Korean Law Demystified!

Recent Divorce Cases 3


In Korea, there are essentially four (main) issues regarding divorce:

1) Can I unilaterally file for divorce?

2) How is “marital property” to be divided?

3) Can I also sue for psychological pain and suffering?

4) Who will take care of the child(ren)?

Recently, there were two cases dealing with #2 and #3, respectively.

The Seoul High Court ruled that even a pro golfer’s competition earnings may be subject to division. The court ordered PGA Tour golfer Kevin Na to pay his ex-fiancée 162 million won. During their 8 months together, Na’s ex-fiancée accompanied him to the U.S. This, the court felt, played some role in helping Na win money. And her contribution should be recognized. FYI, Na had earned around 3 billion won during that period.

The Incheon District Court ordered a man who (knowingly) had an affair with a married woman to pay her husband 20 million won. The husband first learned about his wife’s (possible) infidelity via dialogues recorded on the car black box. The husband then followed his wife one day and confirmed his suspicions. Infidelity is now (only) a civil matter in Korea.

Have you heard of Korea’s Child Support Agency (양육비이행관리원)? They help divorcees collect back child support (from their exes). I read only about 17% of single parents actually receive child support!

Did You Know? A married person who previously tried to divorce (in court) his/her (current) spouse cannot take part in any decision to have that spouse (forcibly) admitted into a mental institution/hospital.

Sometimes people are curious how long divorce proceedings (in Korea) take from start to finish. To get a ruling, at least 8 months. If the ruling is appealed, another 10 months? Divorce proceedings normally take longer than typical lawsuits because a family court officer is required to interview each spouse and prepare a preliminary report for the judge.

Thanks for reading!

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