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Korea eyes change in pension sharing system

South Korea is pushing to overhaul a system for sharing national pensions on divorce in line with a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court, officials said Thursday.

According to the National Assembly and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Rep. Jung Choun-sook and other lawmakers have tabled a revision bill to the National Pension Act that calls for not splitting the pension with an ex-spouse for the period when the couple doesn't live together due to separation or other reasons.

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Currently, the law allows an ex-spouse to receive a share of the pension over divorce as long as a couple remains married for five years or longer.

The move comes after the Constitutional Court ruled in late December that the current pension law is unconstitutional, saying it goes against the spirit of pension sharing, which is designed to split only assets that a couple jointly amasses. The court also ordered the parliament to rewrite the law by the first half of 2018.

South Korea introduced the pension sharing in 1999 in order to protect mainly divorced female spouses who couldn't subscribe to the national pension fund due to child rearing and housework.

With more seniors ending marriages, the number of divorced couples dividing national pensions has been on the rise in South Korea. As of November last year, the figure reached 19,300 people, compared with 4,632 in 2010, with women accounting for some 88 percent of the total.

South Korea adopted the state pension program in 1988 to guarantee income for the elderly after retirement and to provide coverage for disabilities and surviving family members. (Yonhap)

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