The Taiwan High Court rendered the 107-Family-Shang-84 Civil Decision of November 7, 2018 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that since a couple get married in order to live together, determination should be made by considering all kinds of conditions such as whether the couple are likely to restore their harmonious relationship, and unless there is any significant reason for the difficulty to maintain the marriage, neither the husband nor the wife may readily sue for a divorce.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellee filed a complaint with the following allegations. Both parties got married in 1979 with three grown-up children. However, the Appellant had not provided any financial support to the family for nearly 20 years, and the Appellee rented a housing unit in October 2016. The Appellant never asked her to go home, and the marriage between the parties was disrupted with significant reasons for the difficulty to maintain the marriage. Therefore, the Appellee requested the court to render a judgment that approves the divorce with the Appellant in accordance with Article 1052, Paragraph 2 of the Civil Code. The original decision was rendered in favor of the Appellee. Dissatisfied, the Appellant filed this appeal.
First, according to this Decision, a couple get married to live together. Therefore, the couple should jointly set up a harmonious and happy family based on sincerity and love and out of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding. Neither the husband nor the wife may readily sue for a divorce unless there is any significant reason for the difficulty to maintain the marriage. To determine if there is any significant reason for the difficulty to maintain a marriage, the determination standard is whether there is no hope to repair the broken marriage. The determination should not be made by the subjective fact that the Plaintiff has lost the willingness to maintain the marriage. Instead, the marital conditions of the parties such as the likelihood of restoring the harmonious relationship should be generally considered to make a determination. In addition, specific circumstances of disruption to the couple’s living together should be weighed to determine if they are objectively material to the extent of undermining the couple’s living together and further of lost willingness to maintain the marriage.
It was further pointed out in this Decision that although the Appellant did not care about the economic situation of the family, was not willing to assume the family cost of living and had not paid some of the cost until the Appellee and his children asked him to pay, it is not true that he absolutely failed to assume any financial burden of the family. Although the parties disputed for over 39 years over the Appellant’s payment of the family expenses and their mutual treatment to each other, this happened because they thought differently and failed to properly communicate. It was difficult to jump to the conclusion that the parties could not possibly restore their harmonious relationship. If the parties could further communicate with each other, it is not true that they could not resolve their issues. In addition, the Appellee lived in a separately leased housing unit and was not willing to go home for over one year since the Appellant had locked door. The Appellee also failed to prove that the Appellant had not allowed the Appellee to go home. Therefore, the separation of the two could not be entirely attributable to the Appellant. In addition, the Appellant indicated his willingness to apologize to the Appellee and to pay the Appellee NT$10,000 each month. This shows that the Appellant was indeed willing to preserve the marriage, and that the marriage objectively had not reached a state beyond maintenance. The Appellee did not provide other evidence sufficient to show that the parties could no longer live together. Therefore, the Appellee’s assertion that the marriage of both parties could not be maintained was only her subjective view and was not an acceptable reason, and the original decision was reversed with the Decision rendered to dismiss the Appellee’s complaint.