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Court rules in favor of unfaithful spouse's divorce suit

A court has ruled in favor of an unfaithful spouse who sought a divorce from his wife, the first such case after the top court decided to have more exceptive clauses.

Overturning a lower court's ruling, the appellate court at Seoul Family Court last month granted a divorce to the man, whose identity was withheld, who was blamed for their shattered marriage, court officials said Sunday.

The couple tied the knot 45 years ago but agreed to end the marriage 10 years later. Three years later, they reunited, but the husband soon cheated on the wife and had a baby out of wedlock.

After 25 years of living apart from his family without any contact or exchanges, the husband initiated the divorce proceedings against his wife in 2013, but it was dismissed in the original trial.

But the appellate court found no sufficient reason for them to maintain their legal relationship.

"While being separated for the 25 years, their marriage has effectively ended," presiding Judge Min Yu-suk said in a ruling last month. "The plaintiff has also financially supported his children with the wife, and she now is financially stable."

It is the first ruling after the Supreme Court allowed more exceptions in September while maintaining the country's "fault divorce" system, in which the spouse responsible for the breakdown of the marriage is not allowed to file a divorce lawsuit.

In a 7-6 ruling, the top court said it is too premature to change the law in consideration of the country's social and economic conditions. But it expanded the scope of grounds for exceptive cases: when the spouse at fault is taking care of his/her partner and children enough to make up for the fault and when enough time has passed to make it meaningless to place the blame. (Yonhap)