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

Q) I have some questions about marriage and divorce law in Korea regarding two non-Koreans living in Korea.  Can they divorce and re-marry in Korea?

A) The Korean court hears an international divorce lawsuit basically if the defendant resides in Korea.  So long as the defendant resides in Korea, the duration of his residence does not matter. Even if the plaintiff does not reside in Korea, she can file a divorce lawsuit to a Korean court. If the defendant does not reside in Korea, the divorce lawsuit can be accepted only when the plaintiff fails to locate the defendant or the defendant answers the lawsuit filed under the Korean court.

Regarding the governing law, the divorce case shall be governed in the following order:

  1. the same law of nationality of both spouses
  2. the same law of the habitual residence of both spouses
  3. the law of the place where is most closely connected with both spouses.

If one party is a Korean national having a habitual residence in Korea, notwithstanding the foregoing, the law of South Korea will be the governing law.

The Korean court shall decide if the divorce can be justified based on the contents of relevant governing law. Regarding justifiable causes for divorce under Korean law, please see here.  Also, please check our article on the overview of the international divorce in Korea.

One thing should be noted is that foreign people who are interested in filing for divorce in Korea have to check in advance their local lawyer or agency (relevant embassy) with further requirements that must be undertaken to make divorce judgment from Korean court effective in their home countries.

The same goes for a new marriage in Korea. Basically, foreigners can marry each other in Korea according to Korean law.  This link could give you useful information as one of the parties in your question is a U. S. citizen.

If you have any questions about the foreign couple’s divorce and marriage in Korea, please visit our Legal Consultation center or send your inquiry by clicking here.  Our Korean licensed lawyer will answer your inquiry.

Also, you can find a stack of legal information and articles on Korean divorce law, written by a Korean qualified lawyer, by clicking here.

© 2010 Chung & Partners, a Korean Law Firm. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

  1. i want to ask if my situation ill married korean man always figthing and ill work within 3yrs half my salary is nothing ill give my mother in law husband house boiler and other so i just only for me is the bus card using for my transfortation and some allowance and then another give to my husband he said we need to save a money but my husband salary ill he never give me if i need a money ill tell him but many words or i need back his money if he give me i want to divorce him but because of my son so many problem and also stress not just only because of the money another problem his family and also of my husband attitude is very hard what can i do please help me… name ana

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