Family Law Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

China: Cooling-Off Rule Slows Down Divorce Rate

From South China Morning Post:

Chinese provinces have reported a significantly lower rate of divorce and claim it is due to a cooling-off period under new rules. China adopted a rule requiring a 30-day cooling-off period for divorce seekers in anticipation of filing a dissolution of marriage. In January 2021, China introduced this rule as a move the government said was aimed at improving social stability, however many people regarded the rule as an interference with the freedom of marriage.

About a year after the rule has been enacted, a decline of divorce rate seems to suggest the efficiency of this enacted rule. The civil affairs bureau in western China’s Chongqing municipality said earlier this month that over 50,000 estranged couples decided against divorcing each other during the one-month waiting period last year, contributing to a 44 per cent fall in divorce numbers since 2020. Eastern China’s Qingdao city, Shandong province, witnessed the lowest divorce number in a decade with just 16,000 break-ups in 2021, down 33 per cent from the previous year, the government said.

While many local governments claimed the cooling-off measure is “working very well”, Shanghai-based psychologist Huang Jing said judging from the perspective of individual happiness that getting a divorce is only a knee jerk reaction to an ailing marriage, it does nothing to heal it.

Read more here.

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