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LEGAL UPDATES Court Has Jurisdiction to Order Division of Matrimonial Assets and Maintenance in a Void Marriage

FEB - 2012

A void marriage is a marriage deemed invalid from the point of its inception. In the eyes of the law, no marital relationship had ever been created between the parties. A voidable marriage, however, is considered valid until it is voided by a judgment of nullity.
But what happens when couples of void/voidable marriages split up? Does the court have the same power to divide matrimonial assets and order maintenance as it does in a judgment of divorce? Should there even be a distinction drawn between void and voidable marriages?
These vexing questions were considered in a recent landmark judgment of the Singapore Court of Appeal in ADP v ADQ [2012] SGCA 6. The decision overturned the High Court‘s ruling and held that the court has jurisdiction to order the division of matrimonial assets and maintenance in both void and voidable marriages.


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