Friday, November 15, 2013

Family Court Adds One More Judge

I tried to sleep, but the sleep wouldn't come. So I decided to get up and update my blog.  I have been back to the States for three days and still going through a tough time in adjusting to the Pacific Time zone.  I had a very fruitful 10 days trip to Korea. 

The family court in Korea has added one more judge, bringing the total number of judges to five.  However, this new judge is dedicated solely for the purpose of adoption hearings.  Apparently, the four judges that have been summoning the parents so far were not always dedicated to the adoption cases as they ruled on other family related matters at the court. 

I asked my source whether this addition of a dedicated judge to the adoption cases would mean quicker court proceedings, but they weren't sure.  They weren't sure whether the existing four judges will continue to be involved with the adoption processes at their usual paces, but augmented by the addition of the fifth judge, or that the four judges will have a reduced roles in the adoption hearings due to the addition of this dedicated judge. No one has the clear answer.

However, the new judge has already summoned some families, thus giving clear evidence that the court has five judges that are handling the adoption cases now. 

I have also heard that the EP process has picked up some speed under the new director, who I happened to meet at the MPAK conference.  I had a brief exchange with him, but it was more on the issues of the special adoption law. 

This year’s quota was set at 743, and the number of EPs submitted to the Ministry of Health and Welfare is now around 50% of the quota (currently around 375) as of mid-November.  It is expected that by the end of the year, we can expect the EP approvals to be closer to 425, which is still a way short of the quota level.

If the year 2013 can be considered a year of experimenting and a new learning process for all (the agencies, the Ministry and the family court judges), coming short of the quota is understandable.  But I am hoping that when they set the new quota for the year 2014, I expect them to meet it 100%.  At least that's what I'm hoping for.  But if the past is any indication, that could be a challenge.


  1. Do you think there will be any more submissions to the Ministry this year or are they just trying to approve all the ones that are already submitted before the move?

  2. I agree. I'd like to know if they will submit more? Our agency keeps saying they will submit before the years end as many of us were prepped for EP submission. I think we would all just like to know especially because the MOHW is moving.

  3. Same here, MA. We were told ESWS is really hoping to submit ours by end of year, but of course no guarantee. I'm with you - just want to know one way or the other!

    Steve, do you have any insight on the process for approvals, as far as what actually takes place? Is it simply the director reviewing all paperwork in detail? Do they ever not approve or is it more of a formality?

  4. There will be additional EP submissions, but I don't have any idea as to how many more. The ministry tells the agencies on how many to submit each time, and the ministry has picked up some speed. I think this could be because they want to accept and approve as many as possible before their impending move in December.

  5. Do you know when this new judge will start scheduling dates? Will it be more than once a month:?

  6. ... now if we could only get referrals moving along...

  7. Thank you for the answer. I am also thrilled that there is a new judge and appreciate you passing on this information. I really hope we see more EP submits. The agencies seem to really think they will see them this year. I have a few more questions. Will the December move likely stall all EP movement? If so, that would mean the EP submits would have to be in the next two weeks correct? Also, do you anticipate seeing a huge break at the beginning of 2014 as we have seen the last few years? I believe in 2012 there was no movement until March and in 2013 we didn't really see any major progress until around May or so? I am really hoping to see movement in January/ is so discouraging to wait those months with no progress in any cases.