Another divorce case in Taipei; division of assets, child custody, etc

Hi all,

As you read so often from new posters, I’ve been reading through this forum for years and finally made it to register and post, although for unfortunate reasons.

Apologies upfront for the long read.

I am a foreign guy married to a Taiwanese now for 5 years and although I wished we had never reached this point, it seems we will not get around a divorce.

I have read through plenty of divorce case posts in this forum and gathered lots of info by now. At the end, every case is somewhat unique and I hope you guys don’t mind me posting my story for some advice as well.

Met my wife when I was living and working in Japan while she was on holidays there. I was 27, fresh to Asia. Wife is 7 years older than me. We started a long-distance relationship flying back and forth between Tokyo + Taipei. We wanted to live in Tokyo together and got married to support her dependent visa. I was not in favor of this and said she can have a 3-month visa and live with me to see how we get along day in and day out. She always insisted that this is a half-measure and if we love each other, we’ll commit to getting married. I agreed to this under the condition that for whatever reason during the first three months things don’t work out, we’ll divorce and go separate ways again. She was fine with it, mostly through LINE correspondence, although I don’t have any records saved. Very naive of me, because things certainly did not work out during that 3-month ‘trial’. I told her and sure enough, she wouldn’t divorce nor move back. We’ve had days and nights of crying and clinging on and I felt guilty since we both wanted family and she had already reached a certain age (33-34), I could possibly be her last chance.

So we went on to have a child. Things were never really pretty during all that time, including pregnancy, when suddenly she started to open up to divorce. Our daughter was born.
We went on to move around Asia for my work posting and back to Tokyo. We reached a point where living with each other was unbearable. Wife loves silence treatment, wife is depressed, I have heart problems during all last couple of years’ medical check.

So I said that’s it; I will do whatever I can to relocate to Taiwan, we divorce and I will still be able to be a dad to my daughter. We did, I took a serious professional and financial hit by accepting a much lower role in the company. Now we live in Taiwan for 9 months (where we also married 5 years ago) and wife is giving me trouble about the divorce.

She is 40 now, was supposed to get a half-day job while daughter is in the kindergarten, which was all agreed upon prior, but now she’s telling me she can’t get any. No half-day jobs in Taiwan and also because she is not the youngest anymore. She did not go to university and did only simple admin jobs in the past. Now she’s out of work for 5 years and tells me it is impossible.

She could live with her mom (as it seems so common in TW), but there her brother is already living with 3 other kids, the wife and a dog. Not much space. Wife also cannot afford rent on her own since she doesn’t own a penny and never saved up anything either.

I offered her 50% of assets, which is around TWD 2 Mio. in cash, as well as TWD 20.000 monthly when we were still in Japan and she was happy with it. Now she’s telling me she can’t live with her mom anymore and needs 20k per month just for rent and needs extra for living expenses.

I think my questions are mainly around whether my offer would be considered reasonable in case things go to court. The other trouble I have is that our daughter goes to the Taipei European School which costs a fortune and I pay from my savings in Japan. The wife is unwilling to pay any school fees from her 50% and says daughter can also go to a local school.

My opinion is that she should truly look for a half-day job to add to the 20k and she’d be not too bad off. I could also pay her more per month by skipping the 50% cash amount, divided by a number of years. Her opinion is that if I want a divorce, I am responsible for her future well being, rent, etc.

Since my job is rather lower in the ranks, I don’t know how many years I can actually stay here. If she was to go to a local school and I need to return home (Germany), I will be a.) not able to pay TWD 20k/month or more and b.) cannot support the European school fees, since no longer any decent expat package.

Would these things be taken into consideration when in front of a judge, in case push comes to shove and we do have to go legal?

I would also be super happy to move with my daughter back home. We travel there 1-2 times per year, my wife agrees it is a nicer place to grow up for my daughter and I’d have my family’s support with pickup from kindergarten/school, etc. I would even be willing to pay my wife more than 50% for this scenario, but she would rather die than let go of our daughter, which I can fully understand.

I would really appreciate any advice, input and your opinion. I’m afraid I’ll either end up with her not agreeing to a divorce or only against conditions that will not allow me to continue paying for the European school and leave me financially with very little. I don’t speak very little Chinese and I’m afraid my daughter will be totally alienated in case she goes to a local school. All German language will be lost and in just a couple of years’ time, I wouldn’t be able to communicate with her at all anymore once I either had to move back home or got another posting somewhere.

I am also seeing two different lawyers for consultation for TWD 10k each next week. Both are from the AIT website. I’d like to match up their input with also some real-life cases and input from you guys.

Thanks a lot for your help, I really appreciate it.

So, why don’t you take the soon to be exwife with you to Germany? Set her up in Germany in her own apartment and stay married until she gets German citizenship(or some other documentation she can stay in the country without you being married)

1 Like

Hi Morran01,

Thank you for your reply.

Yes we had these thoughts before. Even in Japan. The challenge is that when we first met, her English was rather beginner level. We agreed that she would learn either English or German over time. We have hired even personal language teachers to visit our home in Japan, but it was just very expensive with nothing sticking. We actually said that maybe she could now properly learn German now that we are in Taiwan (from Chinese to German). She went to the Goethe Institute for over 6 months, 3 hours a day every day (which I said is too much, but that’s what she insisted was best). However, nothing sticks. The classes went on and she could not catch up. I tried to help her at home, to the extend that I ended up doing her homework because she had no clue what was going on anymore.

