Singaporean neurologist ordered to pay ex-wife $16.6 million | The New Paper

Singaporean neurologist ordered to pay ex-wife $16.6 million

This article is more than 12 months old

Canadian court also orders him to pay spousal and child support to Vancouver-based former spouse

In one of the biggest divorce payouts abroad involving a Singaporean couple, the Vancover-based spouse of a neurologist will get C$16.3 million (S$16.6 million) of the couple's matrimonial assets while he gets to retain some C$21 million.

The Canadian court also ordered Singapore-based Dr G Devathasan to pay C$8.4 million in spousal and child support and other items to ex-wife Christie Devathasan.

"Ms Devathasan has a strong entitlement on a compensatory basis," said Justice Geoffrey Gomery of the Supreme Court of British Columbia last week after a 19-day trial earlier this year.

He noted the great disparity in earnings and earning capacity between the couple, his ample means to pay and her inability to support herself among other things, "favours a generous award".

Both Singapore-born, the couple was "uncommonly wealthy" with diverse assets that grew from one source - Dr Devathasan's very lucrative practice at Mount Elizabeth.

They first met on the wards of the Singapore General Hospital in 1984 when he was a 34-year-old neurologist and she was a 19-year-old trainee nurse, noted the court. They were married then to other people.

The couple had a son from the relationship, which ended soon after he was born in 1987, but they reconnected six years later.

By then he had established a private clinic at Mount Elizabeth where he continues till today and they wedded in 1997, having divorced their spouses.

She worked at his clinic from 1994 and the couple had a second child in 1999. At his suggestion, the family moved to Canada in 2004 for better educational opportunities for their two children, but he found the work as physician there unattractive. He remained working here and visited them regularly as did she and her daughter.

But the relationship deteriorated subsequently after 2015 and she filed for divorce the following year.

Their son is now an engineer while their daughter is an undergraduate in Canada.

Ms Devathasan, 55, and Dr Devathasan, 69, accumulated a good deal of real estate during their marriage which included properties in British Columbia, Florida, Toronto and Thailand, noted the judge.

Both parties had 19 bank or investments accounts, among other things.


The judge noted that Dr Devathasan is a hard-working man, "well known and respected as a neurologist", with patients coming from far away to see him.

"In the past, he had said to Ms Devathasan, the day he stops working will be the day he dies," wrote Justice Gomery, who found it likely he would work till age 75 "at a reduced pace".

After dealing with various factors in detail in a 104-page judgment, he alloted family property and debt worth C$16,388,000 to Ms Devathasan and C$21,408,000 to Dr Devathasan.

"When the division of property is completed, Ms Devathasan will be relieved of many of the expenses of ownership and debt-servicing she is presently incurring," he said.

The court further ordered Dr Devathasan pay special costs to be assessed for his "reprehensible" conduct in the course of the divorce proceedings, "which undoubtedly made this litigation more difficult and much more expensive than it ought to have been".

Contacted yesterday, Dr Devathasan said the "judge tried to be as fair as possible and is a good judge". He said the assessment was based on his gross earnings and did not factor expenses incurred, which is not provided for under Canadian rules. He said: "This is a fair result and I am not appealing."