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Causes for Divorce Proceedings in Korea

'Fault-Based Divorce'

Denial of the Right to Claim Divorce of a 'Spouse of Fault'

It is important to note that under the Korean law and according to the view of the traditional precedents, the right to claim divorce of a spouse of fault is strictly denied. Only in very exceptional cases where the maintaining of the marriage has no meaning at all, such as the refusal to comply with a divorce application from a retaliatory emotion, even though it is objectively clear that the other party also has no intention to continue the marriage, the divorce claim by a spouse of fault could be acceptable(Supreme Court Decision 2004 Meu 1033 Decided September 24, 2004). In short, it would be extremely difficult to get a judicial divorce, unless the other spouse is responsible for the failure of the marriage, meaning there is a 'cause' of divorce elaborated in the Civil Act.

Causes of Judicial Divorce under the Korean Law

Causes of divorce by judicial decision are restricted as follows(Article 840 of the Civil Act), and only those with below reasons has the right to apply for a divorce to the Family Court under the Korean law.

1.If the other spouse has committed an act of unchastity;

2.If one spouse has been maliciously deserted by the other spouse;

3.If one spouse has been extremely maltreated by the other spouse or his or her lineal ascendants;

4.If one spouse's lineal ascendant has been extremely maltreated by the other spouse;

5.If the death or life of the other spouse has been unknown for three years;

6.If there exists any other serious cause for making it difficult to continue the marriage.

No Legal Cause, No Judicial Divorce

Therefore, even if a husband or wife is desperately seeking for an opportunity to get a divorce, unless there is any reason for divorce elaborated above, it is highly unlikely that the application of divorce shall be accepted.

Should you need further assistance in the interpretation of the detailed meanings of the causes of divorce, and how to proceed to litigation with this regard, do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

Thank you.

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