divorce looming - need some help

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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divorce looming - need some help

Postby jazzbass2 » 17 May 2010, 13:47

Hi all - basically my situation is - divorce looming - I'm a british citizen and my wife is Taiwanese and holds a british passport having married in the UK - my kids have dual nationality (born in UK).
I hold an ARC through marriage.
We are currently buying property in Taiwan in her name - mortgage paid for the last 5 years (joint payments).
My wife wants me to sign a uncontested divorce document which now I am refusing to do as I don't know what I'm signing or the consequences if I do, so if anyone has any solid info on this matter then please let me know.
I do not want to leave Taiwan having built a life here but have no solid info on the outcome of divorce over here - any information appreciated
cheers
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Re: divorce looming - need some help

Postby sandman » 17 May 2010, 14:02

Who gets custody of the kids? That will have great bearing on whether you can continue to stay here. If you sign an uncontested divorce, though, you'll be looking at having your ARC cancelled, which will give you however long to leave the country. (Two weeks? Not sure, but its not long). I'd also be VERY VERY leery of paying any kind of mortgage payments on a property to which you have absolutely NO rights, though.
You don't need Forumosa, mate. You need a lawyer. Pronto! Get to it! You say you don't want to leave and you have two kids. You don't say whether you want to see them again, but if you do, you need a LAWYER! FAST!
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Re: divorce looming - need some help

Postby itakitez » 17 May 2010, 14:47

repeat what sandman said

also, since you have been paying the mortgage for 5 years, can I also assume that you have been here for 5 years? if so you have passed the time requirement for a PARC (permananent ARC) so if you meet other conditions, this will give you a way to stay

as long as she doesn't hold anything against you (photos of misdemeners) then you should be fine to ask for a separation for a while while you guys calm down, use this time to apply for and get a PARC, then later, if you guys are still gonna divorce then you can negotiate a consented divorce

if you have only been here 1 or 2 years and want to stay I would say find a job and get the ARC visa before signing a divorce
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Re: divorce looming - need some help

Postby Northcoast Surfer » 17 May 2010, 21:30

jazzbass2 wrote:Hi all - basically my situation is - divorce looming - I'm a british citizen and my wife is Taiwanese and holds a british passport having married in the UK - my kids have dual nationality (born in UK).
I hold an ARC through marriage.
We are currently buying property in Taiwan in her name - mortgage paid for the last 5 years (joint payments).
My wife wants me to sign a uncontested divorce document which now I am refusing to do as I don't know what I'm signing or the consequences if I do, so if anyone has any solid info on this matter then please let me know.
I do not want to leave Taiwan having built a life here but have no solid info on the outcome of divorce over here - any information appreciated
cheers

First and foremost. You must keep a cool head and demeanor whilst dealing with your wife over the issue of divorce. Unfortunately the cards are already stacked against you because your wife is a Taiwanese and you are a foreigner. This is just the reality of Taiwan. Therefore, you should go out of your way to be agreeable with her and try your best not to antagonize her under any circumstances. This will be very hard for you to do, but you must try your best.

Under most circumstances your wife can't divorce you without your permission and you can't divorce her without her permission. As long as your wife doesn't have ironclad proof that you have committed adultery, physically beaten her up, or abandoned her physically and financially, there is very little she can do to force you to divorce her. So, keep a cool head and don't do anything that could compromise your position.

Calmly tell your wife that you are more than happy to sign the divorce papers and end your marriage once she assists you in finalizing your immigration status here in Taiwan. That would mean she needs to assist you in getting your status changed from JFRV marriage ARC to APRC (permanent resident). Unfortunately, history has shown us that most Taiwanese women do not want their former husbands to remain in Taiwan after the divorce and they will go out of their way to try to force you out of Taiwan. If this is not the case with your wife, then that's a bonus for you. However, if she is not receptive to assisting you adjudicate your immigration status from JFRV to APRC you will need to be tough with her. By "being tough" I don't mean to be verbally or physically abusive. You just calmly tell her that if she refuses to help you that you will NEVER agree to divorcing and you will NEVER agree to leave the house, EVER. She can move out if she so wishes, but you shouldn't move out of your house until you have your APRC in hand! She will never be able to force you to divorce her or even move out if your name appears on the household registration. You are married to her and you have a legal right to live in your house as long as you are her spouse. Even if she were able to somehow get you deported from Taiwan, she still can't divorce you unless you agree to it. Remember, very calm, but firm.

