All married couples manage their property and assets differently. There is no definite method to manage money that comes in and out of a household. However, in the past, a lot of husbands earned an income while a lot of wives stayed at home and lived as a ‘house-wife’. In these cases, if the husband manages his own income while giving his wife some allowance and sometimes extra money needed for expenses, then there is no way for the wife to comprehend how much their property is unless her husband discloses it to her. However, these days, many married couples manage their assets separately and keep all their property under their own name without any joint property. Sometimes married couples don’t even know how much each others’ income is.
When these married couples decide to get divorced, things will get messy when deciding terms for property division, custody fees, etc because they don’t know exactly how much their spouse has. So, what can we do to dig up assets and disclose the whole property that needs to be divided during the divorce process?
First of all, there is a process called 'property statement’. This is regulated under the Family litigation act and it specifically indicates that “Any family court may, when deeming specifically required for cases claiming division of property, support allowances and child support for minor children, order the relevant party to submit a property list stating his/her property status either ex officio or upon request by the relevant party”. In actual cases, a case must be pending at the family court and you must provide sufficient evidence that the relevant party is not cooperating and there is no way to grasp the current property status. If the application for a property statement is accepted by the court, the relevant party must submit a list of current assets under his/her name and also a list of assets that he/she sold in the last few years. If the relevant party does not follow the court’s orders, than they will be imposed with a fine up to 10,000,000 KRW, so you can expect to receive a pretty accurate list of assets through this process. Second, if your spouse refuses to disclose his/her property through the process mentioned above or if you think there are more assets that need to be dug up, you can make an inquiry through the court to banks or organizations regarding your spouse’s assets. Specifically, you can go through your spouse’s bank deposit by sending an official inquiry to major banks, and if you know which bank your spouse uses, you can apply for an official inquiry to the court and specify which bank the court should send the inquiry to. Also, if you wish to find out if there is any real estate under your spouse’s name, you can make an official inquiry to the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.