What to do if spouse is missing for years?


Wish me luck. Heading to the tax office in the morning and laf in the afternoon tomorrow.


Best of luck, bro.


The Supreme Court case I cited says the spouse who is more at fault cannot request a divorce using that particular paragraph of the Civil Code. So you can be at fault, as long as your fault is smaller than hers. :slight_smile:

Do they include dating in the definition of adultery? I thought it had to be sex to qualify as a criminal act, though I suppose mere romance may be enough for a divorce, depending on the circumstances. Hopefully your next lawyer will know more.

If you make an appointment just to have a brief consultation (separately from your application for full legal aid), you get whichever lawyer is available on that day. There’s no commitment, no power of attorney. Lots of people do it for quick legal advice if they’re not necessarily going to court.

If you do the whole enchilada, you will have several forms to sign.


When I got married, I had to promise to only use one Chinese name with the Ministry of the Interior in the future. I guess that gives you a clue as to how it might be done.

Let’s say I leave Taiwan, abandoning my wife (but without divorcing her), then go back to the USA and later marry someone else there. If Mrs. no. 1 cares to pursue the matter, all that would be required for her to prove the existence of the earlier marriage, in the eyes of most judges, would be a record from Taiwan’s government (suitably translated, apostiled, etc.). The effect on marriage no. 2 is beyond by ability to prognosticate. (Steven Seagal got lucky, I guess.) It may be possible to argue that I did not know that those were marriage forms I was signing, and that that was a wedding ceremony, but living together as husband and wife for some time, and presenting ourselves to others as such, would tend to argue against that.


If that happens and/or anyone else knows you have been married in Taiwan wants to tip you off that can destroy your second marriage. It may not even be valid since you are officially still married to someone else. It doesn’t matter if you wanted to divorce the spouse 10 years ago, what matters is if you get the divorce papers or not. That’s why many divorce cases drag on for years and years and people live in limbo until it can be finalize and they marry the other person they wanted to marry.

And to argue you didn’t know you were signing legal papers would be a very weak point IMO because the spouse can use so many other things, wedding pictures, cards, letters, emails sent congratulating each other on the wedding anniversary, wedding rings pictures, etc .

If the OP wants to marry again and be free he better have the divorce papers with or without the spouse consent. I never heard of such thing as ‘I wanted to divorce her in 1999 but she never agreed, so I came back home and it has been N years so I must be legally not bonded to her anymore’.

The other option is go to some under the radar African or South American country and get married there and hope no one finds out. Who would want to live like that?


It does give a clue, but even if not written on the Chinese marriage certificate, they still keep record of your original full name in English.


To be clear, I’d prefer to do this the legal way which is why I’m going through the steps. The illegal way is only if I have no choice.

I got my list of assets from the tax office. It’s completely blank. Waiting for my appointment at laf. Wish me luck.


Amen to owleyes (three posts above).

But it might not be search-able. Also, duplicate names do occur, and passport numbers (which are also noted) can be superseded when one gets a new passport.

This is wise.


Back from laf. Not sure how it went. They didn’t appointment me a lawyer but asked me to find one. I gave them the contact of the lawyer I talked to and they will review my case and decide if they will give me any funding by Tuesday.


I could really use a second opinion on something. I just got another email from my wifes family yesterday. It’s been about 1 month since their last email. They wrote the typical nonsense making themselves look good and me the devil for constantly pushing them.
A simple translation of my email was:

" I just want to know where my wife is. If you know where (name of spouse) is, why don’t you tell me? I have asked you many times to please meet me. Why do you ignore me? Please let me see her. I don’t know where she is. I don’t know if she is alive or dead.
It’s been 4 years already."

Then one month later I get this reply.

“Please don’t worry, we will reply to you. Recently it’s been very cold and rainy. Take care of yourself.”

A reply like this is frustrating because it answers nothing but just extends the time while making themselves look good in front of the judge. Obviously if I reply back rude or tell them to f’off then it makes me the bad guy so I replied with this:

“Thank you for your words of kindness but the problem still remains. Please reply back to me as soon as possible because I have already been waiting for 4 years. You’re last reply was about one month ago.”

As you can see; it’s a pretty frustrating cycle of bs of who is more at fault while keeping me in my situation for as long as possible. There is a sense of hope; which is why I hung onto this so long before going to a lawyer because they still do reply to me occasionally meaning I don’t have complete zero contact.

