Mr. Lee Sang Ho and Miss Lee Ji Yong, set to tie the knot on June 23, are the first couple in Korea to sign a property contract upon marriage.
The 'property contract between married couples' is an institutional mechanism governing the property ownership of married couples. It is defined in Article 829 of the Civil Law, 'Property Contract between Married Couples and Its Revision.' However, the article has served no purpose whatsoever, since not a single case has been submitted so far.
According to the property contract, married couples, on principle, share equal rights and duties where the acquisition, profit, management, sale, and purchase of property are concerned. The contract also stipulates that the couple must become co-signatories in property registration, share household expenses, seek each other's consent before becoming loan guarantors or buying or selling important assets. So for example, if a husband who has signed this contract agrees to stand as guarantor without the prior consent of his wife, his obligations as a guarantor is nullified. The contract stays in effect unless the couple gets a divorce.
DUO, a professional matchmaking agency, and LawServe, an internet law firm, began providing consulting services and receiving applications for the property contract since March. The two companies are inundated with daily telephone inquires. Besides Lee and his fiancee, four other couples have agreed to sign the property contract and are taking the necessary steps.
An employee of LawServe revealed that although the company has finished drawing up the contract for Lee and his fiancee, it is having problems submitting it because the government does not have an administrative procedure for this unprecedented case. But LawServeintends to wrap up the case before June 23, the couple's nuptial day.