(Question) I have a question regarding my current situation with my ex-husband. He is a Korean national and working there in South Korea. I lived there until 2014 when I came back to Washington and filed a divorce complaint here. Since then he has refused to speak with me. This year my US lawyer duly served him with the paper but he just kept ignoring it. At any rate, I got a divorce decree and child support ruling for my baby this April. Now I am wondering how I can enforce my US ruling in Korea, knowing that he is living a luxurious life and feels that he can just ignore his child and the responsibilities that come with it.
(Answer) I have to say that there is something unclear in this case. If the court proceedings in Washington(WA) court have been duly made, i.e. (i) the WA court had proper jurisdiction and (ii) he was duly served, you can apply for its execution in Korea. Otherwise, you may initiate the whole process de nuvo in Korea. The second threshold seems to have been met here. Thus, the real issue here rather is the first one.
Please note that the jurisdiction must be acknowledged in the view of Korean law, not the WA law. Thus, even though the WA ruling says the WA court has proper jurisdiction, the Korean court will (more…)
Korean court reviews this issue on a case by case basis. If the court finds that the foreign jurisdiction’s requirements for the recognition of Korean judgment are similar or not more difficult to be met than the requirements under the Korean law, the court declares the existence of reciprocity. This does not require actual precedence in the foreign court that a Korean court judgment had been recognized. It just means a reasonable possibility that the Korean judgment would be recognized in that foreign jurisdiction.
The Korean courts have so far recognized the reciprocity with, among others, California(USA), New York(USA), Texas(USA), Washington(USA), China, Japan, and Canada. Then how about Australia?
Back in 1987, the Supreme Court of South Korea rejected the recognition of a judgment from the court of New South Wales, Australia on the ground that there was no reciprocity between the two jurisdictions. At that time, the Korean court found that the New South Wales law required the Australian court to review the merits of the foreign judgment in order to recognize it. This was a serious conflict and deviation from the Korean legal stance. According to the Korean rules, the courts should not consider whether the foreign judgment is substantially correct when granting the recognition of a foreign judgment. With this great discrepancy, the Korean court came to rule that the requirement for the recognition of judgment under New South Wales law was much difficult to be met than the Korean law, and, therefore, the reciprocity was not established.
It should be, however, noted that this ruling was rendered before Australia enacted the Foreign Judgments Act 1991 whereby South Korea was identified as one of the countries with which Australia has a reciprocity. Under this new act, (more…)