Existing Litigation vs Ancillary Matters
What happens if a third party files a separate legal suit claiming interest over the matrimonial assets? Must the ancillary matters be postponed until the civil action is concluded, or could the two matters be consolidated and heard together under the same court?
The answer depends on a host of factors, such as the court in which the civil suit and divorce matter is filed and whether both of the proceedings share common issues.
In Shi Fang v Koh Pee Huat  1 SLR(R) 906, as the civil suit was so closely related to the ancillary matters, both proceedings were effectively consolidated. The evidence used in one of proceedings was used for the other and that both proceedings had shared the same issues of fact.
Consolidation not only allows for a more convenient and expedient way of resolving issues but also increases the quality of decision-making process, with the courts being able to be more comprehensive in their decision with the full extent of facts and issues.
No, Need Not Be Heard by the Same Court
On the other hand, if there are no common issues of law, facts and evidence between the two proceedings, consolidation may not be required. The two suits may either proceed concurrently or in immediate succession, as the circumstances may require.
With respect to the latter, the court would order one of the matters (usually the ancillary matters) to be stayed, pending the outcome of the first matter.
To understand whether any third party claims or liabilities would affect your divorce proceedings, you may wish to approach one of our divorce lawyers to advise you on your position.