If you have a HDB flat and you are contemplating divorce, you may be concerned about what happens to your HDB flat after divorce. For many people, the HDB flat may be the largest single asset that they own.
What Happens to Your HDB Flat After Divorce?
Agreement Between You and Your Spouse
You and your spouse can decide on what happens to your HDB flat after divorce, subject to HDB’s approval. Generally, there are 2 things that can happen:
1. The flat is sold in the open market after divorce. How long do you have to sell your HDB flat after divorce? Most people sell their HDB flat within 12 months after the divorce. An uncontested divorce in Singapore takes approximately 4 to 5 months to complete. Hence, from the time you sign the divorce papers, you will have about 16 to 17 months to sell your HDB flat. In such a case, there must be CPF refund after divorce. This means that CPF refunds must be made after the sale of the HDB flat.
2. The shares of spouse A may be transferred to spouse B. CPF refund after divorce is not a must, if parties agree that spouse A needs only to make a partial/ no CPF refund after divorce. Transfer of flat ownership after divorce has many benefits. The advantages are as follows:
a. At least 1 spouse need not source for alternative accommodation. If the spouse retaining the HDB flat after divorce has care and control of the children of the marriage, this would also mean that the children have a roof over their heads.
b. The spouse retaining the HDB flat after divorce will also not need to incur additional expenses on renovation.
c. There will be familiarity and convenience, particularly if the child of the marriage is studying at a school close to the HDB flat.
No Agreement Between Parties
In the event that there is no agreement between parties on what happens to the HDB flat after divorce, the Court will make a decision.
The first question which the Court will decide on is whether the HDB flat is a matrimonial asset. Under Section 112 of the Women’s Charter, the HDB flat will be considered as a matrimonial asset if it is acquired by one or both parties during the marriage. Even if it is acquired before the marriage by one party, it will still be considered as a matrimonial asset if it is used as a matrimonial home by parties and/ or their children or if it has been substantially improved (for instance by way of renovation) during the marriage by the other party or both parties.
If the HDB flat falls under the definition of matrimonial asset, how will it be divided between parties?
Similarly, the Court may order for the flat to be sold and proceeds to be split between the parties or for a transfer of flat ownership after divorce.
The proportion that each party receives from the nett value of the HDB flat depends on:
1. Parties’ direct financial contributions to the HDB flat, indirect financial and non-financial contributions to the welfare of the family and the HDB flat.
3. The assistance given by one party towards the career of the other party.
4. Any period of rent-free occupation given by one party to the other in the matrimonial home.
5. The children’s needs.
6. The length of the marriage.
Transfer of Flat Ownership After Divorce
Even if the Court were to order for the transfer of flat ownership after divorce from spouse A to spouse B, spouse B would still need to meet HDB’s eligibility criteria to retain the HDB flat. Spouse B needs to fulfill the following requirements.
1. Have care and control of the children and have the financial ability to take on the home loan for the HDB flat.
2. In the event there is no child born to the marriage, spouse B has to be a Singapore citizen, at least 35 years old and has the financial ability to take on the home loan.
From time to time, HDB may revise the eligibility criteria for flat ownership after divorce. You may wish to check with HDB on your eligibility to retain the HDB flat after divorce.
In the event that the transfer of flat ownership after divorce is not an option, you may wish to consider selling the flat in the open market after the Minimum Occupancy Period is met.
If you have more questions on what happens to your HDB flat post-divorce, you may wish to contact us at +6598330314 (whatsapp).
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