China’s new divorce law makes a cooling-off period of 30 days mandatory before seeking divorce!

Coronavirus is straining and breaking relationships and marriages. Worldwide divorces have surged. The liberal Western World is asking for changes in the laws to make divorce easier. But the Chinese government who is aware of the increase in divorce filings once the lockdown is lifted is changing laws so that divorces would not be that easy post-pandemic. It has now pushed in a cooling-off period before the couples can divorce!!! National People’s Congress has passed a new divorce law.

The Chinese government and the new divorce law

Post-coronavirus pandemic, divorces are soaring high. The Chinese government is also aware of it. In order to lower the nation’s rising divorce rates, the government has passed a new bill. This new divorce law makes it mandatory for the couples to have a cooling-off period in between before they can apply for a divorce.

China new divorce law (Source: Bangkok Post)

As per the new Civil Code law, starting from the next year, couples who are seeking a divorce-by-agreement must wait for 30 days and during this time rethink their decision to divorce. This bill was tabled and passed by the National People’s Congress on Thursday 28 May 2020.

More about the new law

During the waiting period of 30 days, if the couple decides against the divorce, they can withdraw the divorce application. And after this cooling-off period, if the couple still demands a divorce, they have to go to the civil affairs authority and get their official divorce documents. This clause is for regular divorces.

But this does not apply to divorces which are ongoing on grounds of domestic violence or infidelities. Such cases of divorces are not by agreement and happen through lawsuits. And hence these are different.

China new divorce law (Source: China Daily)

The vice-president of the Supreme People’s Court, Li Shaoping said that the government respects people’s freedom to seek divorce. But it does not want people to divorce in a wilful and rash way which would be harmful to families especially where children are involved. He justified:

“The goal of the divorce cooling-off period is to let people consider it cautiously before they implement their right of divorce. [We don’t want to see] a family separated only because of impulses or quarrels caused by short-term disputes,” 

He added:

“From this point of view, this cooling-off period is reasonable and has value and significance,” 

China and its rising divorce rates

China has witnessed rising divorce rates which has gripped the world. Just last year in China, out of 9.47 million marriages,  4.15 million ended in divorce. The cooling-off period is a practice in some countries of the world and also in some cities and counties of China. For instance, in South Korea, couples with children have to wait for 3 months and childless couples for one month before proceeding for a divorce.

Also, read The marriage of Kim Kardashian under strain! She does not want a divorce but wants to stay separately for some time from Kanye West!

China new divorce law (Source: SCMP)

In England, this period is 6 weeks for all types of couples. And in France, it is a mere 15 days. Will this cooling-off period avoids divorce, no one knows. But people are upset with his new law. One social media user said:

“This regulation actually adds obstacles to divorce. It enables the party who does not want to divorce – usually men – to have more time to harass the other party. It’s not helpful in protecting women’s rights,”

And another said:

“If you regret divorcing, you can remarry and nobody stops you from marrying again. It’s not necessary to cool off and it just wastes people’s time.”

And a third commented:

“It will lead to more people hesitating to get married due to more trouble in divorcing.”