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(Jun 04, 2009) On April 29, 2009, a new provision amending the section on family (part IV) of Taiwan's Civil Code was promulgated, to allow for divorce by means of mediation. Article 1052-1 stipulates that for divorces established through court mediation or court settlement, marriage relations will be dissolved, and the court should notify the couple's household registration office. (Amendment to Part IV, Family of Civil Code, 6860 The GAZETTE OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT 7-8 (Apr. 29, 2009), available at http://content.glin.gov/summary/218042.)

Before the adoption of the amendment, married couples could obtain a divorce through the mutual consent of both parties or through a court ruling, but, as legislator Huang Sue-ying commented, "a divorce through court mediation would offer a platform for rational communication and protect the interests of the spouse who is at a disadvantage in the process." (Legislators Mulling New Divorce Option, TAIPEI TIMES, Apr. 2, 2009, at 4, available at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2009/04/02/2003440006.) The household registration office notification requirement was inserted, according to an official of the Department of Household Registration Affairs, "because Article 48 of the Household Registration Act … requires household registration authorities to change the marital status of individuals who are granted a divorce but who fail to report the change." (Id.)

Part IV of the Civil Code was originally promulgated on December 26, 1930, and in force as of May 5, 1931. Article 1052, which was last amended on January 9, 2008, sets forth the grounds on which a spouse may lodge a divorce petition with the court. (Min fa [Civil Code] (in Chinese), LAWBANK website, http://db.lawbank.com.tw/FLAW/FLAWDAT01.asp?lsid=FL001351 (last visited June 2, 2009).)

For divorces between Taiwanese spouses pronounced in the People's Republic of China (PRC), certification under Taiwan law is required in order for them to be valid, according to Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council [MAC]. Responding to legislators' concern that the April 26, 2009, agreement on judicial cooperation signed between China and Taiwan would mean that "any verdict pronounced by a Chinese court would have to be accepted in Taiwan," MAC spokesperson Liu Te-shun stated, [a]ny ruling by a Chinese court affecting Taiwanese jurisdiction would need the approval of Taiwan's judiciary. He added, "[w]e need to design a certification system so that when the Chinese judiciary reaches a verdict affecting Taiwan, we can guarantee the rights of the Taiwanese public." (Legislators Mulling New Divorce Option, TAIPEI TIMES, Apr. 2, 2009, at 4, available at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2009/04/02/2003440006; see also Agreements on Regular Flights, Financial Cooperation, Judicial Cooperation Signed, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR, May 11, 2009, available at http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/WLB?disp3_1274_text.)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Families More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Taiwan More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 06/04/2009