FCMC 13803 / 2003
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
NUMBER 13803 of 2003
Coram : H.H. Judge Geiser in Chambers
Date of Hearing : 16 November 2004
Date of Judgment : 18 November 2004
R U L I N G
1. In these proceedings the Petitioner wife seeks maintenance pending suit for herself pursuant to section 3 Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance Cap 192 and interim maintenance for the two children. She seeks a global monthly sum from the Respondent husband of $50,000 and applies to have the award back-dated to the date of the divorce petition which was filed in November 2003.
2. The Respondent, whilst in his affirmations and in the course of these proceedings has offered to pay varying sums, his position is that he cannot meet the Petitioner’s claim due to his financial position having been compromised in recent years.
3. To put the matter in context, it is helpful to have regard to some historical facts whilst at the same time taking account of a number of matters that appear to be undisputed between the parties.
4. The parties were married in December 1998 and have two children now aged nearly 5 and 2. the marriage broke down between the parties sometime around October 2003. I am unable to say at this stage from the information available to me as to who was responsible for the breakdown of the marriage as the Respondent has filed an answer and cross-petition to the wife’s petition and inevitably that matter has yet to be determined. What is clear however is that it was at about this time, i.e. October 2003 that the Petitioner was excluded from being involved in any of the family businesses since when she has received no payment of maintenance from the Respondent.
5. Other facts which are undisputed include the lifestyle of the parties which prior to the breakdown appear to be luxurious. The family lived in a large 2,200 sq. ft. apartment in Kowloon Tong, had the benefit of two domestic helpers and enjoyed the use of four vehicles which included a Lamborgini, and an “S” class Mencedes Benz. In addition all the family expenses were met out of the companies and the Petitioner enjoyed a monthly salary of $20,000 as well as the exclusive use of supplementary credit cards.
6. What is not agreed and what appears to be the central issue in this case is the present financial position of the Respondent which in turn relates to the status of two of the family businesses in particular which are car parking businesses, namely HW Car Park Limited and CS Management Enterprises Ltd and in which the Petitioner claims the Respondent is still the majority share holder.
7. I should say at this stage that as is customary in case of this nature I have heard no oral testimony, I have of course read the various affirmations that both parties have made and I have also heard oral submissions from both parties respective counsel. In addition, in cases of this nature, the court does not embark upon a detailed analysis of the financial position of the parties but rather takes a broad brush approach bearing in mind the needs of the Petitioner and, in this case, the children on the one hand together with the ability of the Respondent to meet those needs on the other. Whilst there is no positive duty on the court to take account of those matters under section 7 Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance, inevitably some of those matters such as income, earning capacity, financial needs and obligations of either party and, as in this case, the standard of living enjoyed by the parties prior to the breakdown of the marriage, do become relevant.
8. With regard to the financial position of the Petitioner, since she has been excluded from the running of the family businesses in October 2003, she has received no income, nor has she received any maintenance from the Respondent. Prior to October 2003 she had been responsible for the internal affairs and management of all four family companies, the two which I have already referred to, and in addition HG Trading Ltd and the HW Taxi Co Ltd which is effectively a property holding company. In both of these companies (indeed, in all of them) the Petitioner was a director and shareholder. The Petitioner has affirmed in her first affirmation to having monthly expenses for herself and the two children amounting to $50,000 per month. I find these expenses to be reasonable save for the provision of $5,000 per month as maintenance for her mother and the provision of $7,000 per month for two...