How Do the Korean Courts Determine the Child Support Amount?

Child support is a legal obligation of a non-custodial parent. It usually matters when the couple is divorced. But a separated spouse can ask for child support, too.

Read more: Getting Divorced in Korea as Foreigners: The Ultimate Guide

When the parties cannot agree on the amount of child support, the court makes the decision. In this regard, the Korean court has an internal rule to calculate the child support amount in Korea. Although this internal rule is not mandatory, many judges refer to this before making a decision. So it is worth looking into. It can give you a general idea of how the Korean court determines the child support amount.

The Chart

Below is the child support calculation chart that the Korean Family Courts use.

Korean Court’s Child Support Calculation Chart

How to Read the Chart: An Example

The columns represent the combined monthly income of the couple in the unit of 10,000KRW. The rows represent the age of the child.

The numbers in the yellow zone represent both the average and the range of the monthly cost to raise a child.

For example, if the child is 3 years of old and the father’s monthly income is 3,000,000KRW and the mother’s monthly income is 2,000,000KRW, the average monthly child cost is 1,189,000KRW. And the rage is between 1,122,000KRW and 1,284,000KRW.

The purpose of the monthly average child cost is to set the base child support amount. The judges may apply the average monthly child cost as the base amount, but, the judges have their own discretion to adjust the amount within the range of the monthly child cost.

When the base amount is determined, the next step is applying the allocation ratio to the base amount. That is how much the non-custodial parent has to pay as child support. The allocation ratio is the ratio between the incomes of the parties.

In the above example, let’s say the judge chose the average monthly child cost as the base amount, which is 1,189,000KRW. And the allocation ratio is 60% for the father and 40% for the mother. If the mother is awarded child custody, the father’s portion to pay as monthly child support is 713,400KRW(=1,189,000X60%).


Please note that this is a simplified example. The actual result may vary. Actually, it is more common that Korean judges order different amounts in real cases. This chart is just a starting point. The parties should try their best to raise or lower the child support amount. And that is where a competent Korean lawyer comes into play an important role.


What Type of Incomes Are Included in the Calculation of the Combined Income?

It includes every income from every source. Even government subsidies are included.

I Have No Job and No Income. Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support in Korea?

Yes, even though you have no income, you will be liable for at least the minimum amount of child support.

Can the Judge Order Child Support Which Is More Than Those in the Above Chart?

Yes, the judge can. In doing so, the judge considers the following factors:
① Location and its general living cost
② Number of children (If there are more than 2 children, the judges tend to lower the amount)
③ Need for special medical treatment
④ Additional education cost agreed by the Parties
⑤ Overall financial capacity and situation of each parent

Can I Seek the Past Unpaid Child Support?

Yes, per your request, the court will order the non-custodial parent to pay the arrearages.

How Can I Secure and Collect Unpaid Child Support in Korea?

Child support is a monetary claim in Korea. Therefore, you can secure and collect unpaid child support by the general process of debt collection in Korea.

If you have any questions about the Korean child support matters and want to speak directly with our Korean qualified English speaking lawyer, please click the contact button below.  A real Korean lawyer, not a U.S. attorney hired by a Korean lawyer nor just an English speaking staff, will help you competently.

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Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein, which may or may not reflect the most current legal development, may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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