WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A new rule in China, that will require divorcing couples to have a 30-day cool-off before filing for divorce, causes panic among them.
- Some even hire scalpers to avail of appointment slots with divorce lawyers.
- The move aims to discourage divorce in China which values “family harmony.”
Chinese couples are hastening divorce files before the 30-day “cooling off” law takes effect.
The new law, passed in May 2020, is expected to come into effect anytime soon — aiming to curb “impulsive” divorces. Once passed, getting a divorce in China would be much harder and longer.
The 30-day cool-off is perceived to help in discouraging frustrated couples from splitting up, as China is deemed to be a country that places “familial harmony” in its culture.
“They may have quarreled about family affairs and they are divorcing in a fit of anger. After that, they may regret it. We need to prevent this kind of impulsive divorce,” Cheng Xiao, vice president and professor of Law School of Tsinghua University, told a Chengdu newspaper, the Guardian reported.
While Chinese leaders were hoping the quarantine could lead to births, many couples remain decisive to break up, and the country’s population will soon be on “negative growth.”
South China Morning Post even reported that hiring of online scalpers, who make money by selling appointment slots with divorce lawyers, is increasing.
The outlet also reported that the new law would exempt domestic violence instances.
Zhong Wen, a divorce lawyer based in the Sichuan province, told SCMP, “Men can decide whether they want to divorce or retract their application. If a woman wants to and the man doesn’t, the woman will then have to sue, hiring a lawyer at great personal and financial cost. Many women – particularly full-time housewives – aren’t in a position to do this.”
The lawyer added that the country doesn’t have a strong network of domestic violence shelters and resources. Even if a woman managed to escape from her abusive spouse, she may have nowhere to go.
China has been facing growing divorce cases for the last 15 years. In 2003, the country recorded around 1.3 million divorced couples. In 2018, the number surged to 4.5 million, according to Bloomberg.