The Korea Herald


More Korean husbands seek divorce than foreign wives

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : June 4, 2024 - 15:40

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Korean husbands visited marriage counseling centers to consult on divorce more often than foreign wives last year, a report on multicultural couples showed.

Of more than 1,000 cases of divorce counseling for international couples, 20 percent more Korean men visited the center than foreign women, according to statistics released by the Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations.

Korean husband-foreign wife couples took 80 percent of the total counseling for multicultural couples last year.

"Since 2013, more Korean husbands have been visiting the counseling center, which means more men are suffering from conflicts with their foreign wives after international marriages," the center noted.

The proportion of international couples' counselling initiated by Korean husbands has dramatically increased since 2013, the first time when husbands outnumbered wives in visiting the center. In 2013, Korean husbands going for counseling took up 51.9 percent, which increased to 64.8 percent in 2022.

When analyzing the reasons for divorce filed for by Korean husbands, the wife running away from home (53.5 percent) was the most common, followed by other reasons (42.9 percent), the wife's infidelity (2.5 percent), and the wife's violence (1.1 percent).

Foreign wives cited their husband's violence the most, with over 58 percent of the reason for counseling while the husband's running away accounted for 22 percent and unfair treatment to the wife's parents, 2.4 percent.

By country of origin for foreign wives, China was the largest with 429, followed by Vietnam (294), Russia (56), and Japan (42).

Among the individuals signed up for the counseling, over 86 percent of foreign wives and 57 percent of Korean husbands were found to have unstable incomes.

Marriages with foreign spouses in South Korea have steadily increased, logging the largest growth in 2022.

The number of multicultural marriages jumped 25.1 percent on-year to reach 17,428 in 2022, according to data from Statistics Korea.

In 2022, 9.1 percent of marriages here involved a foreign spouse, up from the previous year's 7.2 percent, the data showed.

Vietnamese women took up the largest share of all foreign wives with 23 percent, followed by Chinese with 17.8 percent and Thai with 11.1 percent.