Division of CPF Assets (Monies, House, Investments) after a Divorce
How can CPF-related assets such as CPF monies, the matrimonial home paid using CPF monies and CPF investments be divided in a divorce?
How can CPF-related assets such as CPF monies, the matrimonial home paid using CPF monies and CPF investments be divided in a divorce? Here are the key proceedings and information you need to be acquainted with.
The court has the power to divide matrimonial assets between the divorcing parties in proportions which it thinks are just and equitable.
According to the Women’s Charter, matrimonial assets include any asset:
- Acquired during the marriage; or
- Acquired before the marriage and
- Used by the couple or their children during the marriage; or
- Which had been substantially improved during the marriage.
Gifts or inheritances that were substantially improved during the marriage are not considered matrimonial assets unless they are the matrimonial home.
Following this definition, the portion of CPF monies (and other related assets, such as CPF investments) that were accumulated during the marriage or paid towards the acquisition of the matrimonial home, which is in itself usually regarded as a matrimonial asset, can be considered matrimonial assets to be divided by the court in a divorce.
The court holds the power to order a division of the parties’ CPF monies if the parties are unable to agree on how their matrimonial assets should be divided, and let the court decide on this matter on their behalf.
To ensure a fair distribution between you and your ex-spouse, factors such as the extent of financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage and the needs of each party after divorce will be considered.
Financial contributions include money spent to acquire matrimonial assets, while non-financial contributions include looking after the home.
If your ex-spouse is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident and has been granted a portion of your CPF monies, the division can be done in 2 ways:
If your ex-spouse is a foreigner, the court may only make a charging order.
Under a transfer order, the court can order an immediate transfer of your CPF savings to your ex-spouse’s CPF account, with the amount subject to the court’s discretion. This transfer of CPF monies can take place without you setting aside your retirement sum first.
Once the transfer is made, your ex-spouse can use these monies for approved CPF schemes such as housing, investment and education. He/she may also withdraw the monies when he/she turns 55.
To commence the transfer of CPF monies, you will need to submit the court order for the division of matrimonial assets to the CPF Board (CPFB).
Under a charging order, your ex-spouse will be granted his/her share of your CPF monies in cash only when you become eligible to withdraw your CPF savings. Payment to the ex-spouse is subject to you setting aside your retirement sum first.
For the ex-spouse to receive payment, both parties have to submit the court order in person at the CPFB’s Retirement Withdrawals Department.
Once the CPFB has received your documents, the application will be processed and the monies will be paid to the party through GIRO within 10 working days or via cheque within 15 working days.
The court can order you to transfer your share of the matrimonial home to your ex-spouse, with partial or no refunds made to your CPF account for your contributions to the property’s purchase price.
If you have been granted a partial refund of the CPF monies that you’ve used to purchase the property, your ex-spouse will transfer the refund amount to your CPF account(s) together with accrued interest.
Alternatively, if the court has decided not to award you any refund of the CPF monies you’ve used to purchase the property, then you will not be entitled to receive any refund. This is even if your ex-spouse later decides to sell the property.
The CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS) is applicable to parties who have invested their CPF monies in various places such as insurance products, bonds and shares to enhance their retirement savings. If you have been ordered by the court to transfer your share of the investments to your ex-spouse, there are 2 ways to do so.
The transfer order is done through:
- An immediate transfer of your investments to your ex-spouse; or
- A cash-in of your investments with the sale proceeds transferred to your ex-spouse.
To transfer the investments, log onto the CPF website using your SingPass account, click on My Requests under the my cpf Online Services panel > Investment > Apply to Transfer CPF Investments Sale Proceeds (Division of CPF-related Matrimonial Assets) and fill in the form accordingly.
The court can order a charge to be placed on your investment sale proceeds. This permits your ex-spouse to withdraw the sale proceeds in cash:
- When you turn 55 years old; or
- Before you turn 55 years old, provided you are eligible to do so and have set aside your retirement sum.
If your ex-spouse is a foreigner, he/she can only request the court to make a charging order. You will also not need to set aside your retirement sum.
If your matrimonial home is an HDB flat, you would need CPFB’s approval for your Agreed Matrimonial Property Plan (AMPP), which will formally set out the agreement between you and your spouse as to how your HDB flat is to be divided.
Before the AMPP is filed, both spouses must submit standard query forms to the HDB and CPFB for answers to queries such as:
- The amount of CPF monies each party has used to buy the flat, and how much interest has accrued on this amount
- The amount of CPF monies each party has in their CPF accounts
- Whether either party has to set aside a certain amount of CPF monies when the HDB flat is sold
These queries help the court to decide how the flat should be distributed between the parties. HDB and CPFB will respond within 1 month upon receiving the queries.
After the AMPP has been prepared, the plaintiff (the party filing for divorce) must serve the AMPP on HDB. HDB will then give a written reply as to whether it agrees to the plan within 1 month of service.
However, if the parties cannot agree on how the HDB flat is to be divided, both spouses will each have to draw up a Proposed Matrimonial Property Plan (PMPP), detailing how the HDB flat should be divided in the divorce. In this case, only the plaintiff will have to submit standard query forms to the HDB and CPFB.
Please note that CPF nominations are not revoked after a divorce. Therefore, if you had previously nominated your ex-spouse to receive your CPF monies after your death and you no longer wish for this to be the case, you may want to change your CPF nomination after the divorce.
This article was re-published with permission from SingaporeLegalAdvice. The information provided above does not constitute legal advice. You should obtain specific legal advice from a lawyer before taking any legal action. Although we try our best to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website, you rely on it at your own risk.