SEOUL, July 8 (Korea Bizwire) – Lim Woo-jae, the former vice president of Samsung Electronics who reportedly filed for divorce from Lee Boo-jin at the Seoul Family Court on June 29, is suing for a 1.2 trillion won ($1.04 billion) settlement from his ex-wife, who is the former CEO of Hotel Shilla and daughter of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-Hee. This is a record divorce settlement.
Lim also filed a counterclaim against Lee, who filed for divorce with the Suwon District Court in a case that is currently being appealed.
Lim estimated Lee’s total assets to be worth around 2.5 trillion won ($2.16 billion), and is suing for 50 percent of the total. He claims that he deserves to receive such an amount since he contributed to the proliferation of Lee’s wealth during their marriage.
Following precedent, Korean courts divide assets based on the contribution each spouse made while they were still married.
Before a decision is made, their joint property must be first defined. Any inheritance either spouse received after the death of their parents is excluded from the property to be divided. The court needs to determine which of Lee’s assets are ‘unique property’ or joint property.
Even if an asset is considered as Lee’s ‘unique property’, it may be classified as joint property if Lim has made any contribution to the preservation or growth of wealth.
The net worth of Lee’s assets will be revealed publicly during this process, and some suppose that Lee will focus on wealth she autonomously created and treat the rest as the property to be divided with Lim.
“Lee is probably reluctant to disclose the details of her total assets, however the court will clearly distinguish which portion of her property needs to be shared with her ex-husband Lim,” said No Young-hee, a former spokesperson of the Korean Bar Association.
Many expect that there will be a fierce, possibly ugly, battle between the two when defining what contributions Lim has made to Lee’s wealth during their marriage.
From Lee’s perspective, most of her wealth comes from stocks she acquired before their marriage, thus she will likely deny that Lim has made any significant contribution. From Lim’s perspective, on the other hand, their marriage lasted more than 10 years, and he had to make sacrifices to maintain their union, so he is likely to claim that he deserves his share.
Lim recently revealed in an interview how difficult it was to live as the unwelcome son-in-law of the Samsung family and as Lee’s husband.
Many in legal circles find Lim’s demand reasonable and expect him to receive what he requests.
“People who have been married for 10 years with a child typically agree to a 20 to 30 percent property settlement; however the settlement amount is high for Lim and Lee. I believe at least 10 percent will be accepted in this case,” said Lee In-chul, a divorce attorney.
By Nonnie Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)