23 June 2023
Foo Soon Yien
What is lump-sum maintenance?
At the end of a divorce, the court can grant a few types of maintenance orders to be made and one of these is lump-sum maintenance, which is a single payment made to the ex-spouse.
Under what circumstances will the court order lump-sum maintenance?
As summarised in the case of AYM v AYL and another appeal  4 SLR 559 (“AYM v AYL”), this is usually done when there is a need to:
Such an order would not or is unlikely to be made in cases where:
However, these factors are not exhaustive and are subject to other considerations.
How do the courts calculate the amount for lump-sum maintenance?
To calculate the amount of lump-sum maintenance to be paid, the court multiplies the sum they determine the spouse should receive monthly to a lump-sum multiplier (“the Formula”) developed by the court in Ong Chen Leng v Tan Sau Poo  2 SLR(R) 545 (“Ong Chen Leng Multiplier”):
The following is an example of an application of the Formula:
Average life expectancy of a woman in Singapore: 85 years old
Usual retirement age of a Singapore male worker: 65 years old
Age of the wife at the time of divorce: 66 years old
Court determines that the wife requires $2,000 a month, or $24,000 a year
Therefore, the amount that needs to be paid in a lump-sum is:
The court does not strictly apply the Formula to determine the amount for lump-sum maintenance
The courts do not strictly apply the Formula. The court in TNL v TNK and another appeal and another matter  1 SLR 609 acknowledged that the Ong Chen Leng Multiplier was not intended to be the only method for quantifying the appropriate multiplier for lump-sum maintenance.The court considers other factors as well, such as the actual lump-sum multiplier sought by the wife. The court may choose to follow the wife’s wishes rather than strictly rely on the Formula, and if the lump-sum is to be made upfront, the amount may be discounted. Further, section 114(1) of the Women’s Charter (Cap 353, 2009 Rev Ed) makes it clear that the court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case when assessing maintenance, including but not limited to:
Lastly, it must be noted that the court’s power to order maintenance is supplementary to the power to order the division of matrimonial assets, and that proceeds from the division of matrimonial assets should be the main source of financial support in a divorce. The award of maintenance should be no more than what is necessary to “weather the transition of the divorce”. In line with this principle, the court can consider a multiplier to be “too generous” and order a reduction of the amount of lump-sum maintenance to be paid.
Lump-sum maintenance is one of the many maintenance orders the court can make in a divorce. If you are currently undergoing a divorce and seeking maintenance for yourself, it is crucial to understand your entitlement and the relevant laws in Singapore. Engaging a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer will help guarantee the most favourable result possible.
Post date. Edit this to change the date post was posted. Does not show up on published site. 23/6/2023
The materials in these articles have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. If you require legal advice for your particular circumstances, please consult a suitably qualified legal counsel. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely or act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information in these articles is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and we do not accept any liability for error or omission. The authors of the articles are or were employees of BR Law Corporation at the time of publication, but may no longer be, now or in the future, in the employ of the firm.
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Subscribe to our quarterly newsetter to keep up to date with a wealth of insights from the BR Law, BR Family Assets and BR Corporate services team.