Ferrari-driving 'kept man' does not have to share $14m in assets with ex-wife: Court

The interior of the Family Court at 3, Havelock Square.
The interior of the Family Court at 3, Havelock Square.PHOTO: ST FILE

Matrimonial assets won't include share in properties he owns with girlfriend

A "kept man" who drove a $1.3 million Ferrari and jointly owned seven private properties worth $14 million with his Sentosa-based girlfriend will not have to share these assets with his former wife, a family court judge has ruled.

District Judge Toh Wee San held that the man's share in the properties could not be included as part of the pool of matrimonial assets to be divided between him and his ex-wife following their divorce.

The judge said in decision grounds last week: "The bottom line was despite (the husband's) conduct, the (ex-wife) did not dispute (the girlfriend's) substantial and overwhelming payments for the properties."

District Judge Toh said she was bound by a High Court order obtained by the girlfriend last year after a hearing, which held that the man holds his rights and interests and titles to the disputed properties on trust for the girlfriend and he will transfer them to her.

Interim judgment for the couple's divorce was granted in November 2015 and the case before District Judge Toh dealt with the division of the couple's matrimonial assets and ancillary matters.

The man, 55, and his ex-wife, 54, wed in September 1990 and have two children aged 27 and 24.

The marriage began to break down in 2000 following the man's dalliance with his girlfriend, with whom he has two children aged 14 and 11. He had separated from his ex-wife and was living with his girlfriend and their children.

 

The girlfriend became a successful businesswoman. He claimed to live as her "consort", leading a comfortable life and providing for his ex-wife and their children.

A separate judgment last September in relation to the man's bid to discontinue maintenance payments to his ex-wife noted he lived in a Sentosa Cove house and the properties jointly owned with his girlfriend included an apartment unit each in St Regis, The Clift and The Orion, as well as a few Bedok Residences units, all paid for by the girlfriend.

The man's lawyer Nicholas Lazarus had explained then that his client's role as "consort" meant he was the male equivalent of a mistress, or a kept man.

District Judge Toh ordered that the man continue to maintain his ex-wife at $2,000 a month for the next one year and $1,500 per month thereafter. She ordered, as an alternative, a lump-sum payout of $150,000 made up of a $2,000 monthly payout for the next one year followed by $1,500 monthly for the next seven years.

The court found the net value of the couple's assets totalled $514,308, which included the matrimonial home.

Lawyer Raymond Yeo, in arguing for the ex-wife's portion, said she was the primary caregiver of their two children and the man had abandoned the family in 2000. But she did not dispute that he carried on to provide for her and their children. He also paid for her medical bills, gambling debts and helped her family in Malaysia financially.

The man disputed the extent of her indirect contributions, and claimed the child-minding was done by his mother and a domestic helper he hired.

The judge apportioned 35 per cent of the total assets to the ex-wife from the 25-year marriage. She is appealing against the judgment. The parties' names were redacted from court documents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2019, with the headline ''Kept man' does not have to share $14m in assets with ex-wife: Court'. Print Edition | Subscribe