Singapore's Support Site For The Divorced
Saturday October 29th 2016

Jobless man made homeless and penniless by court’s decision after divorce

"Hello Gilbert, It was good. I find that support group helps everyone to feel less alone in their problem. I think that brings a lot of comfort. But at the end of the day, the way to gather strength for the new life and to overcome the fear of what's ahead is to seek within. I got to face the dragon alone as everyone's dragon is different. Each of us has a different story how we got ourselves into such a mess. It's a wake up call to do something about our lives and change old habit patterns." - a support group participant. Our next support group activity commences in December and will continue for 5 consecutive weeks. Please email or if you are keen to join us. We only accept 7 to 8 participants each group so please book early to avoid disappointment. Don't suffer alone - seek help! There is still a life to live after divorce. Gilbert Goh/Founder

First of all, tell us abit about yourself – how long were you married and any kids?

Twenty one  years of marriage with 3 kids -  girl – 19 , boy – 16   and another boy – 14.  I am fifty years old now.

I was a financial advisor  for the last 20 years before quitting recently to focus on my divorce case.

 I am also acting on my own defence  due to a lack of cash to get a lawyer.

 What was the court’s decision for visitation rights after the divorce?

The Court order allows me   ONE hour per week of visitation right even though there was no PPO or  any violence  at home.

I am also not  allow to visit the children’s schools as  I was accused of beating  them up without any report or evidence of  records from police or MOE.

I have a  criminal-free record so far.

I have also submitted in my  affidavit two  volunteer parties  as parental guidances  for the children after the divorce   as both my ex- wife and myself work long hours and could not really care for them. Getting a miad is also not a good solution  but this was totally ignored by the family court. All along, my two younger sons are practically left alone at home  after school.

What were the main reasons for ending the marriage?

My ex-spouse  wanted a divorce using the standard  reason -unreasonable behavior.

You told me earlier that you may be  made homeless because of the divorce proceedings  - any reason why?

 I am stripped of my HDB asset which has a  balance bank loan of less then $70,000.  I am also the main contributor to the loan repayment since day one of the marriage.

The order was to transfer all the sales proceeds,  without any CPF refund back to me, to my ex-spouse and the three children. She did not ask for any maintenance as her salary is $5, 800 a month.  

What are the details of the  court’s decision regarding financial arrangement for your ex-wife and three children?

Order to transfer 100% of my shares to the ex-pouse and three children without CPF refund to me – no further liabilities to the family on money matter after that.

I propose to buy over  her HDB share  and pay the children monthly maintenance –  at least I can be watchful over them after the divorce as I need to pass them the money. This was rejected by the court.

If you are homeless and jobless, what will be your plan for the future?

I am living on my office sublet  of $500 per month which was use to pay for my ex-spouse car park, town council bills, insurance premiums, etc and I am trying to sell out my HDB lease office   to pay off my credit card debt.

 I have registered with CDC and e2i  to look for a job but so far there is no news from them yet.

Are you ready to appeal against the court settlement decision?

In my opinion, the high court was just going through the motion  -  the judge  also never personally interviews  my 3 children but rest on the counseller evaluation report (CER)  of the family court of  2 sessions/less than 1 hour of interview with them. No home visit was also done.

The report was never release at all.

The high court judge also decided that the HDB sales was also not an issue even though I have made a counter proposal to buy over my ex-wife’s HDB shares. It was apparent that the court clearly is unconcerned  that I would be made homeless when the house sales go through. Though it may benefit my ex-spouse and 3 children, I have to bear the brunt of that decision.

My  option now is ONLY to buy resale flat and  the high court judge mentioned that it was not his issue as the court’s responsibility  is to protect the “family ” while I got nothing back from my  home sales . Which bank will lend me money to buy a resale HDB flat as I am still jobless and my CPF account is near empty. There is a strong chance that I may be made homeless soon.

 What changes do you want to see  in the family court?

I feel that the court is providing too much  rights to our women in view of the recurring issue of non-payment of maintenance.  By allowing them to have a lump sum on the house proceeds, they don’t have to worry about men not being able to pay their monthly maintenance. It is not as if my wife is a penniless housewife – she is earning a hefty salary of $5,800 a month and is far more financially secure than I am. The court’s  decision has completely empty me  and wipe out my CPF account money.  That is my retirement fund mind you!

I hope that the family court can be more understanding towards the needs of men caught in a divorce dog fight. We also want to move on with our life after the divorce. I know that I have to care for my family after the divorce but please don’t make me homeless and a bankrupt. I am not the one who wants the divorce anyway but I have to pay for the adverse decision!

I also ask the court to reconsider the decision to allow me just one  hour of visitation right a week! How can you bond with your children based on such limited visitation duration?

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