Splitsville for Choi Jin-sil and Cho Sung-min

Actress Choi Jin-sil sobbed all the way. She spent a full day crying after receiving a divorce ruling from the Seoul Family Court on Wednesday. Choi and 31-year-old former pro baseball player Cho Sung-min put an end to their three year, nine month long marriage Wednesday.

Photo of the once happy Choi Jin-sil and Cho Sung-min family taken on Feb. 17, 2002 Photo of the once happy Choi Jin-sil and Cho Sung-min family taken on Feb. 17, 2002

Choi's counsel Lee Jong-moo said Thursday morning, "We submitted a divorce arbitration application to the Seoul Family Court at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday and the court decided on a divorce at 11:40 a.m. with the two sides' counsels attending."

Choi had not wanted to divorce because she didn't want to make her children fatherless. She did not give a detailed explanation about why the divorce process had made progress that rapidly, saying, "He even abandoned his rights as father." Choi had resisted a divorce while Cho had insisted on getting divorced. As Cho abandoned his rights as father, Choi finally decided to end their marriage to which she has stuck for 21 months since the couple had officially announced that their marriage had broken down at the end of 2002.

Cho Sung-min holds his new born child. Cho Sung-min holds his new born child.

Cho explained that he abandoned his parental rights because, "It's better that the mother rear the children." He abandoned the rights because there must be a person in parental authority when the legal activities of the children are needed and he took his children's future into consideration. Cho obtained the right to see his children instead.

With Cho's abandonment of parental rights, the biggest stumbling block to the divorce agreement, the children will be recorded on Choi's family register.

Cho will be exempted from repaying W180 million that he borrowed from Choi's mother and younger brother Choi Jin-young. Recently, a court ordered Cho to repay the debt.

Their W1.8 billion house located in Jamwon-dong, Seoul was granted to Choi. Instead, Choi has to repay W240 million, part of Cho's debt, which he received as a loan by offering the house as security. Cho will repay the remaining W350 million.

englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 02, 2004 19:04 KST