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Getting a divorce in Korea while not living in Korea?

 
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PeterDragon



Joined: 15 Feb 2007

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:38 am    Post subject: Getting a divorce in Korea while not living in Korea? Reply with quote

Hello ESLCafe peeps.

It's been a while.

So I've been living in the U.S. and am in the process of getting a divorce from my Korean wife, who also lives in the U.S.

I desperately want to get a divorce in Korea as well, with a clear cut custody agreement. That second part is pArticularly important, as one of the things that precipitated the divorce was my estranged wife's tendency to threaten to kidnap my son and take him back to Korea. Last summer, she made an actual kidnapping attempt that would have succeeded, had my parents and I not spent a week talking her down by Kakao text message so that she would return from Korea with our son.

My fear is that if I have to go back to Korea with her (while my son is DEFINITELY staying with his American grandparents), she will break all promises she's made to give me a divorce agreement in Korea, instead choosing to falsely charge me with adultery or domestic abuse or something. This would be ironic but non unexpected, as she has in fact cheated on me and has a history of violence against me (hitting me repeatedly, once attempting to run me over with her car, all without witnesses present, sadly).

And yes, my wife has full citizenship in both the US and Korea at this point. I have natural born US citizenship, but a lapsed F-visa. And no, I no longer have any concrete evidence of my wife's affair. She showed me all of the text messages, then deleted them, and has recently taken to claiming she never cheated on me (!)

So prognosis, ESLCafe-ers? Can I get a divorce and custody agreement without actually going back to Korea? If going back is the only way, are there ways to protect myself from false charges, prison time, and/or blackmail/extortion? Any advice or referrals would be appreciated.

(Edited to add: Oh and her family is also insanely wealthy. So far they've been taking my side on all this, but I am leery and well aware that blood is thicker than water.)
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: Victoria, Canada.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Getting a divorce in Korea while not living in Korea? Reply with quote

PeterDragon wrote:
her family [have] been taking my side on all this...


That's interesting. Maybe they know she's nuts.

I'll give you these two for reference:

http://askkorealaw.com/2011/03/08/divorce/#more-1178

http://www.thekoreanlawblog.com/2013/05/getting-marital-separation-agreegment.html

==
Can you get a hold of your son's passports, and birth certificates, and family registry documents (although she can make more). That will make it harder to leave the country with your son.

I think after you divorce stateside you can get a watch put on so she'd have trouble leaving the country with your son. [But I'm just guessing this part!]

If your child is attending a kindergarten advise them of the situation; so she can't pick him up.

Keep in mind for the distant future; unless your son renounces his Korean citizenship by 16, he will be expected to do his military service. (After 16 you can't renounce until you've done the service.)
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Old Painless



Joined: 01 Jan 2014

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you should talk to an attorney that actually practices law in Korea. That would be a good start.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should get divorced in America if you can. The judges over here will show you as a foriegner less favor.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Getting a divorce in Korea while not living in Korea? Reply with quote

Who's Your Daddy? wrote:
PeterDragon wrote:
her family [have] been taking my side on all this...


That's interesting. Maybe they know she's nuts.

I'll give you these two for reference:

http://askkorealaw.com/2011/03/08/divorce/#more-1178

http://www.thekoreanlawblog.com/2013/05/getting-marital-separation-agreegment.html

==
Can you get a hold of your son's passports, and birth certificates, and family registry documents (although she can make more). That will make it harder to leave the country with your son.

I think after you divorce stateside you can get a watch put on so she'd have trouble leaving the country with your son. [But I'm just guessing this part!]

If your child is attending a kindergarten advise them of the situation; so she can't pick him up.

Keep in mind for the distant future; unless your son renounces his Korean citizenship by 16, he will be expected to do his military service. (After 16 you can't renounce until you've done the service.)


The family might be lying to get you over here and then say the opposite in court. DO NOT GET DIVORCED IN KOREA.

Had a friend get divorced here and he just got the run around. Rule of law? Ha ha ha ha. Do it in America. I'll say it again: DO IT IN AMERICA.
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: Victoria, Canada.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea doesn't have alimony. That might be a reason to do it in Korea. I also believe (but don't have stats) that men often get custody of children.

I understand some of you saying Korea might not be the best for a foreigner to get a fare shake, I'd worry in the US (or Western countries) men don't get a fare deal either.

But I wouldn't come to Korea.

