Property Legal Woes – Seperated Spouse Unwilling to Sell House (HDB)

MY HUSBAND and I have been separated for a year. In the past, he has refused to pay for all household bills and refused to sell our HDB flat. He refused to do anything at all. What should I do if there is a buyer for the house and my husband refuses to sign the documents? What procedures can I take to make him sign?

Since I have been paying most of the household bills, can I fight for a bigger share of the sale proceeds from the house? As legal fees are very high, do you think it is worth doing that? Can I fight for alimony?

We have no children and I am earning slightly more than him. How much can I claim? If he does not pay for the alimony, what do I need to do? I am earning $2,500 monthly and have heavy financial commitments. Am I entitled to any government legal aid?

Answer from Lim Choi Meng, a lawyer from TM Hoon and Company

I ASSUME more than three years have passed since you got married, so you are now able to get a divorce.

I also assume that you are seeking a divorce and basing it either on grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

A year’s separation is not sufficient to get a divorce on those grounds, though. A minimum of three years (with his agreement) or four years of separation is required.

If the flat is sold pursuant to a court order made under the divorce, a time limit for selling it is usually stated.

In any event, the HDB will not allow a divorced couple to hold on to a flat jointly.

If a prospective sale fails because your husband unreasonably refuses to sign his agreement to the sale, it is possible for you to get an order in which the court is empowered to sign on your husband’s behalf.

On your question of your husband seeking a buyer, both of you have an equal right to sell the flat.

You can jointly appoint a housing agent, or else, if the court order specifies what price level the flat shall be sold at, the first spouse to get a successful buyer gets to sell the flat.

Your paying the house bills does not entitle you automatically to a greater share of the flat. This is an ‘indirect contribution’.

The first benchmark for arriving at the percentage of division is your respective direct contribution to the purchase price of the flat.

In deciding how much each party’s indirect contributions are, the court will look at factors such as who has been paying the household bills, and caring for the family and home.

Whether it is worth fighting the case in court depends on how much the profit on the flat is.

If there is a net profit of, say, only $10,000 which is to be shared between both of you, it makes no sense to go to trial to fight for an additional $1,000 or $2,000, as the money will easily be used up for your legal fees.

On alimony, the law provides an avenue for a wife to claim maintenance from her husband.

The amount depends on many factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial circumstances of the parties, their lifestyle, and whether there are children.

If you have been married less than five years with no children, chances are the maintenance that you will get will not be significant.

The court is likely to give you a lump sum (represented by a larger share of the net profit of the flat) rather than continuing maintenance.

If there is a court order for maintenance and he does not pay, you can enforce the court order yourself at the Family Court (Maintenance Section) in person – that is, without hiring a lawyer.

On your last question, your income is above the ceiling to qualify for legal aid.

Text Link Ads Support Isn’t Responding

Text Link Ads

I have a few websites which runs for some pocket/ advertising money for my CATS money. Most of them are running Google Adsense and Text Link Ads (TLA) for monetization. Most of the sites who don’t go for affiliate sales would go with me that Adsense and TLA is still the most common and best way to go (of course depending on your niche).

And for those who use TLA to monetize your site, here comes a question. If you’re using WordPress, do you always face the issue of TLA support sending you emails that they can’t find their advertisers’ link up on your site even though you’re using their latest version of WordPress plugin?

And they even give you final warning for not having the link in your site?


This is the 3rd and final warning regarding the ads that we have sold on your site (censored). It looks like the script is not working properly. Our spider was unable to find the following links on your site:

I’ve tried responding to Brock Boser, COO of TLA on the issue, but till date haven’t receive any responses yet.

TLA has been good worker on my Paypal account, but with this kind of issue faced, I’m not sure whether it’s good for me to introduce this to chocomedia for the new 100 strong blogs for monetization.

