Ask Korea Law

Published by Chung & Partners Since 2008

International Divorce in Korea When Both Parties Are Foreign Nationals



Recently we got a question whether Korean court permits a divorce filing even when both parties are foreign nationals. The questioner was in a situation where she lived in Korea but the spouse did not. Here is a short and general answer.

In principle, the Korean court accepts international divorce filing only when the defendant has a residence in Korea, even though there could be some excepts to this rule of thumb. The Supreme Court of South Korea, however, held that as an exception to this general rule the court should accepts the divorce filing when (i) the plaintiff fails to locate the defendant or (ii) the defendant who has no residence in Korea answers the lawsuit filed in Korean court.

Thus, if you do not know where the spouse currently lives but still need to get divorced, you can file a divorce lawsuit to a Korean family court. This is quite helpful to the foreign people who had been married to Korean persons but moved back to their home countries with the marriage not working good. Or a foreign person living in Korea whose spouse, who is also a foreigner, left Korea permanently can benefit from this judicial policy of Korean family court. In this regard, our office had represented a Canadian male and successfully got a divorce decree from

the Korean court against a Cote d’Ivoire wife who left South Korea permanently, arguing the foregoing Supreme Court’s reasoning should apply.

By the way, some people further asked us whether a Korean family court would accept a divorce filing even when the marriage itself did take place in other countries.  The answer is yes.  It does not matter where your marriage was legally made.  When you apply for a divorce in Korea, the foresaid legal standard does apply.

If you have any question about divorcing in Korea or any other family law related issues, please visit our Legal Consultation center or send your inquiry email by clicking here.  Our Korean licensed divorce lawyers, not a U.S. lawyer residing in Korea, will answer your inquiry.

You can find more articles about Korean divorce law and cases here.

(Q&A) International Divorce in Korea: Jurisdiction, Governing Law, Asset Distribution and Immigration Issues

Paternity, Child Custody, Visitation and Child Support under Korean Law

[Q&A] Can I Enforce My Washington State Child Support Ruling in Korea?

[QA: Family Law] I Need a Divorce But Don’t Know Her Whereabouts in Korea – Korean Divorce Decree in Ex Parte and Recognition of Foreign Divorce Decree in Korea

[Q&A: Family Law] Is My Canadian or U.S. Divorce Decree Including Alimony and Child Support Order Enforceable in Korea?

[Q&A: Family Law] I Am Not Living in Korea. Can I File for Divorce in Korea? If Can, What Should I Know about Korean Divorce Law and Its Proceedings?

[Q&A: Family Law] When Foreign Couples Divorce and Get Married in Korea

[Q&A: Divorce Law] Does Being Separated for Many Years Itself Make It Easier to Get a Divorce Decree in Korea?

[Q&A] My Spouse Won’t Sign the Divorce Agreement, How Can I Get the Divorce Finalized in Korea?

Claim for Division of Property under Korean Divorce Law

Korean Divorce Law Requires a Just Cause for Divorce : Can a Husband Who Cheated On His Wife Get Divorced Under Korean Law?

International Divorce in Korea When Both Parties Are Foreign Nationals

Korean Family Court Granted Family Name Changing into Foreign Step-Father’s Family Name

© Wonil Chung.  All rights reserved.

Author: Korean Qualified Lawyer

Korean Licensed Lawyer 韓国の弁護士

2 thoughts on “International Divorce in Korea When Both Parties Are Foreign Nationals

  1. Pingback: How Fast Can a Divorce Be Finalized in Korea? | Ask Korea Law

  2. This is quite natural that if both the parties are from different countries, Any particular 3 rd resident country can,t do justice. because Law of every country is different.

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