Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

All issues that are not covered by the following legal forums may be posted here.

Moderator: Eiger John

Forum rules
Taiwanease is pleased to have the legal forums moderated by individuals from the upstanding legal firm Eiger. While the moderators are happy to help point people in the right direction for legal assistance and to attempt to keep these forums civil and tidy, please bear in mind that an Internet forum is not the place for providing or receiving legal advice or for the creation of any attorney-client privileges or obligations. Also keep in mind that Taiwanease, the moderators and the Eiger firm cannot conduct comprehensive reviews of all laws or legal concepts referenced or discussed within these forums – laws and regulations are updated and amended, interpretations do change, and sometimes the legal landscape can change very fast. Taiwanease provides these legal forums for general informational purposes only. By using these legal forums, you agree that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created between you and Eiger or any other posters on these forums. DO NOT CONSIDER THE FORUMS TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR OBTAINING LEGAL ADVICE FROM A QUALIFIED LICENSED ATTORNEY.

Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby huilai » Mon Jan 30, 2017 20:48

I wasn't sure exactly where to stick this post so I've put it here - it spans divorce/marriage and immigration/visas.

My employer regularly sends me to neighboring Asian countries, and this time it's Taiwan. I knew it would happen sooner or later. I've no objection to going but I'm not entirely sure about my situation legally speaking if I go there.

Some time ago (more than a decade now) I was married in Taiwan. To cut the story a little shorter, the wife unilaterally decided she wanted to divorce. There were no legal grounds for this at the time - no extramarital relationship or anything like that. She repeatedly refused to discuss the matter with either me or any counselor/mediating party. I wasn't going to consent to her wishes without at least a reasonable discussion. At the time, the only reason to stay in Taiwan was the relationship - I could get far better work across the Strait.

Eventually, after months of attempting sensible communication, I took up an offer of employment and left Taiwan. Everything at that stage was still unresolved.

My guess, given her stubbornness, was she subsequently initiated civil proceedings for divorce and told the courts a bunch of nonsense coincidentally similar to grounds for instant divorce. Given how difficult it is to do this unilaterally (and the fact there were no grounds) I guess it may have cost her a reasonable sum.

Life moved on, and, given the absence of communication, I assumed she either managed to push it through, or was able to eventually do it on grounds of desertion or uncertainty as to whereabouts.

As far as I can tell this is all a matter of civil law, even if she'd like to sue me for legal costs. Would this be a reasonable assumption?

The other issue is immigration/passport control. I'm assuming there should be no problem there as it's a civil rather than criminal matter (but I don't know for sure). They may though have a record of me being married/having a jfrv there before, and I'm wondering how that's likely to play out. I'd be interested to hear of anyone who's done a similar thing before. Obviously, I'm trying to make sure I'm not detained or thrown in the slammer at the port of entry. It seems a ridiculous scenario; but then again it's Taiwan.

I'd be grateful to have any input from anyone with relevant legal/immigration knowledge or experience of a similar situation.

Thanks for taking the time to read.
huilai
Taiwanease Gentry
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 21:46
Has given kudos: 0 time
Has gotten kudos: 0 time

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby SuperS54 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 22:17

No experience of your situation but you could certainly do worse than to contact your local TECO and enquire as to your status.

These users gave kudos to the author SuperS54 for the post:
jimipresley (Mon Jan 30, 2017 22:37)
SuperS54
Taiwanease Gentry
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 17:47
Has given kudos: 48 times
Has gotten kudos: 21 times

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby jimipresley » Mon Jan 30, 2017 22:43

OP, are you actually divorced? You're pretty vague on that. "Guessing" is a dangerous game, Sir, when dealing with the Taiwanese legal system.

Follow Superdude's advice and make some calls. :twocents:
Do you ever listen to yourself? - maoman

How clever of you to take an orange and a dog biscuit and build a time machine. - Bunks

Some countries cultivate vast populations of idiots for the purpose of maintaining sham democracies. - Toad
User avatar
jimipresley
Taiwanease Deity
 
Posts: 5529
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 23:34
Location: Picturesque, idyllic Sanchong.
Has given kudos: 2564 times
Has gotten kudos: 1596 times

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby huilai » Tue Jan 31, 2017 00:15

Thanks for the replies.

