Cupboard approves invoice to ease upkeep restrictions

Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) Cabinet on Thursday approved a bill amending maintenance claims to ease maintenance restrictions, the rules of which have not changed since 1931.

The bill will now be sent to the Judiciary Yuan, which is expected to co-sign it, and then to the Legislative Yuan, where the legislature will pass the amendments.

According to current law, a divorced person can only force his spouse to pay alimony if, after the divorce, he is “traced back to existential difficulties”, is considered an “innocent party” and the divorce is judicially enforced.

The Cabinet bill aims to meet the latter two requirements and changes the law to: “If one party in a marriage gets into living trouble after a divorce, they can ask the other party to pay child support.”

The amount of child support paid will be negotiated by the couple, according to the draft law, according to a statement by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) published on Thursday.

If no agreement can be reached, a judge will decide the amount, which will depend on how much the dependent needs and how much the paying person can reasonably afford.

A person can be exempted from alimony if the payment causes them to fail to maintain their own livelihood or to feed their direct descendants or ancestors such as children and parents, the bill states.

Exemptions and reductions in benefits are also granted if the marriage lasted less than two years or if the dependent tortured, insulted or otherwise injured the dependent.

The bill also stipulates that a person’s right to maintenance will expire five years after the divorce or if the person remarries or dies.

The bill does not apply to divorced couples who enter into a maintenance agreement, although the recipient is not “traced back to life difficulties” after the divorce.

The proposed changes are in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), introduced by the United Nations in 1979 and adopted by Taiwan in 2012, the MOJ said in its statement.

A recommendation from the UN committee that oversees the convention says that countries should decouple the reasons for divorce from the financial consequences of divorce.

Frameworks that determine the culpability in a marriage “often work to the detriment of the wife, who is usually the financially dependent spouse”, as this framework can be abused by husbands to remove the financial obligations they have towards their wives the committee said.

(by Lai Yu-chen and Chiang Yi-ching)

Enditem / AW

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