To qualify for APRC status, you need to have lived in Taiwan for the past 5 years with an ARC (without a break in status) and have stayed at least 183 days for each of those 5 years. You also need to have made at least $420,000 NTD in reportable income for the 2009 tax year and filed a tax form which shows this minimum. Can you meet the basic requirements for an APRC? If you have no reported income you can still get the APRC by showing at least $5 million NTD in cash and/or assets. To qualify this way you can show your apartment as well as your wife's cash and assets, too. It's a little bit more of a hassle, but definitely doable. But, the minimum annual income is the easiest way to do it and anyone can do it. The problem usually is that the income is usually massively underreported or not reported at all.

What is the current expiration date of your JFRV ARC? When do you have to renew it again? If you're getting close to the renewal date, I recommend that you opt for having it renewed for at least 2 years versus just one more additional year. That will give you more time to get things taken care of regarding applying for the APRC. If it were me, I would renew the JFRV ARC for three years just to be on the safe side.

Regarding the children. They were born in the UK, but have dual UK and Taiwan citizenship. Here's a very important question. How did they come to Taiwan, via their UK passports or their Taiwan passports? If you say Taiwan passports, you have very little chance of ever getting your children to be able to leave Taiwan if your wife won't agree to it. I'm not a duty expert on children and custody issues, but I will say that you could contact Forumosan member pgdaddy and he'll be able to give you more information that you would care to stomach regarding divorce and custody battles over children. He also has some excellent information regarding retaining an attorney and the pitfalls that you should avoid whilst embarking on this extremely expensive endeavor which most likely will leave you with very unsatisfying and/or mixed results.

Tell your wife anything she wants to hear in order to get her to cooperate with you in you applying for the APRC. Once you have it in hand, you can change your mind about the apartment, financial considerations, and the custody of your children later.

I see that you've posted exactly the same thing back on June 16, 2009. So this issue has been going on for nearly a year? Have you been able to make ANY progress at all in the past 10 months regarding your situation?

This is all the advice I have to offer based on your initial posting. I wish you good luck and also remind you to keep as calm and non-threatening as possible no matter how your wife treats you during this extremely difficult time. :bow:

This post was recommended by WaltzingMatilda (19 Apr 2011, 07:48)
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Re: divorce looming - need some help

Postby I am a City Girl » 17 May 2010, 22:08

Hiya,
Just a quick message which might be of help for your situation.

Recently, the Taiwan "Law Governing the Application of Laws to Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements"(涉外民事法律事用法) has made some amendments on April 30, 2010. The new law will come into force one year later.

I am mentioning this, because this law usually is applied when it comes to international family affairs of which the custody, divorce etc are involved.
I don't know Forumosan member pgdaddy's story and didn't knwo how he got divorced, but his case is an old one, so no application for the new law.
However, I'd say if you can hang on/ fight until then (,which you have enough time to figure out how to do will be the best interest for your kids and deal with the property you jointly have with your wife (not only referring to the property you recently bought), perhaps you can get yourself and/or your kids a better term.
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Re: divorce looming - need some help

Postby pgdaddy » 17 May 2010, 22:45

I am not sure if I have much useful advice for you regarding the division of assets etc and going to court for that. Except of course to say don't sign anything that you are not happy with.

Lawyers, schmawyers.

Of course regarding your children, I can tell you a lot. If your wife is that way inclined (and remember, people can turn nasty like you would never expect when a marriage breaks up), she can stop you seeing your children and control the situation, and your money, that way. Even if the children did enter Taiwan on their UK passport, she could easily obtain an airport block to stop you leaving pending the final custody outcome. And if the matter goes to court, she is extremely likely to win full custody unless you can prove abuse. Joint custody is not recognised by the courts in Taiwan, it's all or nothing. Winner takes all.

