The top court ruled Wednesday that a divorced person should share severance pay and retirement pension with his or her former spouse even if the money is paid after splitting-up.
This marked the first verdict in the nation that future payment including severance pay should be included when dividing wealth during a divorce. The Supreme Court overturned the ruling of an appellate court and district court.
A school teacher in her 40s had filed a suit against her ex-husband with the Daejeon Family Court as the man demanded a share of her future retirement allowance and pension.
After the lower and appellate courts ruled that she had no obligation to provide her ex-husband with the money, the husband, also in his 40s, appealed to the Supreme Court.
The top court’s verdict said that “severance pay and retirement pension could be regarded as shared wealth, which is raised on the basis of coordination between the husband and wife.”
It also said the money was in effect a “deferred payment” of a regular salary.
The woman filed for a divorce from her ex-husband in 2010 after suffering 14 years of domestic violence.
Her retirement allowance is estimated at 100 million won ($98,000), which is to paid when she retires under the age limit, and the ex-husband, who is working for a research institute, is about to receive 40 million won in severance pay from his workplace.
A lawyer predicted that the ruling would have great influence in future divorce litigations, citing the significance of the retirement pension in the aging society.
In 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that this sort of unsettled money would not be included in the wealth sharing between divorced couples.
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org)