A couple in eastern China may have set a new Guinness world record after they got divorced three times in the space of a week.
The husband and wife in the city of Ningbo in Zhejiang province achieved the feat in an apparent effort to avoid paying a business debt of ¥1 million.
They first got divorced on 14 July 2009, citing a breakdown in the relationship. However, they returned later the same day to apply to get remarried. The couple had an apartment worth ¥2 million, but the wife was crippled by a debt she owed from a business failure. The property division agreement in the divorce would have left her creditor penniless.
However, due to multiple flaws in the agreement the couple had to get remarried, divorced and married again within seven days.
When they divorced a third time, they received a court summons from the creditor, who claimed the couple was pretending to divorce so they could evade their debts. The case was settled out of court after the creditor got her money back.
China’s divorce rate has been increasing steadily over the past decade. In 2009, 1.71 million couples registered divorces, a rise of 10.3% on the previous year. Divorce rates are now five times higher than in the late 1970s, when China began reforming its economy.
Some experts say the transitional phase Chinese society is going through is the main reason for the rise in the divorce rate, and that there has been a change in values.
Other specialists argue that couples get divorced when men take a second wife because of the country’s one-child policy – some studies have shown that many divorced women in China have female children.