Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Groups praise Civil Code amendment on spouses’ debt

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The legislature yesterday approved an amendment to the Civil Code that prohibits creditors from demanding repayment of a debt incurred by an individual from his or her spouse, a move lauded by civil groups and a credit card debtors’ self-help group.

Under the approved amendment — pending its promulgation by President Ma Ying jeou (馬英九) — creditors, including banks, asset management corporations and private lenders, are not allowed to claim for distribution of marital property.

Currently, creditors can file an application with the court to demand a husband or a wife to repay debts owed by his or her spouse, in terms of a 2007 amendment.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), who initiated the amendment, said more than 5,000 people have been tried over unpaid debts incurred by their spouses in the first nine months of this year alone.

Following the amendment, a group from a national attorneys’ association, a human rights groups dealing with women’s issues and credit card debtors called a press conference at the front gate of the legislature yesterday to hail the move.

A woman, surnamed Huang, said she was very happy about the news. She said she almost put her apartment up for sale when she received a court summons to repay her husband’s debts.

Meanwhile, the legislature also approved an amendment to the National Pension Act (國民年金法) to ensure that elderly people who qualify for the basic guaranteed pension payment of NT$3,500 would remain eligible to receive the benefit, without being affected by a new policy that will gradually bring government estimates on land prices closer to transaction prices.

The National Pension Act uses means-testing to limit the guaranteed pension payment to those older than 65 years.

One of the criteria is that beneficiaries own property worth less than NT$5 million.

The new land price policy could push the value of seniors’ houses above the threshold, which would make them ineligible for the guaranteed basic payment.

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