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Court summons

Procedures, processes, and the legal basis for divorce in Taiwan, including all related problems and pitfalls, child custody, alimony payments, abandonment, extra-marital affairs, and other complications...
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Court summons

Postby tigsie » 24 Apr 2009, 17:36

I just received a summons via the Taipei Representative Office in the UK to appear in court in Taichung to defend myself in a divorce case my husband is bringing against me on the grounds of 'malicious desertion'.

I left Taiwan in early July 2007 with his verbal consent to take our daughter to attend school in the UK (nothing was written down to this effect, but I have emails he wrote to us that could possibly demonstrate consent). She was born in the UK and only has a UK passport. She does not appear on any Taiwan documentation like his household registration (hukou), etc. Our marriage was registered in the UK, but not in Taiwan. I had PR through residency in Taiwan for 7 years, so I am not on his documents either.

I am in the UK and have not been back to Taiwan since July 2007. He has visited us several times in the UK. I do not want to return to Taiwan, and certainly would not consider returning with our child under these circumstances, though I do have possessions and bank accounts in Taiwan, as well as shared assets like the apartment where we lived together for four years, that I would rather not abandon, though realise that I may have to.

I have not received any financial support from him since I left Taiwan (he pays for stuff when he stays with us), though he says he is regularly paying into an account for our child. I have not seen evidence of this, but trust that he is doing this.

The legal documents accompanying the summons said that I would be liable for all court costs -- is this normal for the defendant to shoulder all the costs? Basically, my spouse's statement uses quite inflammatory language and states that my actions -- abandoning him and taking away his child have 'damaged the marriage irreparably'. Is this the only way he can get his case taken seriously? Or is he trying to be hurtful?

Before I left Taiwan, the marriage was not in good shape. It certainly did not fit the description of 'happy' that he gives it in his statement. Things were so bad that I saw a marriage counsellor over a period of time in an attempt to patch things up, but he is in denial about this.

One interesting point to note, is that BEFORE we formally got married at a registry office in the UK in September 2000, we had a 'qingke' banquet in Taiwan in April 2000. Nothing was signed and there wasn't a proper ceremony. I understand that according to Taiwan law, that made us legally married in Taiwan, as the event was witnessed by more than two people. However, to get married in the UK, he needed a 'certificate of no impediment', so sometime AFTER the 'qingke', we went to the court in Taichung where he signed an affidavit to say that he was not married. Presumably this legal document is still on record at the court and effectively cancels the Taichung 'marriage' or he is perjurious?

Any advice, comments, suggestions?

What are my options in dealing with this situation?

Much appreciated.
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Re: Court summons

Postby sandman » 25 Apr 2009, 01:27

Get a lawyer. If you want to fight it. If not, forget it -- with no documentation and no ROC passport he's on a hiding to nothing I think. Take the kid back onto ROC soil, though, he'll have her and you'll have a devil of a job getting her back.
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Re: Court summons

Postby housecat » 25 Apr 2009, 10:04

Yes, just forget about it, unless you want to stay with him. My husband divorced me from Taiwan, too, with me and our boy in the States, and the divorce states that I'm to pay for everything involved with the divorce. All the expenses I know of total about a hundred bucks, US, but there may be more that I don't know of. As long as I don't go back there, there's nothing to be done about it. Even if I do, it's not much, that I know of. My ex pays no support at all. The divorce is clear that if he misses a payment, the entire support due until our boy is 18 is due at once. No way he'd argue about paying the court fees in the face of that. You'll just have to deal with the loss of stuff. It's just stuff, after all. Taiwan was my home, and the loss of my home is what kills me. But I don't want to chance a custody fight. Sometimes, you really can't go home again. P.M. me if you want to know more.

Anyway, good on you for leaving a bad situation. Now, keep going and don't look back.
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Re: Court summons

Postby Bubba 2 Guns » 25 Apr 2009, 10:17

I ignore all court summons and letters of intent to arrest. :cactus:
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Re: Court summons

Postby TainanCowboy » 25 Apr 2009, 11:02

Bubba 2 Guns wrote:I ignore all court summons and letters of intent to arrest. :cactus:

And it bears repeating..."An indictment is not a conviction."
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Re: Court summons

Postby Mother Theresa » 25 Apr 2009, 16:56

I agree with sandman to get a lawyer if you want to fight it, but otherwise it seems extremely unlikely he can do anything meaningful against the two of you. International legal battles are difficult enough in most cases; they're even that much more difficult when one party is in Taiwan, which is party to almost no international treaties. Since your daughter was born in the UK and has no Taiwan passport, your marriage was never registered in Taiwan and you have no plans to return, so much the better.

tigsie wrote:The legal documents accompanying the summons said that I would be liable for all court costs -- is this normal for the defendant to shoulder all the costs?

Doesn't sound normal at all. There's no way in hell that he can recover the costs from you in the UK, but I wouldn't be surprised if he goes after your assets in Taiwan, and you should never underestimate the stupidity of Taiwan's laws and judges. I wouldn't be surprised if he's able to finagle some way of stealing your assets here, sorry to say.

Basically, my spouse's statement uses quite inflammatory language and states that my actions -- abandoning him and taking away his child have 'damaged the marriage irreparably'. Is this the only way he can get his case taken seriously? Or is he trying to be hurtful?

Don't take that stuff personally. Probably some asshole lawyer drafted vicious, hurtful, inaccurate language calculated to win his case, without regard for truth, integrity or morality. Divorces bring out the worst in people and the lawyers often egg them on.
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Re: Court summons

Postby Huang Guang Chen » 25 Apr 2009, 17:51

Could it not be a simple case of him trying to get not-married status on his ID card? No such thing as a no-fault divorce in Taiwan, so an excuse is needed. generally costs sod all - rock up to the local government office, shuffle some forms, pay for a few chopped forms and you're done.

I think you should be taking greater intertest in your shared assets and this supposed account he has for your child, though.

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Re: Court summons

Postby BigJohn » 25 Apr 2009, 18:09

I suggest you talk to a lawyer who knows Taiwanese law and how it pertains to UK jurisdiction in ways such as bilateral agreements. You need proper legal advice. Might cost you a few hundred quid but then you'd know!
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