China Law: Tying And Untying That Expensive Knot
China’s Supreme Court has recently issued an official proclamation amending the nation’s divorce laws, much to the chagrin of many former spouses.
The new interpretation clearly states that the spouse who bought the house before the marriage will retain the right to keep it after a divorce. In the past, the property would have been divided equally between the two warring parties.
Although cosmically, this certainly does appear to be fair, for many Chinese, particularly ex-wives, the new ruling is a source of contention. In China, owning one’s own home is considered a precious commodity.
Critics claim that this interpretation of the law by the male dominated Supreme People’s Court favors Chinese men, who traditionally buy a home before they marry.
This custom is so steeped in Chinese culture that many parents start a “home-purchase fund” for their child as soon as they know it is a male child.
A marriage entered into when the male does not have a house to provide is referred to as a “naked wedding.”
China’s top court does not function as other Supreme Courts in other countries in that decisions are amended as precedents occur. Instead, the top court issues new interpretations of the current laws.
This new interpretation is a reflection of the growing divorce rate in China. Once a rare occurrence, about 5,000 couples split every day of the week.
The future of marriage in the world may seem shaky but still it prevails as an imperfect institution for imperfect people.
Perhaps President Abraham Lincoln said it all when he referred to his pet cats in terms of their “always fighting but still there are still always many kittens.”