A housewife who abused her son for his poor test scores was Wednesday ordered to pay her husband 10 million won ($8,500) in a divorce case which highlights South Korea's obsession with education.

The ruling by the Seoul Family Court, which did not name the family, was reported by Yonhap news agency.

It said the couple married in 1992 but argued over what the court called the wife's inordinate obsession that their daughter and son achieve high scores.

The mother verbally abused and beat the son when dissatisfied with his marks and favoured his elder sister, who achieved better results.

The harsh treatment of the son led to irreconcilable differences between husband and wife, who had eaten and slept separately in the same home since 2008, the court said.

"The major responsibility for the divorce rests with the wife who one-sidedly blamed the husband for his different ideas about children's education," Yonhap quoted court records as saying.

The court granted the father custody of the son, while the daughter will live with her mother.

The financial settlement is a one-off, but it is rare for South Korean courts to order a wife to make any payment to a husband in a divorce case. The report did not say whether the woman was obliged to compensate her beaten son.

South Korean teenagers and younger students come under crushing pressure to excel at school and go on to a prestigious college or university. Educational achievements play a major role in determining job and marriage prospects.

The number of school-age suicides rose from 100 in 2003 to 202 in 2009, according to education ministry statistics.