Jan 2008 CEHA Results Out

CEHA - Common Examination for House Agents

Dear Sir/ Madam


We refer to the Common Examination for House Agents held in January 2008. The following are your results:

Paper 1: PASSED
Paper 2: PASSED
Paper 3: PASSED

Result: PASSED

Fellow agent friends, have you passed your CEHA yet? If not, go for SISV classes, they’re worth every single cent spent. Just as long as you attend classes regularly, SURE PASS! ;)

Property Legal Woes – Financial Risk of Singaporean Divorcing Foreign Spouse

Found this article online and I think this is something that we should archive and share, maybe we should get a legal panel for advice as well on properties when it comes to relationship encumbrance.


I AM MARRIED to a foreigner and we have a two-year-old child. After living abroad, I am now back in Singapore because our marriage is on the rocks.
My husband has a girlfriend and intends to file for divorce.

I have not been working since I married and moved overseas.

We own a property in Singapore which was bought solely under my name with my husband as the guarantor. Does that mean the house cannot be sold without my consent and that my husband, as the guarantor, has no alternative but to continue to service the loan?

Does he have the right to call for a sale of the house once he files for divorce?

Does he have the right to ask for a share of the sales proceeds since he has been the one servicing the loan from the start?

In addition, he bought shares and bonds under my name. Can I assume there is no dispute on the ownership?

As for child custody, how should I fight for it?

Answer from Justin Wee, a Solicitor from Loke & Seah Advocates & Solicitors

ASSUMING that the loan is secured on a mortgage of the property, there will be obligations on both your husband who is the guarantor and yourself as mortgagor to service the loan.

If your husband ceases repayment of the loan, the lender may look to you for repayment even though your husband has been servicing the loan since day one.
As your husband is not a registered proprietor of the property, he cannot unilaterally sell or otherwise dispose of the property without your consent.
Depending on the circumstances, if the property is considered a gift from your husband to you, he may not be able to ask for a monetary share when the property is sold.

In this regard, the law presumes there is a gift from the husband to the wife but this presumption may be rebutted by contrary evidence.

The same rebuttable presumption applies to assets like shares and bonds that are purchased in your name.

On the question of the custody of your child, the fact that you are not working does not mean that custody of the child will be given to your spouse as the court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the child.

Moreover, there are provisions entitling you to obtain maintenance for yourself and your child.

As for fighting for custody of the child, it is best that you provide the full facts of your case to a lawyer as there needs to be a strategy put in place.

Depending on the circumstances, it can be a complex issue which cannot be fully dealt with in this space.

Singapore Shows Vigilance Capabilities on the Hunt for Jemaah Islamiyah

A MMS from ‘SPF’ came yesterday at 4pm.

You would think you’re getting another mobile virus from some anonymous bastard who wants to fry your phone. As Channel News Asia flashes across me with the JI terrorist hunt still on, I opened the MMS with my Dopod.

Mmn, so this is how Jemaah Islamiyah look like. It would seem so weird that he could possibly escape, but Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Armed Forces have been securing most of the key installations and possible escape perimeters very vigilantly. A good friend of mine, Nicholas who’s in the fish chartering business notice a lot more coast guard petrols on the sea lately.

I would say SPF and SAF is taking this operation as a way to show off their capabilities. First off, the main mobile networks volunteered and allow SPF to tap the 5.5 million mobile phones (M1, Singtel and Starhub). I received another email coming from Singnet, it looks alot like a phishing email than a warning one though, but its not too hard to recognise.

Posters of Jemaah Islamiyah is all over the island, and with the public working diligently with the government forces, it’s only a matter of time before he gets back behind bars.

Strength Finder 2.0 – The Online Test

Lincoln lent me his book, Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

Strength Finder

This book actually came with an online test (a set of unique codes behind for a unique user) to test your 5 most matched unique strengths on your results with 34 different themes to match from. Since Lincoln has used his code, I was contemplating of getting a new book myself just to test out what kind of results would I have.

Google is your friend, they say.

Indeed, I manage to save the trees and my pocket by purchasing a brand new access code online just to take the test. Interested parties can purchase a code which would be sent to you in 24 hours at $17.50 USD (You don’t really save much since the cost of the book is about $20.50USD, but there’s no point of keeping the physical stuff, why not just save the pdf that the test gives you)

The test takes 30 minutes or so, with no time for you to think of the answer. “When you take the assessment, you have just 20 seconds to respond to each item. It’s quick because we found that instinctual, top-of-mind responses are more revealing than those you’d give if you sat around and debated each question…” as quoted by Tom in the book.

