Thu, Apr 02, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Legislators mulling new divorce option

TALK IT OUT DPP Legislator Huang Sue-ying said a divorce through mediation would protect the interests of the spouse who is at a disadvantage in the process

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

An amendment that would allow couples to get a divorce through court mediation passed the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday.

Under the revision to the Civil Code, a divorce could be obtained through court mediation, after which the court would be required to notify the couple’s household registration office.

The amendment will proceed to a plenary legislative session for further debate without undergoing cross-party negotiations.

It was proposed and endorsed by legislators across party lines, including Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Yi-hsiung (江義雄) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英), Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如) and Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠).

Huang yesterday said married couples could currently divorce with the consent of both parties or through a court ruling, but a divorce through court mediation would offer a platform for rational communication and protect the interests of the spouse who is at a disadvantage in the process.

The Ministry of the Interior supported the revision.

Jair Lan-pin (翟蘭萍), senior executive officer of the Department of Household Registration Affairs, said tacking on the house registration rule was necessary because Article 48 of the Household Registration Act (戶籍法) requires household registration authorities to change the marital status of individuals who are granted a divorce but who fail to report the change.

Juvenile and Household Affairs Office Deputy Director Hsu Shih-feng (?? said that while divorced individuals would be able to take their court mediation record to the household registration office to change their marital status, they would need to wait for the court to notify the office as well.

Meanwhile, the legislative committee also approved amendments to the Consumer Debt Clearance Regulations (消費者債務清理條例) that would allow debtors struggling with repayment to seek legal assistance from local consumer protection authorities.

To help local governments cope with the added workload, the committee attached a clause to empower the Judicial Yuan and Executive Yuan to negotiate on government funding.

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