I know contacting a TECO appears a logical course of action. Unfortunately, I've invariably found them to be lazy, incompetent and obstructive. I would find it very hard to believe with certainty any information they gave me. They are a last resort at the moment.

If I can establish in principle that this could only be a matter of civil law and that it would have no
consequences at passport control, it would carry more weight than anything a TECO told me.

As for marital status, I'm making a reasonable assumption that the divorce went through. Why would she change her mind and decide to remain married? Again, I could, and may, ask a TECO but I'd be very wary of trusting anything they told me.
huilai
Taiwanease Gentry
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 21:46
Has given kudos: 0 time
Has gotten kudos: 0 time

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby Toad » Tue Jan 31, 2017 00:42

huilai wrote:As for marital status, I'm making a reasonable assumption that the divorce went through. Why would she change her mind and decide to remain married?

It's not really that simple. Although abandonment is grounds for divorce, the abandoned spouse must make some reasonable attempt to contact the, er, abandoner, preferably via the courts. Did you leave any forwarding address or contact details?

I suppose you could also try calling Immigration and asking them what happened to your JFRV. If a divorce occurred, they will (I guess) have been notified. If you can remember where your household registration office was (the one where you filed for marriage) they will, I'm sure, also have a record of divorce if there was one.

If you don't want to talk to TECO, Immigration, or the HR office, you'll probably have to get a lawyer to go through court records for you ... for which he will no doubt charge some serious money.
User avatar
Toad
Taiwanease Aristocracy
 
Posts: 2977
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:50
Has given kudos: 1012 times
Has gotten kudos: 711 times

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby huilai » Tue Jan 31, 2017 02:02

Toad wrote:
huilai wrote:As for marital status, I'm making a reasonable assumption that the divorce went through. Why would she change her mind and decide to remain married?

It's not really that simple. Although abandonment is grounds for divorce, the abandoned spouse must make some reasonable attempt to contact the, er, abandoner, preferably via the courts. Did you leave any forwarding address or contact details?

I suppose you could also try calling Immigration and asking them what happened to your JFRV. If a divorce occurred, they will (I guess) have been notified. If you can remember where your household registration office was (the one where you filed for marriage) they will, I'm sure, also have a record of divorce if there was one.

If you don't want to talk to TECO, Immigration, or the HR office, you'll probably have to get a lawyer to go through court records for you ... for which he will no doubt charge some serious money.

I understand what you say about the difficulty involved - I told her this at the time. However, it's a decade now and surely the 'not knowing if spouse is dead or alive for three years' would provide grounds. If you didn't have someone's contact details for three years or more, you would really not know if they were dead or alive. If anyone thinks this is wrong, feel free to correct me. The household registration office is an interesting suggestion as it's a direct means of getting confirmation.

For now I'm assuming it went through; I'm just trying to sound out any possible legal consequences if I came back. It would have been a lot easier if she'd discussed it with me in the months before I left.
huilai
Taiwanease Gentry
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 21:46
Has given kudos: 0 time
Has gotten kudos: 0 time

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby Kal El » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:26

I'm not lawyer, but here's my :twocents:

huilai wrote:The household registration office is an interesting suggestion as it's a direct means of getting confirmation.

This is the best way to confirm a divorce, IMHO. Get a local friend to go there and check it out for you.

huilai wrote:For now I'm assuming it went through; I'm just trying to sound out any possible legal consequences if I came back. It would have been a lot easier if she'd discussed it with me in the months before I left.

Confirmed or not, I agree that that is a reasonable assumption. You being a foreigner, I doubt she would have had much trouble with this, especially given that it was a decade ago. It might not be as easy today, though.
That said, I doubt you'd have any legal problems getting back. Again, I base that very much on this all having occured 10 years ago. Now? Not so much.

