Divorce could be one of the hardest decisions that people make during their entire life. If people decide to divorce, one question they might ask their Korean divorce lawyer is how long it will take to get the divorce decree from the Korean Family Court. The short answer to this question is that it depends, the magic phrase that the lawyers would love to use in almost every dialogue. The thing is, however, that it really depends on various factors, especially what types of divorce they are going through. It could be a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce, which requires totally different approach and care.
If it is an uncontested divorce which means the parties have been able to agree about all the issues involved in a divorce such as custody, child support, visitation, property division and consolation money, the divorce decree can be obtained within 1 to 2 months. That is pretty fast compared to other countries. The parties don’t need to appear at the court so long as a Korean divorce attorney takes care of the case. That is how our office in Seoul has been handling the uncontested divorce cases.
If the divorce is contested, it requires more time for the Korean Family Court to render a divorce decree. It should go through several hearings and extensive arguments between the parties. That being said, it is really hard to know how long it will take and even whether the party can get a divorce decree (here is why it does matter). Roughly speaking it takes from 6 to 9 months for the 1st instance court to render a decision. Of course, if any party files an appeal, it takes more time for the proceedings at the upper courts. Should the party be present at the hearing? Basically no in case of a party residing abroad.
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