How does the court determine the quantum of maintenance to be paid to a spouse under section 77 of the Law Reform of (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976?
NG PING PING (P) V CHONG KOK KEONG (L)  1 LNS 44
- Ng Ping Ping (“Wife”) and Chong Kok Keong (“Husband”) were legally married and are blessed with a son who is aged 7 years old (“Child”).
- After their marriage, they stayed in their matrimonial home (“Matrimonial Home”).
- Wife admitted that Husband had bought the household necessities, paid the utilities bills, housing loan, domestic helper, nursery, school fees throughout their marriage until seven (7) years later on 31 August 2018 when he had apparently left the Matrimonial Home and moved into another house.
- Wife alleged that after leaving the Matrimonial Home, Husband had stopped paying maintenance for her, the Child and other payments.
- Wife listed down the expenses for the Child totalling RM9,091-00 and her own expenses of RM24,000-00 a month.
- It is the Wife’s argument that Husband is a successful businessman and owns 3 companies.
- Since Husband walked out of the Matrimonial Home, Wife has had to self-finance all the expenses and had to utilise her savings and borrowed money from her family since she had stopped working with no income.
- On 17 June 2019, Wife started working with a company and earns RM25,833-33.
- Wife referred her marital problem to the Marriage Tribunal on 27 March 2019.
- Husband in his reply said that he has been paying for the Matrimonial Home since November 2016 until June 2019, an amount which has since increased from RM7,650-00 to RM8,013-00 presently.
- From July 2019 the Wife had agreed to pay for the Matrimonial Home on an equal 50:50 proportion.
- Husband claimed that his gross salary was only RM16,666-66 and his monthly expenses and other expenses came up to about RM17,653-00 per month.
- Wife claimed that Husband has a duty to maintain the Child and her by placing them in the same position as they were before and since he has failed to pay since September 2018, the court should order the payment to commence from September 2018.
HIGH COURT DECISION – APPLICATION DISMISSED!
- The High Court held that in order to determine the payment of maintenance, the court shall have regard to the means (affordability) and needs of the parties.
- Regard shall also be given to the degree of responsibility to be apportioned to each party for the breakdown of the marriage.
- After considering the facts, the court was of the view that the claim by the Wife was unreasonable and unsustainable as she had failed to provide strong evidence to show the need for those said expenses on a monthly basis.