I'd advise either enlisting a lawyer, and/or trying to contact her directly (she likely has Facebook, if nothing else).
Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
Sir Winston Churchill

Heathen filth, the lot of you.
Dr Kurt Langstrom

人不可貌相,海水不可斗量
User avatar
Kal El
Taiwanease Deity
 
Posts: 6924
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 23:17
Location: 台南, 台灣
Has given kudos: 1231 times
Has gotten kudos: 1159 times

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby huilai » Tue Jan 31, 2017 20:22

Kal El wrote:
huilai wrote:For now I'm assuming it went through; I'm just trying to sound out any possible legal consequences if I came back. It would have been a lot easier if she'd discussed it with me in the months before I left.

Confirmed or not, I agree that that is a reasonable assumption. You being a foreigner, I doubt she would have had much trouble with this, especially given that it was a decade ago. It might not be as easy today, though.
That said, I doubt you'd have any legal problems getting back. Again, I base that very much on this all having occured 10 years ago. Now? Not so much.

Thanks for addressing the legal issue; I know people are reluctant to offer an opinion without relevant expertise in the field. Your conclusion is pretty much the same as mine.

The only potential problem I can imagine would be a result of court proceedings, especially if they were initiated at an early stage. This would presumably have cost her a fair sum. There could also have been court appearances missed by me. Being sued for legal costs and non-appearance at civil cases due to not being contactable are not criminal law issues, as far as I can see. But then again, I don't know the ins and outs of the legal system there. I'd be interested in any further opinions on this, expert or otherwise.

Out of interest, you said things might not be as easy today. Did you mean due to changes in law, or simply due to the passing of time?
huilai
Taiwanease Gentry
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 21:46
Has given kudos: 0 time
Has gotten kudos: 0 time

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby Kal El » Wed Feb 01, 2017 00:48

huilai wrote:Out of interest, you said things might not be as easy today. Did you mean due to changes in law, or simply due to the passing of time?

Hey, mate.

I meant more because the letter of the law is followed more closely these days. In yonder years things were more "Wild West", but today it's much more strict.
Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
Sir Winston Churchill

Heathen filth, the lot of you.
Dr Kurt Langstrom

人不可貌相,海水不可斗量
User avatar
Kal El
Taiwanease Deity
 
Posts: 6924
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 23:17
Location: 台南, 台灣
Has given kudos: 1231 times
Has gotten kudos: 1159 times

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby huilai » Wed Feb 01, 2017 01:08

Kal El wrote:
huilai wrote:I meant more because the letter of the law is followed more closely these days. In yonder years things were more "Wild West", but today it's much more strict.


Hello

That's interesting; I didn't realise having been away so long. My memories of TECOs and immigration are certainly that they did what they felt like on the day - or maybe nothing at all.

Thanks again for your input.
huilai
Taiwanease Gentry
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 21:46
Has given kudos: 0 time
Has gotten kudos: 0 time

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby Kal El » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:00

huilai wrote:
Kal El wrote:
huilai wrote:I meant more because the letter of the law is followed more closely these days. In yonder years things were more "Wild West", but today it's much more strict.


Hello

That's interesting; I didn't realise having been away so long. My memories of TECOs and immigration are certainly that they did what they felt like on the day - or maybe nothing at all.

Thanks again for your input.

I think that much is still true in terms of "the answer differs depending on who you ask".
Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
Sir Winston Churchill

Heathen filth, the lot of you.
Dr Kurt Langstrom

人不可貌相,海水不可斗量
User avatar
Kal El
Taiwanease Deity
 
Posts: 6924
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 23:17
Location: 台南, 台灣
Has given kudos: 1231 times
Has gotten kudos: 1159 times

Re: Returning to Taiwan after contested divorce - what's the legal position?

Postby Toad » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:36

huilai wrote:That's interesting; I didn't realise having been away so long. My memories of TECOs and immigration are certainly that they did what they felt like on the day - or maybe nothing at all.

I've always found the immigration people to be really, really helpful. Well ... nearly always. There's always one who sees it as his sworn duty to make the department look bad. As Kal El said, it depends who you get.

Never had to call TECO.
User avatar
Toad
Taiwanease Aristocracy
 
Posts: 2977
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:50
Has given kudos: 1012 times
Has gotten kudos: 711 times


Return to General Legal Matters