Woman who 'brought nothing but grief' to short marriage with millionaire gets $5k as 'clean break'

Selina Lum
The Straits Times
Feb 28, 2024

At the age of 58, a Singaporean widower who had more than $10 million in assets met a 40-year-old woman through a dating agency in Taiwan.

He convinced her to move to Singapore and marry him here, but the marriage was short-lived.

Six months into the marriage, the woman returned to Taiwan and spent 10 months there. She flew back to Singapore after the man sent her $19,300.

After living with him for less than two months, she went back to Taiwan. He never saw her again.

The man succeeded in getting a divorce in Singapore.

In dividing the matrimonial assets, High Court judge Choo Han Teck said: “Given that she brought nothing but grief to the marriage, and added nothing to it during its brief span, there is nothing that can be awarded to her.”

In his judgment on Feb 27, the judge ordered that each person would retain the assets that were in their sole names.

As for maintenance, Justice Choo said it was fair to award the woman a lump sum of $5,000 as a “clean break”, given such a brief marriage.

“There is no evidence of what the defendant had done in her sojourn in Singapore, except that she was given $400 to $800 a month as allowance, in addition to the $19,300 that the plaintiff gave to cajole her to return to Singapore,” he said.

Justice Choo also commented on a lament the man had made in his affidavit.

The man, who has two adult children, said he had “longed for a supportive and peaceful relationship in (his) sunset years after being widowed, and this short-lived marriage has caused (him) much grief”.

The judge said: “Fifty-eight is hardly sunset; it is more like mid-afternoon, so there should be no rush in looking for wife No. 3.”

The man and the woman met in October 2018, and they had a long-distance relationship for a year.

She was sceptical about adapting to life in Singapore, but he convinced her to move here in November 2019. They married on Dec 1, 2019.

The man worked as a manager and earned more than $66,000 a month. She has a degree in costume design, but did not have a known job.

She did not work when she was in Singapore.

“She seemed bored, not at all keen to do any housework, and told the plaintiff so in a recorded text message,” said the judge.

On May 28, 2020, she left for Taiwan after promising that she would return to Singapore in a couple of months. She did not. 

“According to the plaintiff, he wanted very much for her to return, but she wanted very much for him to buy her an expensive house in Taiwan,” said the judge.

The man sent her $4,300 in July 2020, and $15,000 in October 2020. She flew back to Singapore in March 2021.

“The plaintiff’s elation lasted three weeks. The defendant proved to be difficult to live with, persisting in finding fault with the plaintiff, and making numerous demands for money without success,” said the judge.

On May 12, 2021, she went back to Taiwan for good.

The man filed for divorce on April 9, 2023.

The judge said the woman made a “feeble attempt” to contest the divorce application, but she did not file the required affidavit even though she was given extra time by the court to do so.

After interim judgment was granted on July 11, 2023, the proceedings moved to maintenance and the division of matrimonial assets.

In his judgment, Justice Choo set out the many instances where the woman ignored the court’s directions on matters such as the filing of documents, and did not turn up for scheduled hearings.

The man exhibited statements – which were not given under oath – in which she alleged that the man treated her like “an unpaid maid and sex slave”, and that she was bullied by the man and his two children.

The woman did appear at a hearing where she agreed to dissolve the marriage, but said she wanted to claim maintenance. No amount was specified in the judgment.

A mediation session via Zoom was then set up with her consent, but she abruptly logged out midway and did not return.

The woman was absent and did not have a lawyer when Justice Choo heard the case on Feb 19, 2024.

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.