Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, March 5, 2021

China Tried to Slow Divorces by Making Couples Wait. Instead, They Rushed.

From The New York Times:

A new rule requiring a cooling-off period before a divorce could be granted led to an outcry, as well as a surge of applications to beat the deadline.

Data released by the civil affairs ministry last week showed that there were more than a million filings for divorce in the last three months of 2020, up 13 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

Mandated waiting periods for divorces — to allow for reflection, reconciliation, the organization of finances or discussions about custody — are not unusual in many countries. But in China, the move was met with skepticism and concern, with the hashtag #OpposeCoolingOffPeriod# generating 81,000 comments on Weibo, a popular social media website. People felt the government was overreaching into their personal lives.

Women’s rights activists say the waiting period could further disadvantage stay-at-home mothers who often have no independent income to pay for a legal fight. 

The rule also grants either spouse the power to retract the divorce application if they disagree, which could further endanger victims of domestic violence, activists have said. The government said that in such cases, victims could approach a court to dissolve their marriage.

Read more here.

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