Here’s my 5 traits if anyone of you are interested:


People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.


People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.


People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.


People who are especially talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.


People who are especially talented in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.

Basically if you find reading the whole book to read all the different 34 themes a chore, just take the online test, the results are given with explanation, insights and even action plan which are laid exactly in the book. (Your 5, except missing out the rest of the 29 themes)

It’s a good read and a good way to start knowing yourself if you’re feeling lost on what kind of strengths do you have.

The Singapore Property Search – Review, Myoochi

Our first Singapore Property Search shootout focuses on Myoochi, an aesthetically beautiful Singapore Property search portal.

Myoochi - A Singapore Property Search Portal

I’ll review all these sites base on my understanding of the previous factors which I’ve mentioned about.

Ease of Listing

Registration as an agent is fairly simple, fill up some forms, no sensitive data asked. There’s a problem with my signing up previously as I didn’t receive the verification email from the system. A kind lady from Myoochi’s office actually gave me a call and resent the verification to settle the issue.

Most of the real estate consultancy companies are there for you to choose which firm are you from, and they allow you to add a photo of yourself (So your face, handphone number and even your real estate company’s address appears next to your listing).

How a Platinum Listing Looks
Platinum Listing Looks Really Nice with the correct amount of information

Two types of listing are available, General Listing & Platinum Listing

General Listing basically allows simple text descriptions, with options to choose from like Property Type, For Sale or Rental and many more options. A plus point is to allow you to just simply key in the postal code of your property so you do not have to key in the full address.

Platinum Listing allows unlimited uploading of photos (apparently since I don’t see the limit stopping when I click on the plus signs of the uploading section), has a property location map to show you exactly where your property is located with other projects nearby.

Searching for a Property

Easy, just key in your minimum sum, maximum sum and rent or sale in which area, most of the listings are tastefully shown up with a summary. Thumbs up for this.

Plus Points of Listing

+ The listing is tastefully displayed and you’re allowed to edit it if its a platinum listing (check out my Sanctuary Green Penthouse listing to see how it looks)
+ Allow people to click to offer, bookmark and add alert service to update you of any changes (Though usually the case, potential clients will just call your mobile
+ Per Square Foot pricing of rental or sale is up for easy reference so you don’t have to do your calculation.

Minus Points

– If they do allow a click to the existing photos to enlarge to allow potential customers to see the picture clearly, it’ll be fantastic.
– If only they have a video option for linking Youtube or Metacafe videos for a video tour of the place.
Generally it is easy to list your properties with Myoochi, I’ll give this a thumbs up to the aesthetic, the ergonomics of the site, and the functions. You get a help desk to call if you have problems with the site.

Myoochi Ranking on Alexa

Traffic/ Viewership

This is something Myoochi could improve on. A ranking of 448,200 on Alexa means it hasn’t really reach a good viewership as compared to big guns like Mocca, Gum Tree, and Craiglist (classified ads). We could say with 440,000 odd ranking, there’s a viewership of about 30 – 50 daily uniques (I know, I’ve a few sites running)

Also, to improve viewer ship, they could focus on SEO, permlinks settings and advertising if they have the time and budget to do so.

Bonus to sign up as a Member

You’ll also get a weekly wrap up of the real estate happenings in Singapore via email, which I think is pretty useful for a Realtor. It basically could sum up most of the new news mentioned in Business Times/ Straits Times.

Rating: 3.0/ 5.0 (With viewer ship lacking, I don’t see anything else is missing much)

Sign up as a Realtor on Myoochi to list your properties here | or as a member to receive updates


We’ll be looking at PropertyGuru, another search portal that has gained popularity from TV media lately.

Factors for Realtors to Consider when Using Online Property Searches

Suddenly, there’s an influx of property websites that’s bursting in the scene lately; (Yes and you’ll even get phone calls from operators to paste your listing in their website, let’s not mention names). The competition is that stiff.

Is there an exact winner to all the Realtor’s marketing needs? Just one that fits all? Currently in Singapore, there are a few that are vying for the top spot with one another. Some aren’t even just doing real estate (sites like ST701, Mocca), but they’re being really aggressive in promoting their viewer ship and advertisers with them.

