Spousal Maintenance in the Pandemic
Published on 9th October, 2020 by Hazell Ng
Our Head of Matrimonial Law Practice, Ms Hazell Ng, examines the issue of spousal maintenance in the covid-19 pandemic. In particular, we will discuss the possibility of seeking spousal maintenance for a potential loss in employment.
In doing so, we examine two past Court of Appeal decisions which held that after divorce, the ex-husband does not have a duty to be a “general insurer” for the ex-wife in relation to potential loss of employment. One has to be mindful that the two decisions were given in 2016 - before the pandemic.
It could be seen in ATE v ATD and TDT v TDS, that the Court is generally less inclined to award spousal maintenance (or nominal maintenance) to provide for the vicissitudes of life, a fortiori to subject the other party with an obligation to insure their spouse just because that party claims that she may potentially face retrenchment or unemployment in the future. Something more must be shown on the facts and circumstances of the particular case to justify the Court awarding the spousal maintenance / nominal maintenance that the wife is seeking. However, if the spouse had lost her employment during or before the ancillary matters hearing, this would be factors considered by the Court in awarding maintenance.
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