This is also one of the reasons why the entire relationship is not working out; we cannot communicate properly in any language. One of the things we said we want to do when we got married was to get her up to speed on one of the two languages, which did not progress at all in 6 years being together. All these challenges, lack of ambition, lack of ability to learn anything only surfaced over time. My family says rightfully now that this is my own fault for marrying this quickly a long-distance and holiday relationship.

I’m saying all this because she needs basic German language skills to be granted a visa over there, even if we are still married. Things are already ending there. We do all these things sort of as a cover-up, because in reality, we both don’t want to be with each other anymore. Imagine you resent someone, and then you have to go to school to learn that person’s language, for the purpose of not ending up in your overcrowded mom’s apartment as a single, 40 year old woman in Taiwan.

Wife also agrees that DE is a nicer place for our daughter, but she surely would not want to live there on her own.

At the same time, we would just kill each other if we stayed together any longer. There is barely any communication going on between us. The smallest thing is sweeping up everything hidden under the carpet for the smallest things. Just today my daughter loves an Elsa costume and wants to wear it outside, I say it’s fine and wife doesn’t want it (for whatever reason). Then all hell breaks loose again and wife starts stomping through the apartment, not wanting to join us for our daily schedule, bangs the doors, etc. which will take another couple of days.

In this entire process, my wife and I both are not healthy and neither is it an environment I want our daughter to be exposed to any longer. She sees her parents living in the same place like distant roommates. No communication, no intimacy, only silence treatment. We don’t even sleep in the same bed or room for the past 2 years. It is not only her fault, we both certainly are no angels.

Our daughter can feel the daily tension at home, even if she’s not saying anything. Moving to my home country would not be much different than being here. Thank you for the question though, I appreciate it.

I cannot say anything on the conditions of your divorce, but it cannot be an option that you learn some Chinese to communicate with your daughter?

It would be damaging for him to try to practice bad Chinese with his daughter. She will be naturally fluent in German (and probably English to a lesser extent, depending on how much input she’s received). She has a native German speaking parent and she’s at TES.

The problem is circumstances are changing.
He might not have the money to cover all these costs.
Sending a kid to local school , staying in Taiwan and father also learning Chinese is an option but involves commitment for quite a few years.
Another is moving back to Germany and get her to visit during the Summers.

Could you see yourself living in Taiwan for another ten years ?

Divorce looks like the right move now for happiness of all concerned . I think it’s fairly easy to live in Taiwan once you speak Chinese . It’s not that hard to learn Chinese once you go to school part-time here.

Your wife can get a job it’s just that it will be really low paid cos of the hours that you have to bring and collect kids to and from School. Now if her relatives help out or you help out that will change the equation and she could get a full time job.

Thanks for the ideas.

I am taking some Chinese classes, but it’ll take some time. The idea behind the daughter at TES is also so that she has better opportunities in the future, i.e. move to Germany in her youth or study there. School fees over there are practically for free and it gives her better options in life I figure. I wouldn’t want her to end up like my wife; totally dependent on the husband. Right now the daughter is fluent in Chinese and German and it would be a shame to let go of either one.

Long term in Taiwan for me seems challenging. If I can get the whole divorce thing done somehow, then I would also look to move on and find another partner, have a couple more kids, etc. And after what I have experienced with the then ex-wife, I’m not sure if it would be another Taiwanese :slight_smile: But who knows, currently everything seems grim and things might look a bit better once we are over this.

Btw, any idea how a judge looks at the wife not willing to chip in for the international school despite a 50/50 split? Would they have the stance of; tough luck, just send her to a local school?

And is it common to share 50% of all acquired during marriage, as well as monthly alimony payments? Child support for sure, but would the wife-part not be done with either a lump-sum or monthly payments?

There’s a lot to chew on…I could see your point about future relationships…We did have one chap who went through this situation two or even three times !

Sorry I cannot advise on divorce side of things including how monies are split hopefully other members could share their experience .

The courts can sometimes side with parents who are more financially viable in terms of custody but I think kids need their mothers personally.

As for kids education I’m sure it would work out either way (because in local schools the Chinese environment is much stronger ) and it’s free education even for foreigners in Germany in third level I believe. Your kid wouldn’t be a foreigner anyway they would be German right ? Either option seems okay in the end.

Good luck.

That is your answer right there.
You are looking out for your daughter and her future. Go. Get the divorce no matter how big and bad it may be and move back to Germany with your daughter. You got yourself into a pickle, but you already see the way out.

From what you stated about the woman you married, she has a lot of messed up things going on in her head that nobody but she can resolve.

Article 1030 of civil code ( says 50% of all acquired during marriage. I think if you are not a side with a fault, you don’t need to pay alimony. If she doesn’t have money to raise the kid, you might be able to get a full custody with a good lawyer. But it is just my thought, and I don’t know how court people judge it. It is sure that you need a good lawyer.

Sorry for chiming in late. I just stumbled about this thread.
Don’t take my words for granted. I just speak from my experience with German authorities/research on German visas.

Your wife does need A1 for joining you in Germany (residence visa), which is basic knowledge of German language.
But if she is joining your daughter who is still a minor and has German citizenship then there is no language requirement for her resident visa.

Also consider following:
You (father) can not register your minor daughter to be resident in Germany by yourself, your wife needs to be resident as well! The German law is discriminatory against fathers to allegedly protect the interests of the child.
Without residency, no insurance, no school, etc.
I don’t know the requirements exactly, but I assume full sole custody is required.

This is what I was told by officials in Germany when trying to register residency (Wohnsitz Anmeldung) for our child. I had registered residency. My wife had only tourist visa for 90 days and no resident visa at that time.

1 Like