I am seeking justice for my sister in Singapore. We are having difficulties for several incidents that happened and happening in her current marriage.
Family Violence and Chased out of matrimonial home
Shortly into their marriage in December 2016, there were many problems that arose and my brother-in-law commit family violence which left with no choice that my sister to apply for a personal protection order (PPO) in December 2018.
After the PPO application, my brother-in-law chased my sister out of her matrimonial home (Public Housing Development Board - HDB) and threaten if she don’t move out, he will call the police as my sister is neither the owner nor occupier so he has the right not to let her stay in the house. My sister had no choice but to take only some of her basic daily necessities with her and temporary stay over my place in late December 2018. Around 98% of my sister’s belonging is still inside her matrimonial home.
After a couple of days, my sister went back to her matrimonial home to take her marriage certificate, she saw other woman’s belonging in her matrimonial home. She kept her calm and took her marriage certificate and left the matrimonial home. After several discussion between my sister and brother-in-law, they came to a conclusion to proceed with a divorce with condition that there will be no 3rd party belonging or person in their matrimonial home until the divorce case is completed. This was agreed by my brother-in-law.
However, the divorce did not proceed because the marriage is less than 3 years. Divorce can only be filed after full term of 3 years marriage (i.e. end December 2019 in this case).
Access and Retrieving Properties at the matrimonial home
After the agreement, my sister went back to her matrimonial home in early January 2019 to pack and clear some of her things. Immediately she stepped into her matrimonial home, again she saw 3rd party belonging and even more items in her matrimonial home. While she was packing, the mistress came out of somewhere in the matrimonial home, my sister asked her to leave the house immediately but she turned hostile and the scuffle started. Police was reported. Since then my sister was no longer able to access her matrimonial home.
My sister had no choice but to engage a solicitor to write to my brother-in-law to allow her to access and retrieve her properties in her matrimonial home in late January 2019. After several correspondents, finally my brother-in-law agreed to allow her to access and retrieves her properties in late February 2019, but 3 days before the agreed date and time, he suddenly don’t allow her to access and retrieves her property and made baseless allegations to my sister that she caused harm to his mistress in the above event mentioned.
My sister and I went ahead on the agreed date and time together with the police in late February 2019 to her matrimonial home. No only he refused to let my sister access and retrieve her properties on that day, he also had his mistress with him during that time. He also mentioned there was nothing belong to my sister in the matrimonial home and demanded we seek court order in this case. We had also made a police report in this event.
After less than two weeks, we went to file a police report that my brother-in-law had taken away my sister’s properties away from her and refused to return to her. And also suspected he either given some of my sister’s properties to her mistress or her friends visiting her in my sister’s matrimonial home. He might also sold it away for cash. We managed to list down 131 items which my sister can remember together with floor plan drawn where the properties are all located in her matrimonial home. We have also managed to value the items which amounted to SGD105, 277.00 in total.
We continued to ask our solicitor to send him letters for us to access and return us the properties. After 6 months (end of June 2019), he agreed to return only 4 items out of 131 items belonged to my sister and willingly to hand over at the entrance of the matrimonial home on the said date and time. He mentioned the rest of the items do not belong to my sister nor in his possession. We have no choice but to collect the 4 items on the agreed date and time (end June 2019). However, on the day of event, one of the returned items is a personal safe box which included valuable items was missing. We had filed a police report on this and the police has classified as thief but as at early September 2019, the police status is unsolved case.
Interim Maintenance Order
While my sister is struggling with her access and retrieve of her properties in January 2019, she has also filed an interim maintenance order against my brother-in-law as she was being chased out suddenly of her matrimonial home. She has to rent a place to stay as my place can only be temporary due to limitation of space at my place. This causes her incremental expenses in her daily expenditure. My brother-in-law refused to give her any maintenance and contested my sister’s interim maintenance order and the case is still on going.
In my brother-in-law’s affidavits, these are some information we found
1) My sister did not regards the matrimonial home as matrimonial home
2) He is covering his undeclared extra income in his personal bank statements rather than his business bank account where he mentioned his business is at loss
3) He exhaust all his travel allowance while travelling where his credit card bills spend on his mistress since January 2019
4) He has been giving monthly allowance to his mistress in March 2019 onwards
While my sister is undergoing stress in her marriage life, the mistress imposes a made-up Facebook ID to defame my sister thru her company facebook in a post in early July 2019. This incident went viral internally within 48 hours and created one of local media attention. This incident has jeopardized my sister’s career, loss of income and ruined her reputation in the company. It has added to her stress level and she felt harassment with regards of this post which was baseless and groundless. This incident has been lodged to the local authority and magistrate’s complaint.
