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Defaulter for Alimony can be blacklisted by Credit Bureau - 05Oct2011

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Uploaded on Oct 5, 2011

SINGAPORE: Three months after the government authorised DP SME Commercial Credit Bureau to blacklist men who fail to pay alimony, the company has helped six women settle their maintenance arrears.

The bureau, authorised in June by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, said it has been approached by 24 women so far to mediate marriage maintenance issues.

One of them is 69-year-old "Mary Loh" (not her real name), who was separated from her husband in August 2005.

The court ordered him to pay her a monthly maintenance of S$150.

But he only paid S$50 each month, and eventually stopped doing so in early 2008.

Madam Loh said her ex-husband was unemployed.

"I didn't call him to chase for payment. I know his character well. If I approached him for the payment, he won't pay," she said.

"You have to get a third party in, then he'll pay.

Even when we were together, he rarely paid for our meals when we ate out. Each time, I was the one who paid."

After Madam Loh sought help from DP SME Commercial Credit Bureau, her ex-husband agreed to pay a lump sum of S$5,000 - out of the S$6,000 he owed her.

The bureau said this is because many Singaporeans value their credit standing.

The bureau's credit record is accessible to its 700 members, which includes licensed moneylenders, banks and retailers.

DP Information Group's senior general manager, Ong Siew Kim, said the bureau is encouraged by the results so far.

Generally, it takes at least a month to work out a negotiation.

Once a negotiation is reached, the bureau will check with the complainant every month to ensure that payment is made in a timely manner.

This process may take months, or even years.

If the man pays on time for three consecutive months, he will be taken off the blacklist.

The challenge now is for the bureau to reach out to more women who need help, as every year about 3,400 applications are made to the Family Court to enforce marriage maintenance orders.

The bureau said it has contacted more than 30 family service centres and community help groups in the past two months to reach out to more women.

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