The Singapore Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) proposed new changes to the existing Women’s Charter, allowing men with disabilities, mental illness or serious illnesses to be able to claim for maintenance allowance from wives.

This new proposal aims to balance the inequality between husbands and wives in maintenance matters. Currently, the Women’s Charter legally require all men to pay maintenance for their wives, but not the other way round. With the new proposal, men who lost their ability to earn an income will be paid maintenance from their wives instead.

The Court will have the jurisdiction to decide the maintenance payment based on the wives’ financial circumstances and needs. This follow a landmark case last year where a woman who earned more than her husband sought to abuse the Women’s Charter by claiming for S$120,000 from her husband. The judge ruled in the man’s favour by rejecting the claim as the woman was in a better financial shape than the man.