Division of matrimonial property

When granting a decree of divorce or judicial separation, the Court has the power to order one of the following:
  1. to divide matrimonial property between the parties; or
  2. to sell such property and then divide the proceeds of the sale between the parties.

In making such an order, the Court will consider the following facts:
  1. the extent of the contribution made by each party whether in the form of money, property or work towards the acquisition of the assets;
  2. the debts incurred by either party for the benefit of both parties; and
  3. the needs of the minor children, if any, of the marriage.

Subject to these considerations, the Court tends to award equal shares to both parties.

Where such property is acquired by the sole effort of one party only, the Court shall consider the following facts in dividing the assets:
  1. the extent of the contribution made by the other party who did not acquire the property, to the welfare of the family e.g. keeping the house clean, cooking and generally, looking after and caring for the family; and
  2. the needs of the minor children, if any, of the marriage.

Subject to these considerations, the Court may divide the assets of the proceeds of sale. The Court will generally award the party who acquired the property a bigger share, but in all cases, the Court will do whatever is reasonable.

The Court has also powers to deal with properties which were disposed off with the intention of OR reducing a person's means to pay maintenance OR of depriving the other party of the rights to the properties as follows:
  1. if the disposition is still pending, the aggrieved party may apply to the Court for an injunction to prevent the disposition;
  2. if the disposition has been made within the preceding three (3) years, the aggrieved party can apply to the Court to set it aside. (i.e., the disposition is treated as if it was never made);
  3. such application can be made when:
    • any matrimonial proceeding is pending;
    • an order for the division of assets (jointly acquired during the marriage) has been made but not complied with;
    • an order for the maintenance of a wife or former wife or child has been granted.
    • Maintenance is payable under any agreement to any wife/former wife/child

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Knowledge Base ID :   1058
Last Reviewed :   May 31, 2001
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