Since my sister knew about the mistress in January 2019, the mistress has been actively “show off” in her social media (as public account) all the intimidate actions and pictures with my brother-in-law and even challenge my sister in some of her posts.
Not only these, my brother-in-law also mentioned in his own affidavits (interim maintenance case) that he is not denying that he has a strong foundation and commitment to his girlfriend.
We also did a basic individual search of the mistress in May 2019 that her residential address in her national ID as per my sister’s matrimonial home.
Summary of issues we are facing:
1) Interim maintenance application – approx. SGD11,000
2) Access and retrieves of properties – approx. SGD 55,000
3) Divorce on the ground of adultery and ancillary claim - approx. SGD50,000
4) Defamation – approx. SGD100,000 (overseas and local)
We have been seeking legal advices and help but we were advise that all of our cases above (four) are very weak and will required huge amount of legal costs.
The Justice we are seeking as follows:
1) Interim maintenance application
Professional advise - my sister is working, short marriage and no children. She is self-sufficient
Our thoughts - my sister is being chased out of her own matrimonial home, have to rent a place, the mistress allows to be officially stay matrimonial home, don’t allow my sister to access her matrimonial home and retrieves her properties.
Justice we are seeking for is providing my sister’s monthly rental maintenance. We felt unfair that my sister is working and the property do not have her name, as a wife, the husband can lawfully chased her out of her matrimonial home and allows his mistress to stay in. If anyone knows the law well, all married couple can play this “game”.
2) Access and retrieves of properties
i. the matrimonial home do not have my sister’s name, property law applies only
ii. Civil law suits (two) will need to pursue
1. Access to the house to retrieve items
2. Recovering value of the missing items – this is a very difficult as there are 3 grounds to look for
a. Proving the items are bought by my sister with receipts
b. Proving the items were brought into the matrimonial home
c. Proving the items didn’t remove out of the matrimonial home
Our thoughts - my sister is being chased out of her own matrimonial home and how would have brought out all her belongings which required mover help. And also the items she brought into the matrimonial house during her move in were all packed into boxes, how to prove in this case. And also how to prove that she didn’t move the items out. My sister kept all her receipts in her matrimonial house which her husband there wasn’t in the matrimonial house
Justice we are seeking for (1) we are unable to access and retrieve the properties since Jan 19 till now (Sep 19), more than half a year, the items can either be sold, thrown or given away. (2) Compensation of missing items in matrimonial home where some of 131 items, we do have receipts (where we asked the retail stores to retrieve) and pictures of the items my sister were wearing/carrying. Most of the retail stores mentioned the record too long time ago, they were unable to retrieve it.
3) Divorce on the ground of adultery and ancillary claim
i. Divorce on the ground of adultery burden of proving is harder as will need Private investigator (PI) report rather than all the facts already stated in my brother-in-law interim maintenance affidavits and the mistress’s social media intimidate pictures or videos
ii. Ancillary claim is weak as there is no direct contribution to the matrimonial home and my sister is working, no maintenance fees to be given
Our thoughts – why need a PI where all evident are pointing that my brother-in-law is having an affair. Ancillary claim which my sister did had indirectly contribution to some of the fixture and fittings, furniture of the matrimonial home. Although my sister is working but she was been chased out and needs to rent a place, rental maintenance will be needed. And how to prove "hardships" if the marriage is less than 3 years full term in order to get divorce. If either party plays this kinda of games in their 1st year of marriage, the other suffered party has to silent for 2 years.....
Justice we are seeking for (1) Divorce on the ground of adultery (2) Ancillary claim which my sister contributed to the matrimonial home and rental maintenance.
i. Facebook will not release the made-up account identity, therefore unable to sue “the person” who posted
ii. Magistrate’s complaint was being rejected due to this is not abusive harassment to provide a court order for the police to investigate
Our thoughts – this is unfair for those being “defame” in social media
Justice we are seeking for defamation claim which will need to engage solicitor to send in legal letter to Facebook headquarter as the “fight” to trace the made-up facebook account will be under Facebook HQ location law.
We will be using these funds to fund the legal costs to the “RIGHT” lawyer we can find locally to fight the right Justice for us. Once we have the funds, we are able to execute as soon as possible as all these issues have been dragging since December 2018 where funds are limited.
Your support will be appreciated by us where Justice can be found. We will be sharing all updates in the progress of how the funds use, each and every case progression to everyone who has supported us.