In Part 2 of this Special Report on Money & Divorce, Dato’ Fion Wong, a partner of Shang & Co who is actively involved in matrimonial and family law, elaborates on the eligibility of nuptials and divorce settlements in Malaysia.
A: What would you say is a sound settlement plan for a divorce?
DF: It’s always different for different people. First of all, it’s that children are not neglected. Their welfare should not be abandoned, or their life substantially changed. Say, if there are no children, then it’s best to have both parties come out of the marriage amicably. I don’t recommend any party to come to me and draft an agreement saying that, “I get a hundred percent, and you get nothing”. Even if both parties agree to it, when it does come to divorce, the party who gets nothing will definitely dispute it. The court will then say, “Oh no, this is totally unfair. I won’t unfold such a deal.” So, I don’t recommend it.
A: That means a sound settlement plan shouldn’t factor in too much personal interest?
DF: Correct. It should be about putting each other back to the position where we’ve promised each other to be, and without too much detriment to each other’s position. When marriages don’t end well, it’s because of divorce proceedings when it comes to money. So, if the parties involve already have an agreement in place, they can end the marriage amicably. And this is important when they’re parents, because I really push for co-parenting. One parent cannot act for both parties. You can’t say I’m good enough to be the father and the mother. It’s imbalanced and will affect the child psychologically. So, if there isn’t much financial dispute, both parties can cooperate very well in co-parenting. They can still attend parties together, discuss about the children’s future, and agree on plans they have for the children.