No. of Public CPD Points: 1.5
Practice Area: Family
Practice in division of matrimonial assets is both lucrative and frustrating. The lack of clarity and outstanding questions within the two major substantive issues, viz. the definition of matrimonial assets and what constitutes the just and equitable proportions of division, make for lively practice. This must also be frustrating. When the Court of Appeal’s decision in AOO v AON  4 SLR 1169 affirmed that a husband will be required to behave reasonably even towards an adulterous wife, something is amiss when there is nothing within current approaches to these two major issues that overtly demands that the parties limit themselves to making only reasonable arguments. It is only a matter of time before some changes must be made to better align the law of division of matrimonial assets with its underlying concept of “deferred community of property” which idea is infused with reasonable expectations. This seminar updates us on the current state of the law of these two major issues and, then, by tracing the problems to the 1996 Parliamentary decisions upon amending the statutory provision, suggests what reform might be forthcoming.
The major recent decisions will be discussed and put into some context. The intention is to appreciate why the current state of the law is as it is, and where it might move towards. As we formulate our arguments and prepare our documents, we should use decided cases with some appreciation of what the ideal reading of the law could be.
Professor Leong Wai Kum - Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore
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