Korean Wife's alimony child support claims against foreign husband

Korean Wife’s alimony and child support claims against foreign husband

Alimony, child support claim in Korea

In the realm of international divorce law, a groundbreaking case has emerged, highlighting the triumph of a Korean wife over her foreign husband in a legal battle concerning alimony, child support, and custody. This case not only sheds light on the intricacies of cross-border divorce proceedings but also emphasizes the necessity for the jurisdiction of Korean courts in such matters.

Jurisdiction and International Divorce in South Korea

The crux of the matter lies in the jurisdiction of Korean courts over international divorce cases. For an internationally married couple seeking a divorce within the Republic of Korea, it is imperative that the Korean courts maintain jurisdiction over the proceedings. This case stands as a testament to the requirement that the legal proceedings take place within the purview of Korean legal institutions.

Supreme Court Ruling: A Foreign Couple’s Affair in Domestic Affairs

Recent legal developments, including a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court, have illuminated the pathway for foreign couples to be subject to Korean court proceedings if there exist assets within the Republic of Korea that necessitate division as part of the divorce procedure. As a result, it can be confidently asserted that even a Korean spouse married to a foreign national can pursue an international divorce case within Korea, barring any exceptional circumstances related to residency or other factors. Notably, the case under scrutiny features a foreign husband who is a U.S. citizen.

Case Analysis: Unveiling the Intricacies

The focal case involves a U.S. citizen husband who married his Korean wife in Korea and established domicile in the country. Despite residing within Korea, the husband’s legal status remained that of a foreigner. Additionally, the husband held real estate in Texas and frequently traveled to the United States for familial visits and other commitments.

Noteworthy is the fact that a U.S. citizen, much like the husband in question, can undergo divorce proceedings within Korean courts, provided there is no predetermined time limit attached to their stay in Korea. This stands as a strategic point for Korean wives, as initiating divorce within the Korean legal framework may prove advantageous, given the possibility of the husband initiating divorce proceedings in the U.S., albeit under rare circumstances.

Reasons for initiating divorce proceedings

Delving into the specifics of the case, the international marriage between Korean wife A and her foreign husband B took place several years prior, resulting in the birth of their daughter. Amidst this union, allegations arose from the Korean wife A, who accused husband B of alcoholism, recurrent abusive behavior, and threats directed at her. She further highlighted his engagement in online gambling, reckless spending, and failure to provide for household necessities.

In a twist, the foreign husband initiated a divorce suit in the family court, contending suspicions of an affair between wife A and a colleague at her workplace. He displayed obsessive behavior, including monitoring her communication devices and shadowing her actions.

Family Court Verdict: A Cascade of Decisions

The Republic of Korea’s Family Court arrived at several pivotal determinations regarding the case:

Confession by Default: As the foreign husband A neither responded nor attended court proceedings after being served with the divorce complaint, the court inferred his implicit confession to the allegations presented by wife A. This inference was aligned with Article 12 of the Code of Domestic Relations and Articles 150, Paragraphs 3 and 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, pertaining to the alimony claim.

Culpability for Marriage Dissolution: Considering the plausible link between the wrongful actions of foreign husband B and the breakdown of the marriage, the trial court acknowledged both the grounds for divorce and husband B’s obligation to provide alimony.

Alimony Determination: The Family Court Trial Division meticulously evaluated various factors, encompassing the couple’s age, responsibility for the marriage’s disintegration, and marriage duration. Consequently, it settled upon an alimony sum of 10 million won and outlined the property division for their jointly acquired apartment in Korea.

Child Custody and Support: Wife A was entrusted with the role of primary caregiver for their daughter. Foreign husband B was directed to provide monthly child support of 500,000 won.

For individuals contemplating international divorce, it’s paramount to understand the legal terrain. If both partners reside within Korea, initiating divorce proceedings within Korean courts is feasible. However, in scenarios where only one spouse resides in Korea while the other lives abroad, divorce becomes feasible under Korean law only when Korea is substantiated as the “most relevant jurisdiction” for the couple.

Private International Law and its Implications

In instances of international divorce, except in cases where one spouse maintains habitual residence in Korea, Article 37 of the Private International Law is applied in an adjusted manner. This article emphasizes the primacy of the laws governing the couple’s shared domicile or the place most closely tied to their relationship.

The Complex Landscape of International Divorce

Consequently, the prerequisites and procedures for international divorce, especially when involving a foreign or Korean spouse residing abroad, can prove intricate. For those embarking on the journey of divorce, particularly in foreign jurisdictions, seeking the counsel of an experienced family law or domestic affairs attorney proficient in international divorce matters is essential for a smooth and informed process.

Korean Wife's alimony child support claims against foreign husband





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