SEOUL, Sept. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – The Supreme Court of Korea ruled that any divorce lawsuits filed by spouses who are responsible for the breakup of the marriage cannot be allowed in principle.
On September 15, the nation’s highest court upheld a lower courts’ decision against an unfaithful spouse who filed the lawsuit, by a majority decision. Among the 15 justices, seven did not allow the breakdown principle in which unfaithful spouses can file a lawsuit asking for divorce.
The court explained that as Korea adopts not only divorce by lawsuit but also divorce by settlement, which is hard to find in other countries, even unfaithful spouses can divorce under the system. In fact, 77.7 percent of divorces in Korea were settled by agreements in 2014.
Considering such circumstances, the court does not need to adopt the breakdown principle by allowing lawsuits from unfaithful spouses.
In addition, while many countries that adopt a breakdown principle do not allow divorce if the other party or their children would be put in a dangerous situation after the divorce, and are equipped with legal systems to force them to support the other party, Korea is not well prepared to deal with these types of issues, the court added.
The court said, “In a situation without a proper judicial system, adoption of the breakdown principle can lead to failure in protecting those who are socially vulnerable.”
The plaintiff married his wife in 1976, but fathered a child out of marriage with a woman in 1998. He left his home in 2000 and has been staying with the woman ever since. He filed for divorce in 2011, but the lower courts ruled against him, upholding the fault principle based on the existing precedents.
The Supreme Court said, “For now, it is hard to allow divorce by unfaithful spouses. It would be premature to adopt the breakdown principle.”
By John Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)