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Wife Wins Custody Fight for Household’s Only Heir

Posted June. 25, 2005 06:06,   


Mr. A (38), the only son of his family and the youngest of eight siblings, has one son, C (9). Ms. B (38), A’s wife, suffered from his abuse and finally left home with their only son.

In the process of divorce, A and B fiercely fought for the custody of their son. Even A’s seven sisters stepped in to fight for C’s custody on the grounds that he was “the heir of the family.” B, on the other hand, fought back, saying that C was her only hope.

This was a case that even Solomon would have found difficult. What verdict would the court have given?

To A’s family, C, who was born four years into the couple’s marriage, was a “gift from heaven.” Since A was an only son with seven older sisters; C was the only heir to the household. However, a time of crisis came upon the couple when A started to accuse his wife of infidelity and abuse her. Unable to bear the discord anymore, B eventually left home with their son after 11 years of marriage.

A sent an apologetic e-mail afterwards, but B filed for divorce. A’s parents, who were well into their 80s, and the seven older sisters became desperate.

Once the trial started, A’s family appeared in court to appeal for custody, saying, “If it is difficult for a man to raise a child by himself, the child’s grandmother and seven aunts will be there to help.” The eldest sister even submitted a “fostering plan” which stated that she was even willing to move to live closer to her nephew.

After several months of deliberation, Seoul Family Court’s Family Affairs Department III (Senior Judge Ahn Young-jin) finally took B’s side on June 23. The verdict was, “Since the husband was responsible for the divorce, the wife may raise the child.”

Ji-Seong Jeon verso@donga.com