If you live in a state with a large Korean population you might find a Korean-American lawyer.
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Sesame



Joined: 16 Mar 2014

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

your wife sounds certifiably NUTS.
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Yaya



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank goodness I didn't marry a Korean woman (and I'm a Kor-Am, by the way).
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PeterDragon



Joined: 15 Feb 2007

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all answers.

A few thoughts:

My son's passports--- both Korean and American--- are in the hands of my lawyer. A number of additional measures I am reluctant to discuss openly here (I'll delete my posts on this thread once it's played out) have been taken to make it difficult and disadvantageous for her to replace our child's Korean passport on U.S. soil. The American passport is easy to replace, but I have registered with the State Department so that I am immediately notified if anyone other than me applies for a replacement passport.

There IS a way to put an alert system in place to decrease the odds that my wife could up and leave, but U.S. borders are more permeable than those of other smaller, less immigration-oriented countries. Even once I get the alerts lined up, they're not a sure thing. (Working on it, though).

@Weigookin: Those links are hopeful. It seems I can avoid ever re-entering Korea yet still get legal protection in Korea, should my wife take my son there against my wishes again.

As for speculation at my in-laws' motives: Thus far they have said they will understand if I never want to come back into Korea again, and never want my son there again. They have discouraged my wife from revisiting until these matters are resolved. They have emailed and IMed me to express concern and sympathy. I believe they mean what they say, but minds can change. I'm particularly worried that my wife may falsely tell them I was abusive.


And to the appropriately named "Who's Your Daddy"--- I live in a state that is reputedly a little nicer to men than most, especially men who actually want custody/responsibility. We'll see how this plays out. I'm S---ing brinks and sweating bullets for now, honestly.

Edited to add: I currently have provisional sole custody while the divorce is pending in local courts. She gave that to me voluntarily (initially telling me she didn't want a kid anyway), but has since had a change of heart and is asking for joint custody upon settlement of the divorce. Fun fun fun!!!
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beentheredonethat777



Joined: 27 Jul 2013
Location: AsiaHaven

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
[quote="Who's Your Daddy?"]Korea doesn't have alimony. That might be a reason to do it in Korea. I also believe (but don't have stats) that men often get custody of children
.

^^.This. I've had a few friends and associates who have experienced a divorce in Korea. But in EVERY case the children were automatically given to the men. They told me, its the Korean way. Of course, in America, its usually the other way around.
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Old Painless



Joined: 01 Jan 2014

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yaya wrote:
Thank goodness I didn't marry a Korean woman (and I'm a Kor-Am, by the way).



It'a not that bad for everyone. I myself have only suffered two fractures and a concussion and I've been married for 19 years.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who's Your Daddy? wrote:
Korea doesn't have alimony. That might be a reason to do it in Korea. I also believe (but don't have stats) that men often get custody of children.

I understand some of you saying Korea might not be the best for a foreigner to get a fare shake, I'd worry in the US (or Western countries) men don't get a fare deal either.

But I wouldn't come to Korea.

If you live in a state with a large Korean population you might find a Korean-American lawyer.


No, but women will often get the kids. They'll keep the kids and violate court orders to let you see them. Keeping the kids is a civil liability issue and not a matter of criminal law here. They'll keep the kids and the legal system won't help you even if you have joint custody and visitiation rights. If the woman is nuts and screams the loudest as well as acts emtoional in court, she gets her own way. You're screwed.


She'll use to the kids to blackmail you and demand lots of money. The court will order a split of assets in some way here.

In the US, there is alimony. But, if you have rights with the kids and the ex wife doesn't honor them, it's a criminal penalty. There's more incentive to comply.
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: Victoria, Canada.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^My understanding is:

Korean courts usually give the kids to the parent that makes money to provide for the kids (i.e. Dad). There is no alimony. And Korean women don't expect to receive half of the family assets. The woman will be left with little, and no monthly alimony.

Western courts will almost automatically give children to the mother and order the father to pay child support. A father will be left with at the most 50% of his assets and will be assessed such high monthly payments he'll live in poverty.

Korea is a man's world.

If I were the OP I'd try to get divorced in Korea (though a Korean lawyer, not in person), then get the Korean divorce recognized in the U.S. The worst case judgment I could see in Korea would probably be a normal judgment in the U.S.
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Lucas



Joined: 11 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And Korean women don't expect to receive half of the family assets.


What if there was no male heir (brother).
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