You are happy in Taiwan but your happiness may disappear quickly if you find yourself in a situation where you have your children taken away from you. If your children are dear to you, let me tell you what to do. Tell your wife you love her, and want to reconcile. Yes, it hurts a lot to lie, especially to someone against whom you have such negative feelings. But it's something you need to do to prevent yourself suffering later. Suggest a romantic holiday outside Taiwan. Perhaps your best option is to persuade her to go back to the UK. Whatever you do and wherever you go, your main objective should be that the children leave Taiwan and are never allowed to go back there again.

If she wants a custody battle, then make sure you are in a situation where you are on even terms. And believe me, in the UK you will not get preferential treatment. You say that your wife has a British passport ? In that case, she can live and work in the UK and will get joint custody at least. But you will have a fighting chance. Your children were born in the UK, and moreover if you can prove that if she is given full custody and is allowed to take the children back to Taiwan that you will likely be denied access, I know what any reasonable judge would decide.

Remember, how you feel now may be very different to how you feel in a year's time. Right now you might just want to get the marriage over with as soon as possible, and agree to anything just to get your wife off your back. You might take it for granted now that she will continue to give you full access to your children. Unfortunately in a divorce situation things can turn nasty very quickly. Children can be used to control the other party. You want to put yourself in a situation where you cannot be controlled.
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Re: divorce looming - need some help

Postby Mr He » 18 May 2010, 08:49

Get a lawyer.

Also, law and all that is great, however at the same time, look into actual leverage, IE in case you are forced to leave Taiwan, and at least for a period will not be able to pay child support, will she be able to support herself and the kids?

My ex tried to kick me out, however once she started thinking about money, she mellowed rather fast.

I then got the lawyer, I wrote the divorce, and I got her to sign. I don't even think she bothered having a lawyer read it through for her, if not she would not have signed.
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Re: divorce looming - need some help

Postby jazzbass2 » 18 May 2010, 10:15

First of all, wanna say a big thank you to everyone who replied to my post - a whole load of very useful info - feel better already
so I think i ought to elaborate on my story to answer some of your questions : been here for over 8 years now, working all that time, paying taxes, no problems with the law or other stuff going on, no female misdemeanors, no wife beating, just living normally........
have a family ARC valid till march 2013, kids are 15 and 18 years old and entered Taiwan originally on UK passports, they kinda happy in Taiwan, so am i, anyway, being 49 I don't think going back to the UK is a good option
I'm gonna go for APRC but the authorities here in Keelung (Jilong) don't seem to want to help. in fact they try to discourage it
or........ does anyone know anything about changing citizenship, that would solve a lot of future problems but maybe cause a few too
Cheers
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Re: divorce looming - need some help

Postby pgdaddy » 18 May 2010, 10:41

jazzbass2 wrote:First of all, wanna say a big thank you to everyone who replied to my post - a whole load of very useful info - feel better already
so I think i ought to elaborate on my story to answer some of your questions : been here for over 8 years now, working all that time, paying taxes, no problems with the law or other stuff going on, no female misdemeanors, no wife beating, just living normally........
have a family ARC valid till march 2013, kids are 15 and 18 years old and entered Taiwan originally on UK passports, they kinda happy in Taiwan, so am i, anyway, being 49 I don't think going back to the UK is a good option
I'm gonna go for APRC but the authorities here in Keelung (Jilong) (Jilong) don't seem to want to help. in fact they try to discourage it
or........ does anyone know anything about changing citizenship, that would solve a lot of future problems but maybe cause a few too
Cheers



The kids being that age makes a massive difference, of course. They'll know how to contact you if she tries anything, just make sure they know your e-mail address. If the kids are happy in Taiwan it makes the world of difference too. With very young children it's a different story.
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Re: divorce looming - need some help

Postby Mr He » 18 May 2010, 10:50

The 18 year old kid - adult, no?

The 15 year old one, well, it's hard to excise him/her out of your life.
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