TNL v TNK and another appeal and another matter [2017] SGCA 15

TNL v TNK and another appeal and another matter [2017] SGCA 15

Our matrimonial team had the pleasure of representing the wife in the landmark case, TNL v TNK, which introduced notable developments in the law regarding division of matrimonial assets.

Before TNL v TNK, the methodology in ANJ v ANK [2015] SGCA 34 was favoured by the Courts in guiding the division of assets.

The Court of Appeal in TNL v TNK revisited this methodology and qualified the circumstances in which it should be applied – in dual income marriages. In cases where it is long single income marriage, that is, when one party is the sole breadwinner and the other the homemaker, a different approach should be adopted.
This is because the methodology in ANJ v ANK will favour the financial provider by giving them credit for both their financial AND non-financial contributions, at the expense of the other spouse.

In TNL v TNK, it was a marriage of 35 years and parties had three adult children. The Husband, being the one who brought home the bacon, was a director in a company he helped to start. Given that the court’s position in precedent cases like Tan Hwee Lee v Tan Cheng Guan and another appeal and another matter [2012] 4 SLR 785 and Lock Yeng Fun v Chua Hock Chye [2007] 3 SLR(R) 520 is to arrive at an equal division of assets in long single income marriages, the Court of Appeal was in agreement with this approach. Therefore, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision below for a 50:50 division of the matrimonial assets.

This is consistent with the court’s philosophy is that a marriage is an equal partnership. Therefore, the approach is just and equitable because it gives substantial credit to the non-working spouse’s contributions.