What is a Maintenance Order and how can you get one?

Maintenance Order is a court order stating that a divorced or legally separated person must pay his/her former partner a regular sum in order to cover the costs of living.

Upon application, the court will consider all the circumstances of the case, including:

  1. Parties’ financial needs;

  2. Parties’ income earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources;

  3. Whether the party has any physical or mental disability;

  4. Contributions made by each party to the family welfare, including looking after the home or caring for the family, and the conduct of the parties;

  5. Standard of living enjoyed before the neglect or refusal; and

  6. In the case of a child, the manner in which he/she was being, and in which the parties to the marriage expected him/her to be educated or trained.

If and when you do obtain a Maintenance Order, it will state:

  1. The amount of maintenance to be paid;

  2. When it is to be paid;

  3. To whom it is to be paid; and

  4. The method of payment – whether payment is made to the Complainant directly or deposited into the Complainant’s bank account. Payment to a bank account is preferred as there will be evidence of payment.

What happens at the trial?

Generally, trials for a Maintenance order application are held in open court, before a Judge. Parties have to attend court, together with their witnesses, if any. If parties are represented, lawyers will be present for all court proceedings. Do note that if any party fails to turn up for Court when their presence is required, they will be marked as:

  • An absent Complainant (the Applicant) will have his/her application struck out. 

  • An absent Respondent (the person whom the application is filed against) will have a warrant of arrest issued against him.

During the open court hearing, the Complainant will give his/her evidence first. After being called to the stand and sworn in, the Complainant’s solicitor will lead the evidence of the Complainant by asking him/her some questions. 

Next, the Complainant will be cross examined by the Respondent’s lawyer, if represented. The purpose of cross examination is to ‘poke holes’ in the Complainant’s story so that the Court will not, or be less inclined to believe the Complainant’s version of events.

Once that is done, the Complainant’s solicitor will re-examine the Complainant in an attempt to ‘patch the holes’ created by the Respondent. Subsequently, the same process will be repeated for the Complainant’s witnesses (if any), as well as for the Respondent and his/her witnesses. 

Later on, parties will give their arguments, telling the Judge why the maintenance order should (Complainant) or should not (Respondent) be given. After looking through the relevant documents, hearing the evidence given by parties and witnesses, and listening to the submissions made, the Judge will decide whether or not to grant the application for maintenance, which concludes the matter.

What can you do to get started?

The trial process is very technical. Thus, engaging a good lawyer is very important and helpful, as they will help you make the necessary submissions and assist you in drafting the relevant documents. If you are seeking legal assistance on a maintenance matter, do speak to our Lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu. 

He has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws, including Maintenance orders, and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

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