September 6, 2017

“A common misconception is that women are automatically entitled to spousal maintenance”, shares Family and Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth in her article written for theAsianparent

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth contributed an article published in theAsianparent titled “Post-divorce formalities in Singapore: What you should know about spousal support”. The article was first published on theAsianparent on 6 September 2017. Post-divorce formalities in Singapore: What you should know about spousal support Source: Copyright © theAsianparent 2017 Date: 6 September August 2017 Post-divorce formalities in Singapore: Understanding one's rights and obligations when a marriage breaks down... Once a decision has been made to dissolve a marriage, it is normal for both parties to experience uncertainty, denial, grief, and oftentimes anger. Parties wonder what went wrong. However, once the maelstrom of emotions subside, considerations such as spousal or child support, the division of matrimonial assets and child care arrangements surface. Though divorce is not a decision to be taken lightly, it need not be a painful protracted process for the separating couple. Understanding one’s rights and obligations when a marriage breaks down can help transition parties during the divorce process. Making sense of spousal maintenance A common misconception is that women are automatically entitled to spousal maintenance. This is not the case. Both men and women can apply for maintenance and the court looks at certain factors to determine whether the party seeking maintenance has such a need and if so, then the quantum of a maintenance award. Factors the court takes into consideration include the age of the couple, how long have they been married, their lifestyle, contributions made by each party to the family and the financial needs and responsibilities of both parties in the future. As the adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Enter into these considerations fully prepared. List expenses in detail and support why you have these claims. For example, if you have a medical condition or you are on long-term or ongoing medication and need financial support to assist, I recommend submitting a medical report specifying what the condition is, the medication needed, and the cost of such medication each month. Another query I typically get is whether spousal maintenance lasts forever. It does not. Spousal support ceases when the wife or husband receiving maintenance remarries, or when either party passes away. Dealing with maintenance defaults and what can be done For many, non-payment of maintenance is a real problem which persists. Common reasons are that the payor is in financial difficulty, or that the divorce was simply bitter and contentious. In cases where there is a default on maintenance payments, the onus is on the receiving party to file a complaint for the recovery of maintenance arrears. That process has recently been made easier with the introduction of Integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS) since July 2017. It allows claimants to file their maintenance applications online at their own convenience.   Restructuring your family No one enters a marriage expecting to part ways down the road, but breakdowns in relationships and marriages do happen. Although issues like spousal or child maintenance can strain the relationship between ex-spouses, my advice for both parties is to appreciate that they both have needs and interests. It is worthwhile remembering that the couple is still a family unit if children are involved. The main focus for the couple going forward would be how they can restructure their family to ensure that they do what is best for their children.
September 4, 2017

Construction & Infrastructure Partner Conrad Campos advises property buyers to discount the usually attractive illustrations of the development as they may be subjective, as published in The Straits Times

