Legal Property Advice – Chances of Getting a Share of Property Proceeds after Divorce

Sunday Times is a weekly must read for me, especially with the columns that touches mostly on legal issues on real estate.

This week they’re covering issues with regards to divorce and how the judgement would be like when it comes to handling a property’s proceedings.

I am married, without any kids. My husband and I live in a condominium. His mother is a joint owner. He is paying for the home solely by himself, including the monthly housing loan and all other bills, while I am paying the monthly maintenance and conservancy fee of $300.

In the event of a divorce, do I have a chance of fighting for an equal share from the proceeds of the condominium?
A Normally a legal owner would have beneficial interest in the property. The beneficial interest acquired by the mother will be in proportion to her financial contribution. However, if the property was bought without any financial contribution from her, then it is arguable that she has no beneficial interest in the property.

An answer from Lie Chin Chin, Managing Director of Characterist LLC.

Upon a divorce, the court can order the division of the sale proceeds attributed to the share in the condominium that is the matrimonial asset.

For example, if the mother has a 30 per cent share, then only 70 per cent share in the condominium can be available for division between you and your husband.

The division will be in such proportions as the court thinks just and equitable, considering several factors such as length of marriage, and the parties’ direct and indirect financial contribution towards acquisition of the matrimonial property.

Indirect contributions could include efforts to enhance the welfare of the family, looking after the home or caring for the family or any aged or dependant of either party. The facts that you have no children and that your husband’s financial contribution is significantly more than yours are not factors in your favour.

Your contribution to the maintenance of the condominium is a factor in your favour. However, to have a higher chance of getting 50per cent of the matrimonial asset, you need to show there were extensive indirect contributions on your part.

Singapore Private Residential Price Plunged Further in Q1 2009

URA Released Figures for Q1 2009

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has released its figure for 1st quarter of this year on its real estate statistics. The figures for private residential sale prices has declined 14.1% on overall, abeit slightly more over the projected rate of 13.8% by URA.

Rest of Central Region was hit the hardest with a -17.0% quarter on quarter (qoq), with Core Central Region (CCR) at 16.2% and Outside Central Region (OCR) at 7.3% qoq.

Landed residential decline softer than its non-landed counterparts at 9.2% (qoq).

Rentals Have Dipped

Rentals have fell by 8.5% this quarter, as compared to the previous quarter of 5,3%, a much sharper dip. You can download a compilation of rentals data with individual residential projects here.

Even HDB data wasn’t spared either. Although HDB prices are still holding up, but the cash over valuation (COV) has been declining since Q1 2008. A complete data release is on URA’s website.

Will The Slide Stop From Here?

Highly unlikely. We will see further contraction in prices before it eases out. Property prices are highly tied to economy status and reacts especially much to local stock market situation. As property price index is a lagging indicator, until our economy picks up, we won’t see any high rally in property prices anytime soon. You can take a look on’s chart which pegs STI’s performa to property market index.

Again, we should see secondary sub-sale market picking up as supplies are getting ready soon. Pressure will be on buyers who have purchased their homes on Deferred Payment Scheme (DPS) and have not secured their finances.

More analysis from Nicholas Mak, Knight Frank on URA Q1 released data here.

Definition Areas of CCR, RCR and OCR

CCR Boundary Map from URA
CCR Boundary Map from URA

Core Central Region (CCR)

Singapore prime postal district areas 9, 10, 11, Downtown Planning area and Sentosa.

Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR)

Postal district areas that are outside Core Central Region 9, 10, 11, Downtown Planning area and Sentosa.

RCR areas are depicted in the Central Region Boundary line excluding CCR. Any areas which is out of the boundary line is considered OCR.

Refer to the map from URA here.