenance. Maintenance can be paid in lump sum or periodically.
In rare circumstances, a man may get maintenance from his wife or ex-wife, if he is disabled or unable to support himself.
Maintenance of child(ren) up to 21 years old (or in some cases older due to schooling or National Service, disability or special circumstances) is necessary for both parties. Every parent has a legal duty to maintain his or her child(ren).
Custody, Care and Control of Child(ren)
Custody gives the authority to make major life decisions for the child(ren), in areas such as education, health and religion. Care and control means living with the child on a day-to-day basis.
In Singapore, usually parents are given joint custody, with the mother being given care and control of the child(ren). The parent without care and control will be allowed Access, which means periods where the parent can spend time with the child(ren).
The interest of the child(ren), i.e. what is best for the child, is the most important consideration, although the parties’ wishes are also taken into consideration by the Court.
Divorce is an ending. But as with every ending, it is also a new beginning. Post divorce, you could be dealing with many challenges in the aftermath of the break up and settling into new arrangements and way of life. At the same time, it is not just about you. You will also need to manage other people close to you, who are affected by the divorce.
Some support may help you overcome the challenges better. Know that you are not alone. Here are some services and communities that provide such support that may be useful for you.
Do you need more detailed legal advice on Ancillary Matters? You can check out find professional help here.
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