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Sunday January 14th 2018

Man’s legal enquiries on divorce with Malaysian wife

Today, I went to my wife’s place to see my kids, I thought I can see my wife and hope that we can have a heart to heart talk, but I was disappointed and sad because she doesn’t want to see me. Her mum told me that she is insisting  on having a divorce and asked me to prepare the legal letter from my side…

Ken: I did nothing wrong for  this marriage, I didn’t beat or scold my wife, I don’t have any third party, I didn’t abuse her physically . As a husband, I  provided financial support to the family when needed, what  are the common  valid reasons for divorce ? Does the court allow this if I am not doing anything harmful  to her ?

[James – legal counsel] In order for you to apply for  a divorce, you must be able to satisfy one of the grounds of divorce. 1. Adultery, 2. Desertion, 3. Unreasonable behaviour, 4. Three  years separation with consent and 5. Four  years separation. In your case, if you do not have any reason to divorce her, you cannot be the one applying for the divorce. If your wife has reason to divorce you, she too must satisfy one of the ground of divorce. Unless, she wants a divorce because she does not want to be with you anymore, either because you are no longer compatible to her or she does not love you any more. In such a situation parties can agree to remain separate and apart for 3 years and thereafter one of you can apply for a divorce based on 3 years separation. Under this ground if you apply for the divorce, your wife must sign a consent form agreeing to the divorce and confirms that you and her have lived separately for 3 years.

Ken:  She wanted a immediate divorce  and she requested …

1)      Not to stay overnight at her place.

[James] If her place is under her name or her parents’ name i.e you are not one of the owners of the place, yes, she can ask you not to stay overnight at her place. 

2)      Can only visit my 2 kids once a week but with the condition that one of her family member has to follow us.

[James] there is no reason for her to insist on one of her family members to follow you when the children are with you. supervised access is usually in a situation where you cannot be trusted with the children.  

3)      Have to pay monthly support fee to my wife @ S$800  (my 2 kids are now 3 years and 4 years old)

[James] Upon divorce, as the husband you are required to pay maintenance for the wife and also contribute a percentage of the children’s maintenance. Maintenance would depend on your salary and affordability. 

4)      Under the Malaysian law the kids have to stay with Mum until they are 10 years old

[James] If you and your wife are Malaysians then the divorce would be in Malaysia and in accordance with Malaysian law and not Singapore law. Unless you or your wife are Singapore citizen or have been habitually resident for at least 3 years in Singapore. 

5)    She wants this to be settled  out of court ?

[James] Is best to negotiate and agree on the ground of divorce and also the issues of maintenance and division of assets. If these matters are contested in court, it would be costly. 

6)      She want to settle this in Malaysia, can this  be done because our marriage is registered in Singapore ?

[James] Malaysia may have jurisdiction to hear the divorce as your wife is a Malaysian Citizen. I believe, like Singapore,  the Malaysian Courts base their jurisdiction to hear divorce cases based on the citizenship or habitual residence of at least one of the parties to the divorce. I am not familiar with the divorce laws in Malaysia but I guess the issue of jurisdiction is based on the same consideration as Singapore law. I believe, she must have consulted a lawyer in Malaysia who advised her that she could proceed with a divorce in Malaysia. 

7)    She said , she wants to have a immediate divorce, which mean according to Malaysia law,  after signing the 1st legal letter, we will have to wait for 4 months to sign again to complete the whole divorce procedure, is  it possible?

[James] Again, this would be better answered by a Malaysian lawyer who would be able to advise you better on the divorce alws in Malaysia.  

8)    Is it possible to settle without going to court in Malaysia/Singapore ?

{James] I can only advise you what happens if the divorce proceedings takes place in Singapore. In Singapore, if parties agree to the divorce i.e the divorce is proceeding on an uncontested basis and also agree to all the ancillary issues, i.e issues on maintenance, division of matrimonial assets and custody, care and control and access of the children, the new procedure in Singapore is that the parties to the divorce do not have to attend court.  

9)    What will happen to her PR status ? I no longer will be her sponsor once we divorce.

[James] In order to be a PR in Singapore there must be a sponsor, once the divorce takes place you should inform the authorities, ICA that you have divorced your wife and does not wish to be her sponsor any longer. I believe, the ICA would than revoke her PR status. 

10)    We bought the new HDB flat last year and the flat will only be ready by 2013 ..what will happen to our flat after our divorce ?

[James] I think it would be better to have the divorce done in Singapore because of the HDB flat. The court in Malaysia cannot rule over how the HDB flat in Singapore should be disposed off as the law that governs property is the law where the property is situated. For HDB flat, you need to satisfy the minimum occupation period before HDB allows you to sell the same in the open market. Given that by the time the divorce takes place you would not have satisfied the minimum occupation period, the flat would have to be returned to HDB. It is prudent to write to HDB for their confirmation on what will happen to the flat upon your divorce. 

11)   How long do I need to pay the maintenance fee to her ? Do i still need to pay after she has remarried ?  

[James] You need to pay the maintenance for the wife, until she remarries, or until she or you passes on. Maintenance of the children is paid until the children attain the age of 21 years old. If after 21 years old the children still require maintenance because they are still studying, they would have to apply for the maintenance on their own and not through your wife. If you agree now that you will maintain your children all the way until they finish their university education, than if your children attain 21 years old and still pursuing their university education, you would still be responsible for their maintenance. Your children do not have to apply for maintenance separately against you upon attaining 21 years old.   

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2 Responses to “Man’s legal enquiries on divorce with Malaysian wife”

  1. I think that is among the so much significant info for me. And i’m satisfied reading your article. However should commentary on some basic things, The web site style is wonderful, the articles is in reality nice : D. Just right task, cheers

  2. Margie says:

    Hi, I have a malaysian PR and both my kids are adults. can they sponsor me instead if I want to file for a mutual consent Divorce if my PR will be revoked then. My husband left us for 20yrs ago, leaves on his own like a Bachelor until today and the kids are fully aware of this situation. Will ther be another application of sponsorship be done again?

    Kindly advise.

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