Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Bitter pill

Three years ago, a prominent Singaporean man died in a tragic car accident, leaving behind two teenage sons. He was already in the final stages of divorcing his wife. We all know this man as the grandson of a Singapore pioneer and philanthropist.

The family sued the insurance company for S$4.8m but was awarded $1.9m, the bulk of which went to his sons which was very fair. Before his death, he had plans to support his sons through university education abroad as well as the family’s expected maintenance expenses.

His wife, who had sought $2.4m, was awarded $211,000. Now this is the part that made me sit up. Why was she asking for so much in the first place? According to the court, the wife was ‘merely a step away’ from getting the divorce when the accident happened. She could only reasonably claim to be dependent on the deceased for four more years and not the 25 years projected in her claim.

I can only say, please let the dead man rest in peace. Obviously the marriage wasn’t working out but he’s already dead. Isn’t that the worst thing that can happen to anyone?

It came across as trying to capitalize on his misfortune doesn’t it? The marriage’s over but they must have been in love at some point in time. It usually takes two to make a marriage work anyway. Besides, she chose to marry him. After all, something good did come out of the marriage....the kids. He was 52 and she expected him to support her for another 25 years after the divorce? That doesn’t sound realistic. At 47, it shouldn’t be difficult for an educated and influential lady to survive or even remarry, especially after inheriting his assets. Well lady, it’s time to move on…

It upsets me to see women fighting tooth and nail over assets with their wealthy ex-husbands. We have seen too many high-profile cases here, sometime ridiculous ones that drag for years. I shall not go into details but really, would having so much money make a bitter person a better one?

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