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5-year debarment period waived for divorcees with full custody of kids

Divorcees who get full custody of all children will no longer be subjected to a 5-year debarment period when buying a second subsidised flat from HDB.

Neither would they have to get prior consent from their ex-spouse to give up their right to a subsidised flat, announced National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

However, the ex-spouse with no children will still be subjected to the 5-year time bar, said Mr Khaw.

Under current rules, a divorcee with children is barred for 5 years from buying a second subsidised flat from HDB after the matrimonial home is sold.

This policy was put in place to prevent people from gaming the system, said Mr Khaw.

He explained that there have been cases where couples filed for divorce and split custody of the children, so that they could then qualify for two subsidised flats.

A single parent can form a family unit with one child and apply for a subsidised flat directly from HDB.

But it turned out that the couple were not really divorced, and wanted 2 subsidised flats to rent out one for income, said Mr Khaw.

Hence, the government put in place a rule that only 1 divorcee is allowed a subsidised flat within the 5-year period, provided the other spouse gives up his or her right.

But as many MPs had pointed out, it was not easy to get consent from the ex-spouse.

In coming up with the policy change, Mr Khaw said this is to put the interest of the young kids at the uppermost.

He said that HDB will also be reviewing whether the 5-year debarment period is too long.

Mr Khaw said removing the time bar will be unwise, but hinted that 5 years may be too long.

The minister noted that the housing board must balance between deterrence against abuse and minimising hardship on genuine divorcees.

(Via Xin MSN)

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