Indefinitely, there’ll be one ultimate winner that will be charging for listing any properties with them. What’s my concern when I pick a website to list my listings? Before we begin the shootout reviews for the properties site, let’s take a look at some of the factors we’re considering.

Ease of Listing

The steps needed to list my property. The steps should be pretty self explanatory and we shouldn’t need to refer to their FAQ to add my listing in. Standard procedures like registration, email validation and then adding the property should be easy.

Additional steps or validation from operators before use is wasting of precious time.

Cost of Placing Advertisement

Currently most of the property sites allow advertising to be free as most are trying to boost their readership/ viewer ship and traffic. Once the dogfight ends between the sites, I’ll like to know would it be expensive to put in ads to push my properties.

With such competition at this moment, Realtors should take this advantage to try out all the sites and see which is effective for their marketing needs.

Functions and Aesthetics

Are there extra functions in the property search site? Say maybe after I add my listing, it displays a map and shows the location, shows the nearest MRT, restaurants and amenities nearby. Or maybe even an sms function for you to contact the Owner or Agent of the prospective property? These are bonus functions that a listing site could have.

Also important is the aesthetics of the website, whether is it attractive and ergonomically easy for people to browse and find what they want.

Traffic/ Viewer ship

This, everyone would agree would be the most important element to anything else. Sure you could argue that if you use every property search websites available to list, you’ll get the maximum exposure. I’d say as long as you have good viewership and have a niche over any other property search website, you stand to gain the most market share, just like SgCarmart for used cars in Singapore.

We’ll review to see which is topping up the traffic chart in the shootout issues that I have in mind.

Authenticity of Target Audience

Ah, please don’t get some people to call us when we list somewhere. No names, but I’ve heard of cases where Realtors actually paid for some online listings, and towards the expiry of the list, the company actually got someone to give them a call to ‘generate interest’.

The authenticity of the general target is important.

Speed / Server Load

If a site loads slow, it’ll be out of the question to use them if the database is massive. Though this is really a secondary issue, we’d generally prefer a fast loading site.


Is there a number for us to call if we face account issues? Email support? Ticket support? How about when we list something wrongly and would like to edit them? Is it easy? Or is there someone waiting to solve any of our problems?

We’ll begin the shootout with Myoochi, a Singapore Property Search site.

Myoochi, How will you Fair?
Myoochi, how will you fair? ;)

Citibank Credit Cards Changes Interest Rate (Singapore)


Noticing some fine prints behind my Citibank credit card, I scanned through the changes in terms of service with regards to interest rate pretty quickly.

Citibank has joined the ranks of Standard Chartered and Amex offering clients with good paying records to lower their interest rates; and penalising those who aren’t responsible paymasters.

Known as tier pricing, Citibank credit card customers with good paying habits would be rewarded in terms of lowered interest if they have been paying their bills regularly. We’re looking at the due date with at least the minimum sum payable; Should you miss paying at least twice, your interest rate could hit as high as 27% per annum, which means 2.25% compounding interest, 0.25% higher than of the old 2% which works out to be 24% per annum.

And for customers who honor their bills regularly, it’s 1.5% per month, 18% per annum, which means massive savings. I happen to fall in this category, hopefully yours too!

Singapore Wins Youth Olympic Bid

Woohoo, it seems that Singapore is on a row with events. First F1 Formula racing, then you get the ever first in the world’s night racing and now Youth Olympics to be hosted in our heartland Singapore in 2010!

Singapore Youth Olympic 2010 Host
(photo: yahoo)

With 53 votes to 44, Singapore aced Moscow and will be the first Southeast Asia country to light up the Olympic torch in 2010. Singapore will be spending 75.5 million on hosting the inaugaral event, with 24 venues, 4 venues will be staged up just for the Youth Olympics. We’ll be expecting over 3,500 althetes from age 14 – 18, competing in 26 sports.

Wow, now that calls for a good beer and cheers to everyone around me. It’s great when the nation excels and moves a step towards world recognition in the sporting arena.