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Construction & Infrastructure Partner Conrad Compos advised that beyond mandatory particulars such as location and land tenure, which must be provided accurately, buyers should discount the usually attractive illustration or depictions of the development as they may be subjective in The Straits Times. The article was first published in The Straits Times on 3 September 2017. Hey, where's the fountain? Some condo buyers question lack of design features that had been advertised earlier Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 3 September 2017 Author: Annabeth Leow Several unit owners at Braddell condominium E Maison have raised the question of design features that had been advertised earlier but did not feature in the completed project. The topic came up at the condo's first annual general meeting (AGM) recently. While the meeting broke up over a disagreement surrounding a vote for members of the management council, several owners had voiced their disquiet about certain design features. They said a roundabout and a fountain were among features cited in marketing materials but not seen in the finished condo. But developer Top Global said at the meeting on Aug 17 that the roundabout "was not constructed as its turning radius did not comply with (regulatory) requirements". The fountain could not be provided as the area was a designated fire engine access road, it added. "We wanted the residents to form their own management council and to begin managing their estate, (that's) why we called for the AGM earlier than we needed to," a Top Global spokesman said in response to a Sunday Times query. However, the AGM did not go as planned, the spokesman said. "Owing to the disruptive activities of these select few residents, there was no way to carry on with the poll and the AGM in a proper and lawful manner," the spokesman said. Another AGM will be called in due course, he added. E Maison owners may not be alone in questioning the lack of certain design features. Snazzy sales brochures can pique interest, but sometimes the reality may be different. Lake Life, in the Jurong Lake District, was billed as a "smart" development when it hit the market in 2014. Media reports spoke of how the executive condominium could run a driverless electric shuttle bus, subject to the authorities' approval, and units could have features such as Internet appliance control. The project was popular, drawing more than 1,200 applications for its 546 units at the launch. Lake Life obtained its Temporary Operation Permit last December, but neither of the much-heralded features has turned out as some expected. The driverless shuttle is still a no-go, while the smart-home packages do not come built in. A spokesman for developer Evia Real Estate told The Sunday Times "there is likely a misperception on the provision of the smart home", which must be bought from a preferred vendor. The spokesman said: "In all marketing materials, we have mentioned that the autonomous shuttle services will be available subject to (the relevant) authority's approval." As of now, driverless vehicles are being tested only in the one-north area. "In view of the current situation", the spokesman said, the developer will provide free daily shuttle bus services to nearby MRT stations, with plans to do so until a management committee is formed at the first AGM. Accountant William Loo, 38, cited price, location and nearby amenities as the key factors that drew him to his new four-bedroom home. Still, he said, "smart-home (features) would have been fun to have". Beyond mandatory particulars such as location and land tenure, which must be provided accurately, buyers "should discount the usually attractive illustration or depictions of the development as they may be subjective", said Mr Conrad Campos, a partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing. He said developers are obliged to provide only features depicted in the showflat or models at the showroom, in the specifications they offer for the purpose of payment of the booking fee or in the sale and purchase agreement. While projects must meet all regulatory standards, developers can start selling units as soon as they have written permission to develop the land, building plan approval and a housing developer's sale licence. An Urban Redevelopment Authority spokesman said when changes must be made to meet standards, "the developers do not need to obtain consent from the purchasers". But "to minimise subsequent design changes, (Qualified Persons) should ensure that their development plans comply with all relevant agencies' requirements before the project is marketed".
September 4, 2017

Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth interviewed on Mediacorp Radio 938Live on how families can navigate through a divorce peacefully

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing's Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth was interviewed by Mediacorp Radio 938Live on how families can navigate through a divorce to achieve peaceful divorce resolutions. The interview was featured on 938Live’s Women of Worth segment on 26 August 2017 and the encore was aired the next day on 27 August 2017. In the second of her two-part series in the segment, Michelle shared the avenues available to families negotiating a divorce. Michelle, a certified IMI Mediator and Collaborative Family Practitioner, highlighted the general steps to filing for divorce and how there are more amicable and less painful methods to ending a marriage. This includes having parties to come to an agreement on their outstanding issues in an open and non-tactical way, then filing proceedings via a simplified track. She also shared the pros and cons of these peaceful alternatives in comparison to a litigious court process, and shared examples of how these methods would be more beneficial to families, especially those with children. She added that the introduction of child representatives to the panel on the Family Court ensured children's opinions were taken into consideration in a formalised way and emphasised the importance of integrity in proceedings as the “family moves on and restructures itself into a new family unit”. Please listen to the podcast for the full interview.
August 30, 2017

Head of Intellectual Property & Technology Jonathan Kok shares insights on IP commercialisation and protection at IP Week @ SG organised by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Head of Intellectual Property & Technology Jonathan Kok was invited as part of a team of IP thought leaders, legal experts as well as innovative companies to offer a series of pre-arranged one to one consultations at IP Week @ SG organised by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). The event marks the sixth run of IP Week @ SG and carried the theme “Ideas to Assets: Driving the future economy with IP”. Jonathan, a market-leading IP lawyer endorsed by Asialaw Leading Lawyer 2017, shared insights on IP commercialisation and protection. He shares his experience at IP Week, “The future economy will be driven by technology that can be accessed not only in Singapore but in any part of the world. Increasingly, companies are adopting technology as a necessity to expand their businesses into the region. As part of growth strategies, companies need to understand how to protect their intellectual property in foreign territories so that they can effectively leverage on their intellectual property for growth. RHTLaw Taylor Wessing participated in the consultation sessions to help companies better understand these issues when they are planning to expand abroad.” The two-day conference from 29-30 August 2017 was held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. It brought together the innovation community to celebrate, network and collaborate on the latest developments in IP. Signature to this year’s IP Week, the event connects IP service providers, businesses, agencies and individuals to explore opportunities to create business growth through IP. The event saw a turnout of over 1,700 attendees from more than 30 countries, with over 40 major supporting organisations and partners, including Google and PatSnap. Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam was the Guest-of-Honour.