A draft bill that would allow former spouses of military retirees to claim half of their ex-spouse’s pension after divorce — part of the proposed military pension reforms — was set aside for further deliberation yesterday after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ma Wen-chun (馬文君) said the rule could be exploited.
Lawmakers yesterday sparred about the proposal during cross-caucus negotiations over pension reform plans.
The proposal could spawn social problems, as it could motivate some people to marry high-ranking officials only to divorce them later in hopes of claiming half of their pension, Ma said.
The Civil Code already sufficiently covers divorce, rendering the proposal redundant, KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) said, adding that it could “reopen old wounds” for long-divorced litigants, who might have to appear in court to settle the division of property anew.
Japan, Germany and a number of Western countries have introduced similar rules on the division of pensions in the case of divorce, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said.
The pushback against the proposal is caused by rumors and misunderstanding, she said, adding that she does not believe people would purposefully marry military personnel for financial gain.
The DPP caucus proposed the bill to protect military spouses who are homemakers and are not paid for the labor they contribute to their marriages, Yu said, adding that it is only reasonable that pensions should be split equally.
However, Ministry of Civil Service and Ministry of Justice officials said that the prerequisite for splitting pensions only stands when both sides of a marriage have an income and the laws governing the profession of each party make stipulations on the distribution of assets.
A scenario in which only one party needs to pay does not exist, they said.
Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) and Veteran Affairs Council Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said that the Civil Code should govern divorce procedures.
Seeing as the discussion had become deadlocked, Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) announced that the amendment would be set aside for further deliberation.
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