Foreigners may file, in most cases, for divorce in Korea if one party to the divorce resides in Korea or the parties agree to the jurisdiction of the Korean Family Court or local Korean court. Korean does not restrict those under SOFA, diplomats and non-permanent residents from filing for divorce in Korea.
However, if the non-filing party to a divorce wishes to stay married, the filing party must prove that his or her hands are cleaner than the non-filing spouse and must establish adequate grounds for divorce. The Grounds for Divorce in Korea are noted below. The family courts, in Korea, have strictly interpreted the grounds for divorce.
In most cases of foreigners divorcing, it is advisable to find a proactive Korean Divorce Lawyer. The reality is that few divorce lawyers in Korea are proactive and few are experienced with divorce among foreigners. The English language capability coupled with experience, often, becomes an issue in finding adequate English-speaking Korean divorce lawyers for foreigners in Korea.
Grounds for Divorce in Korea
Article 840 (Causes for Judicial Divorce):
Either husband or wife may apply to the Family Court for a divorce in each case of the following subparagraphs:
1. If the other spouse has committed an act of adultery;
2. If one spouse maliciously deserted the other spouse;
3. If one spouse has extremely maltreated the other spouse or his or her lineal ascendants;
4. If one spouse’s lineal ascendant has extremely maltreated the other spouse;
5. If the death or life of the other spouse has been unknown for three years; and
6. If there exists any other serious cause for making it difficult to continue the marriage.
Korea Family Court Judges has, in recent years, been more willing to grant divorces in contested cases.
Sean may be contacted at: [email protected]
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