April 26, 2009
YOUR PERSONAL ADVISER: FINANCE
Equal share of condo proceeds
Q I am married, without any kids. My husband and I live in a condominium. His mother is a joint owner. He is paying for the home solely by himself, including the monthly housing loan and all other bills, while I am paying the monthly maintenance and conservancy fee of $300.
In the event of a divorce, do I have a chance of fighting for an equal share from the proceeds of the condominium?
A Normally a legal owner would have beneficial interest in the property. The beneficial interest acquired by the mother will be in proportion to her financial contribution. However, if the property was bought without any financial contribution from her, then it is arguable that she has no beneficial interest in the property.
Upon a divorce, the court can order the division of the sale proceeds attributed to the share in the condominium that is the matrimonial asset. For example, if the mother has a 30 per cent share, then only 70 per cent share in the condominium can be available for division between you and your husband.
The division will be in such proportions as the court thinks just and equitable, considering several factors such as length of marriage, and the parties' direct and indirect financial contribution towards acquisition of the matrimonial property.
Indirect contributions could include efforts to enhance the welfare of the family, looking after the home or caring for the family or any aged or dependant of either party. The facts that you have no children and that your husband's financial contribution is significantly more than yours are not factors in your favour.
Your contribution to the maintenance of the condominium is a factor in your favour. However, to have a higher chance of getting 50per cent of the matrimonial asset, you need to show there were extensive indirect contributions on your part.
Lie Chin Chin