Can a husband make a claim on a property purchased before his marriage?
BALAKRISHNAN KALIAPPAN V SHAMEENA NATHESAN  1 LNS 363
- Shameena Nathesan (“Wife”) had filed for a divorce from Balakrishnan Kaliappan (“Husband”) and obtained an order, amongst others, that the Wife was given the sole right over their matrimonial home (“Home”) (“High Court Order”).
- Husband appealed against the High Court Order.
- The Home was registered under Wife’s name two (2) years before the marriage was registered.
- Husband paid for the deposit and solicitor’s fees in respect of the purchase of the Home, which the Wife paid back.
- Husband contended that he was not having a steady employment at the time of the purchase of the Home and therefore could not take up the loan for the purchase of the Home in his name, which is why the Home was registered in the Wife’s name.
- Wife took a loan from OCBC Bank (“Bank”) in her name to finance the purchase of the Home.
- Husband claimed that he is also entitled to the Home because he paid ten per cent (10%) deposit of the purchase price, the loan instalments as well as the cost of substantial renovation towards the Home.
- The High Court however did not accept the Husband’s contention above as it found that the monthly instalments were made via cash deposit machines and there was no confirmation that they were made by the Husband. And whilst there were monies transferred from the Husband’s account to the Wife’s account, these were not reflective of the loan repayment.
- As for the renovation cost, the Wife had produced evidence that she had paid the Husband back for the said cost as she did the initial deposit paid by him.
- Husband further claimed that a trust has been created in his favour [meaning the Wife holds his share on trust for the Husband] in respect of the Home as he had paid for the deposit and solicitor fees (which the Wife claimed had been paid back) as well as the loan instalments.
COURT OF APPEAL DECISION – APPEAL DISMISSED!
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and held as follows:
- The Husband had failed to prove that he had a hand in the acquisition of and had made improvements to the Home.
- On the issue of the trust, the Husband bore the burden of proving that he had paid fully or partly for the purchase of the Home but the Husband had failed to do so. Thus, the issue of creation of trust on the facts of this case, did not arise.