Apart from the splitting of matrimonial assets and child custody arrangements, one of the most important issues to think about when going through a divorce is alimony. More commonly known as spousal maintenance in Singapore, alimony is a financial arrangement that aims to provide support to one spouse—typically the wife—following the dissolution of marital bonds. It can affect your post-divorce budget and financial stability.
The sum and duration of maintenance are usually decided by the court if both parties are unable to come to an agreement. In this article, we’ll discuss more about alimony and the duration of maintenance to help you better understand how it works in Singapore.
How Long Does Alimony Last in Singapore?
The duration of alimony in Singapore is not fixed. Rather, it is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on various factors. Usually, the court will order for maintenance to be given until the wife passes on or remarries.
When deciding the sum of maintenance and for how long it has to be paid, the court will first assess the divorce case, analysing the specific details of the marriage and the post-divorce financial situation. This will help the legal system to consider the unique circumstances and needs of both parties involved, striking a balance that ensures neither party faces undue hardship.
Some factors that the court will take into account include:
1. Length of Marriage
Longer marriages may result in longer spousal maintenance periods, especially if one spouse has been economically dependent on the other throughout the marriage.
2. Financial Needs
The court evaluates the present and anticipated financial requirements of both partners, taking into account their ongoing living costs and obligations. This encompasses elements like housing expenditures, medical expenses, and childcare needs. These will also impact the amount of alimony to be provided.
3. Earning Capacities
Both parties will also be evaluated for their earning capacities. Usually, if the husband has a significantly higher earning potential, he might be required to provide support for a longer period of time, or provide a higher maintenance sum to help his wife maintain a lifestyle similar to the one they had in their marriage.
The court will also consider the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the divorce, both parties’ physical and mental abilities, their contributions to the marriage and welfare of the family, as well as how the matrimonial assets were divided. These are outlined in Section 114 of the Women’s Charter.
In cases where the wife is financially capable and does not require maintenance at the time of divorce, the court may award $1 in nominal maintenance to preserve her right to seek substantive maintenance if the need arises. The court will only grant such an order if it believes that the wife will need support in the future. For example, if she is the primary caregiver for a special needs child of the marriage.
Maintenance of the Husband
The Women’s Charter has been amended to allow husbands to seek maintenance as well. However, there are certain criteria to be eligible for alimony.
- If the husband is incapacitated by a physical or mental disability prior to or during the marriage
- If the husband is unable to earn a living due to the disability
- If the husband cannot support himself
If you’re still wondering how long does alimony last in Singapore, the answer is, it depends. Spousal maintenance is complex topic that can only be decided depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your divorce. If you require assistance with matters related to divorce or maintenance, do speak to an experienced divorce lawyer.
The team of lawyers at Family Law Specialists are well-versed in the area of family law and divorce, and are here to give you the legal assistance you need. Schedule your free consultation with a divorce lawyer today.