Getting back to what I need advice on; since past emails that have had the quickest replies and got their attention were ones like about them stealing my passport, now that I have their address from my household registration, should I send them an email asking if she is there or would that hurt me? I know it’s not really a good idea to let the opponent know what you are doing but one of the addresses on the household registration is their families address (the ones I am emailing). They might reply quicker had they known I know where they live. …Okay reading that back, I sound pretty creepy but you get the idea. What do you guys think? Good idea, bad idea or simply a waste of time? Should I continue to play the dumb foreigner that can’t find their address?


I would recommend you to get an advice from a lawyer how to reply. They may know some good way of wording.

If I were you, I’d wait the decision of laf, and see a lawyer they appoint. or if rejected, go to free advice at them or city before sending a new mail.


Thank you. I will do that. Luckily the reply I sent them (shown in my above post) doesn’t put me at any risk. I will consult my lawyer, if I ever get one. Was I supposed to get legal advice from my appointment because I didn’t get any. They just kept focusing on my financial situation and asking me what happened with my wife but they gave no advice on how to continue whatsoever. I got a general bad vibe from the guy too. He kept snickering and acting like the whole thing was a joke. The rest of the staffs attitude was pretty good though.


but you are asking to meet their daughter, not divorce. if they see you as the bad guy why would they want to let their daughter meet you?


Trust me; after all this, the last thing I want to do is see her. However, being that the cause of her leaving was me kicking her out, if I constantly keep asking for divorce, they can say to the judge that I kicked her out because I wanted a divorce and didn’t let her back. I know it doesn’t make much sense, but in Taiwan, if I don’t make it look like she is the one at fault who won’t come back and not me forcing her away, I have no chance of ever divorcing her here under Taiwan’s law. My lawyer explained this to me very clearly. If she had left me in bad faith, as in she was the one who left on her own accord and it’s intention was to harm me, then it would be a completely different story but unfortunately this isn’t the case. Right now the best these emails are doing for me is providing further evidence. I keep record of them and use bananatag service (free tracking service) to show when they read them.

If this was in the US, I would have been granted the divorce a long time ago and once again, I totally get what you are saying but there’s nothing I can do about the laws here.


My strategy at the moment is to wait for LAF and keep to use these emails as proof of her refusing to come back to the marriage (putting the fault back on her -as silly as that sounds, it’s what Taiwan’s court cares about the most). If in the event her family actually says “okay, here’s your wife” then I will just march her to the household registration office and sign for divorce. I’m guessing based off of the fact that they have been neglecting to ever let me meet her, they either don’t have a clue where she is (she spent our whole time together hiding from them) or they don’t ever want me to see her. Works in my favor either way. Just hope I can get aid from LAF so I can pay this lawyer and hopefully get my freedom back and/or go home.


With her full name and ID number and you being her legal husband, is there any chance to check public records like obituary etc to see if she is still alive or hospitalized in some mental institution? By the way you tell the story I believe this is not impossible that she might be dead or in some mental place and they want to hide it. Who knows. Wouldn’t hurt to check.


Before reading this thread I never imagined that this scenario could even be possible. I’ve been seriously thinking about getting married in Taiwan, but all of the horror stories that I’ve been reading about are making think it isn’t really such a good idea…


I’m not sure. I’ll look into it if I can. Kind of unlikely and chances are she’s just hiding. Although I do feel it’s a little weird. I sent many emails this month and the one her family chose to reply to was that I didn’t know if she was dead or alive. Anyone here know how to look into this?

If it helps, I go married when I was young and stupid. Didn’t have my family’s consent nor hers. No ceremony either. I wish you the best of happiness and remember, not all marriages end in divorce but if possible, it’s always wiser to get married overseas and register here after. Laws here will not protect you at all in the event of an unfortunate divorce as you can see by my situation.


I think I saw @tando post a link to obituary public records, or was it another forumosan?

Remember that Taiwanese ‘save face’ more than they want to save their soul, so if she is institutionalized they will hide it with their life, I would also look into that.
Unfortunately I don’t know where to look for it but maybe one of our experienced fellows here can point you to it.


I would marry elsewhere first, then register here if she/he didn’t go crazy after a few years. Too many stories like that. Not that it will happen, there are a lot of happy long marriages here, but if you are young you better protect yourself as the love blindness is sharper at young age.