A Korean man who left his wife 15 years ago has been told he cannot divorce her.
The man, now 68, set up home with a new partner as long ago as 2000 and has since had a child with her. Eventually, in 2011, he applied for a divorce from his wife, but his request was denied by both the South Korean district and appeal courts, on the grounds that he had been responsible for ending the marriage by beginning an adulterous relationship and fathering a child out of wedlock.
That decision has now been upheld by the country’s Supreme Court, who said the welfare of his estranged wife and their three children had to be protected.
In a majority ruling, the Supreme Court Justices highlighted the lack of provision in current South Korean law for either spousal maintenance or child support. Consequently wives forced into divorce by their husbands could be left in financial difficulty.
“More than 77 percent of the couples here divorce after assuming some portion of blame, which is in effect no different from no-fault divorce recognized in other countries. Therefore, it is an excessive claim for men to seek a divorce after having an affair citing their right to freedom of choice and to pursue happiness.”
Photo by jshyun via Flickr