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Thai Ex-Wife Wins Alimony Case in Supreme Court

Poor language skills and a lack of education may entitle an immigrant to support from a former spouse after a divorce. Finland's Supreme Court has ordered a Helsinki man to pay three years' worth of support to his Thai-born ex-wife.

Korkeimman oikeuden istuntosali
Image: Touko Yrttimaa/YLE

In a ruling issued on Wednesday, the court declared that the woman had been left without income after the marriage broke up.

After moving to Finland in 1994 to marry the Finnish man, she remained home for 10 years to take care of their three children, except for working briefly without pay in the couple's restaurant, which has since closed. As a result, her Finnish language skills remained weak, she did not gain professional training or accrue pension. The husband, who was 16 years older than his wife, filed for divorce in 2004. He has since retired.

He was ordered to pay his ex-wife 10,800 euros, equivalent to 300 euros a month for three years after the divorce. The court said that after three years she should be able to fend for herself. The mother had sought an indefinite monthly alimony of 500 euros.

Helsinki's District Court and Appeals Court had previously rejected the woman's claims for alimony. The lower courts ruled that the woman should have been responsible for supporting herself after the couple split up.

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