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Definition of Property as Matrimonial Asset Through the Lens of Therapeutic Justice

Leong Wai Kum

[2024] SAL Prac 4

The Family Justice Courts’ power to divide property between divorcing spouses under s 112 of the Women’s Charter 1961 (2020 Rev Ed) is exercisable only over property fulfilling the definition of matrimonial asset. Using the lens of therapeutic justice which the Family Justice Courts adopted, this paper discusses whether the major decisions are consistent with this view that parties should be prepared to accept fair enough decisions which have a better chance to heal their family rift so they can continue their joint co-operative parenting. The paper is organised into (a) the family justice system and therapeutic justice in Singapore; (b) the purpose of the definition of matrimonial asset in s 112(10); (c) the Court of Appeal’s categories of matrimonial assets supplemented, where necessary, by the five purposeful steps of analysis; and (d) advice to family law practitioners.