Credit bureau collects more than $1.2 million owed in spousal support to single mothers

An intervention method, which records unpaid matrimonial debt on an individual's credit report, has collected a total of $1.28million on behalf of single mothers whose ex-partners did not pay the support ordered by the courts.

The DP SME Commercial Credit Bureau, which does the collection, said on Friday that it has successfully helped 123 women - out of more than 150 women who approached them - since the service started in June 2011. This translates to a success rate of about eight in 10. The biggest payment received was for $180,000 while the smallest was $50.

A person who is owed spousal or child-maintenance payments can take the court order to the credit bureau, which will then record the debt and share this information with its more than 700 member companies, which include banks, retailers and moneylenders. Those who wish to get help may approach the bureau with a copy of their court order and supporting documents. The bureau can be reached at 6320-1900 and the service is free.

The bureau is operated by credit and business information bureau DP Information Group and its work is approved by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. It hopes to help another 500 people in 2014, said its senior general manager Ong Siew Kim. "While the numbers helped by the bureau are significant, there are still many thousands of women struggling to get the money they are owed from their ex-spouses," she said.