[Divorce] Divorce and ARC for foreign spouse with children

Here is the scenario. A person has been married and lived in Taiwan for 11 years. They have a child of 6 also born and raised in Taiwan. The Taiwanese party to the marriage decides that for whatever reason they want a divorce. There is no “fault” involved simply a matter of people growing apart. While the foreign spouse is willing to separate, his visa is based on marriage to a Taiwanese. As the laws stand now, if one is divorced the legal basis for the resident visa is no longer valid, hence spouse is no longer entitled to remain in Taiwan.

The situation then becomes rather difficult, the child of the couple is in Taiwan, but essentially the father is no longer able to have access to his child unless he is able tot find a way to stay in Taiwan. Unless of course a custody battle is fought bringing great strain ti all concerened and with no guarantee that anything positive emerges. Either way the child looses a rightful access to one of the parents.

Obviously the clear answer is for the spouse to get a APRC, this would then resolve the dilemna of the effect of signing a divorce paper, as the APRC is not dependent on marriage once it is issued. This is all very well, but first off the APRC is not guaranteed is it, I mean first one has to prove that one has 5 million NT in assets, or that one has had an income of more than 30 000 NT per month for the past 3 years. I have neither.
I have been told that is is possible to borrow the money, put it into a bank account for a few days and get the bank to issue a financial statement saying that one has the money. Has anybody done this ? Furthermore there is the aspect of Quota, what is this mysterios “quota” as regards the APRC ? I mean as a South African, how do I know what the quota is ?

And if tyhe quota is full, when doe sone become eligible and does one have to go through the whole rigamarole all over again ?

OK so let’s say for arguments sake one doesn’t get the APRC ( hopefully this won’t happpen) what is the next route? Well there is the obvious step of refusing to sign any divorce papers. The question then becomes how long can one contest a divorce, and how complex is the procedure involved to contest? If it involves huge sums of money being payed to lawyers it puts a tremendous burden on the parties.

I understand that some changes were made to the law making a contested divorce basically a 2 year thing. Point is, after this period of time, if the foreign spouse wishes to remain with their child in Taiwan. Options become very limited. He/She could of course get a work visa, but then they would be basically tied to one place of work. And what if say for example the Ministry of Education no longer recognised their degree, as has recently happened in Taiwan with the University of South Africa. In other words my once valid degree is no longer valid. Why ?
Did the quality of our edcation suddenly take a nosedive? Or is this politically motivated ?

So for the spouse who wishes to remain in Taiwan, should there not be the avenue that the parent of a minor has a resident visa, because their child is Taiwanese, or can be given the new laws ? How would one fight for this ? I mean if it can be shown that the foreign spouse had already resided for 11 years in Taiwan with no problems, why should they not continue to do so ? Is there a legal precedent that states the child should no longer have access to one of the parents bwecause of divorce. This is certainly not the case in South Africa, where my 2 years of study of South African private law clearly show that right of access to the child, and the child’s right of access to the parent should always be protected. Does Taiwan have a similar law ? Cases of joint custody in amicable divorces are very common overseas now. I have plenty of them for reference. Does the Taiwan legal system allow for this? Even if it doesn’t how are visitation rights granted to a parent that is not able to live in country?
Could a strong enough case be made that foreign parents of minors in Taiwan, should also be granted an ARC based on the childs right of access to both parents?

If anyone has any insights or even knows of a lawyer down South who deals with such things, I’d love some replies.
Many thanks.

Good luck in your search for a legally competent person who can advise you in these matters in southern Taiwan. I certainly hope you find someone.

I do travel to the Kaohsiung Administrative Court now occasionally, and to the Tainan branch of that Court, in connection with cases I am handling. Otherwise, if you are in Taipei at some point, we could have a chat. I think it is too much to discuss via the internet.

Hi Richard

… actually you and I go way back. We used to be in touch a good number of years ago. The situation is complex, but of course if I get my APRC then it is all resolved in which case going the legal route is irrelevant.
Anyway if you give me your email I’ll drop you a line. Or i can be reached at: detached@hotmail.com

I understood (based on the dubious source known as the Taipei Times) that once a foreigner is married to a Taiwanese national for five years (used to be seven years), a permanent residence permit is granted, regardless of whether the marriage remains intact or not.

I also know somebody who separated from his Taiwanese wife a few years ago, but remained undivorced for this reason. Once he reached the seven year mark, they executed the divorce.

I’m not in this situation (not sure I’ll ever put myself in that situation either). Just wondering.

I am not sure if this will help but it is a link to Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.
Taiwan is not a signatory or a memeber state but China is.
Good Luck

I am in a situation similar now - in Taiwan for 11 years, 4-year old child, seeking divorce with bitter Taiwanese wife. Will go for APRC but does anyone know anything regarding divorce settlement (i.e. alimony)?

Alimony is generally based on the ability to pay, and of course the needs of the wife and the child.

Usually the determination of such matters is decided by the local district court.

They can’t make you pay alimony unless she can prove that you abandoned her.

Child support is a totally different matter that I’m fighting in court at his moment.


What if one party wants to divorce but not the other?

I need to pay taxes but my wife is not cooperating. Any suggestions? I am in the process of divorce but it has not been settled.

For someone looking for a basic divorce agreement, I have one I can send you. It was passed on to me and I have had it modified. It is in Chinese.

Firstly you can write your own divorce agreement in Chinese where you can have joint custody and access of the child but let the child reside with the mother. If you need write in the time when the child will visit you or live with you. Now before you register your divorce run off and apply for your PARC or ROC Nationality. You can write the agreement and not register it for a long time it won’t change the validity of the agreement.

Make sure that your agreement is witnessed either at the court when you both sign or by other friends. Foreigners can witness divorce agreements here.

In my case I registered the divorce once the ROC application was under way, making a very confused situation for the authorities here lol.

I only needed to be married at time of application, not approval. So until you are completely happy with your divorece agreement don’t register the divorce at the household registration office. It takes both persons to register in person. My ex wanted 100% custody and access which would have not even let me have visitng rights which I would not agree to.

During tough times it can be hard to make these agreements but persevere. If wifey wants the divorce then make sure that you get at least joint or shared custody. When you have joint custody child needs both parents to sign for passports.

Also in the divorce agreement stipulate that if the mother of the child dies sole custody goes to the father. It needs to be made clear as the family will fight to keep your child as with the recent Brazilian child who was taken by the relatives… in the news here last year.

Don’t waste your money on lawyers, it isnt necessary. Just make sure you have someone to make sure what you are signing has what you want in it. If you want custody thats anothe matter.

Having a child here doesn’t entitle you to residency as child is not of a legal age to sponsor you.

If you would like a copy of my divorce agreement PM me.