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Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China (Ⅲ)

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Chapter IV Divorce
Article 31 Divorce shall be granted if husband and wife both desire it. Both parties shall apply to the marriage registration office for divorce. The marriage registration office, after clearly establishing that divorce is desired by both parties and that appropriate arrangements have been made for the care of any children and the disposition of property, shall issue the divorce certificates.
Article 32 If one party alone desires a divorce, the organization concerned may carry out mediation or the party may appeal directly to a People's Court to start divorce proceedings.
In dealing with a divorce case, the People's Court shall carry out mediation; divorce shall be granted if mediation fails because mutual affection no longer exists.
In one of the following cases, divorce shall be granted if mediation fails:
(1) where one party commits bigamy or cohabits with another person of the opposite sex;
(2) where one party indulges in family violence or maltreats or abandons family members;
(3) where one party indulges in the gambling, drug taking, etc. and refuses to reform after repeated persuasion;
(4) where both parties have separated from each other for two full years for lack of mutual affection;
(5) other cases which lead to the shattering of affection between husband and wife.
Where one party is declared to be missing and the other party starts divorce proceedings, divorce shall be granted.
Article 33 If the spouse of a soldier in active service desires a divorce, the matter shall be subject to the soldier's consent, unless the soldier has made grave errors.
Article 34 A husband may not apply for a divorce when his wife is pregnant, or within one year after the birth of the child, or within six months after the termination of her gestation. This restriction shall not apply in cases where the wife applies for a divorce, or where the People's Court deems it necessary to accept the divorce application made by the husband.
Article 35 If, after divorce, both parties desire to resume their husband-and-wife relationship, they shall apply for registration of remarriage with the marriage registration office.
Article 36 The relationship between parents and children shall not come to an end with the parents' divorce. After divorce, whether the children are directly put in the custody of the father or the mother, they shall remain the children of both parents.
After divorce, both parents shall still have the right and duty to bring up and educate their children.
In principle, the mother shall have the custody of a breast-fed infant after divorce. If a dispute arises between the two parents over the custody of their child who has been weaned and they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall make a judgment in accordance with the rights and interests of the child and the actual conditions of both parents.
Article 37 If, after divorce, one parent has been given custody of a child, the other parent shall bear part or the whole of the child's necessary living and educational expenses. The two parents shall seek agreement regarding the amount and duration of such payment. If they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall make a judgment.
The agreement or court judgment on the payment of a child's living and educational expenses shall not prevent the child from making a reasonable request, when necessary, to either parent for an amount exceeding what is decided upon in the said agreement or judgment.
Article 38 After divorce, the father or the mother who does not directly bring up the child shall have the right to visit his or her child, and the other party shall have the duty to cooperate.
The manner and time for exercising the right to visit a child shall be decided by the parties through consultation; if they fail to reach an agreement upon in this regard, the People's Court shall make a judgment .
Where the visit to a child paid by the father or the mother is not conducive to the physical and mental health of the child, the People's Court shall terminate the right to visit; after the cause of such termination disappears, the right to pay visit to the child shall be resumed.
Article 39 At the time of divorce, the husband and the wife shall seek agreement regarding the disposition of their jointly possessed property. If they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall, on the basis of the actual circumstances of the property and on the principle of taking into consideration the rights and interests of the child and the wife, make a judgment.
The rights and interests enjoyed by the husband or the wife in contracting land management on a household basis shall be protected in accordance with law.
Article 40 Where the husband and the wife agree in writing that the property acquired by them during the period in which they are under contract of marriage is in their separate possession, if one party has performed more duties in respect of bringing up the child, taking care of the old and assisting the other party in work, it shall, at the time of divorce, have the right to request the other party to make compensation for the above, and the other party shall do so accordingly.
Article 41 At the time of divorce, debts incurred jointly by the husband and the wife during their married life shall be paid off jointly by them. Where their jointly possessed property is insufficient to pay the debts, or the property is in their separate possession, the two parties shall discuss alternative ways of payment; if they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall make a judgment.
Article 42 If, at the time of divorce, one party has difficulty in supporting himself or herself, the other party shall render appropriate assistance with his or her own property such as his or her residential house. Specific arrangements shall be made by both parties through consultation. If they fail to reach an agreement, the People's Court shall make a judgment.
Chapter V Selvage Measures and Legal Liabilities
Article 43 Where a person indulges in family violence or maltreats a family member, the victim shall have the right to advance a request; the neighborhood committee, villagers committee or the unit where they belong to, shall persuade the person to stop doing it and conduct mediation.
Where a person is committing family violence, the victim shall have the right to advance a request; the neighborhood committee or the villagers committee shall persuade the person to stop doing it; the public security organ shall stop such violence.
Where the victim advances a request, the public security organ shall, in accordance with the legal provisions on administrative penalties for public security, impose an administrative penalty on the person who commits family violence or maltreatment of a family member.
Article 44 The family member who is abandoned shall have the right to advance a request and the neighborhood committee, villagers committee or the unit where they belong to, shall persuade the person to stop doing it and conduct mediation.
Where the abandoned family member advances a request, the People's Court shall, in accordance with law, make the judgment on payment by the person who abandons the family member to the victim for the costs of maintenance, upbringing or support.
Article 45 The person who commits bigamy, family violence, maltreatment or abandonment of a family member, if it constitutes a crime, shall be investigated for criminal responsibility in accordance with law. The victim may, in accordance with relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law, lodge a private prosecution with the People's Court; the public security organ shall investigate the case in accordance with law, and the People's Procuratorate shall institute public prosecution in accordance with law.
Article 46 Where one of the following circumstances leads to divorce, the unerring party shall have the right to claim compensation:
(1) bigamy is committed;
(2) one party who has a spouse cohabits with another person of the opposite sex;
(3) family violence is committed; or
(4) a family member is maltreated or abandoned.
Article 47 If, at the time of divorce, one party conceals, transfers, sells off or destroys the property in the joint possession of the couple, or forge debts in an attempt to encroach upon the property of the other party, the former may get less or no property when the property in the joint possession of the couple is partitioned. After divorce, if the other party discovers the above, it may bring a suit in the People's Court to demand re-partition of the property in the joint possession of the couple.
With respect to acts that hinder civil procedures as mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the People's Court shall mete out sanctions in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Procedure Law.
Article 48 Where a person refuses to abide by the judgment or ruling on the costs of maintenance, upbringing or support payments, or on the partitioning or inheritance of property, or visit to a child, the People's Court shall enforce the execution of the judgment or ruling in accordance with law. The individuals and unit concerned shall have the duty to assist such execution.
Article 49 Where there are other provisions by other laws on illegal acts against marriage or family and on legal liabilities for the acts, such provisions shall apply.
Chapter VI Supplementary Provisions
Article 50 The people's congresses of national autonomous areas shall have the power to formulate adaptations in the light of the specific conditions of the local nationalities in regard to marriage and family. Adaptations formulated by autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties shall go into effect only after approval by the standing committee of the people's congress of the relevant province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government. Adaptations formulated by autonomous regions shall go into effect only after approval by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Article 51 This Law shall go into effect as of January 1, 1981.
The Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China promulgated on May 1, 1950 shall be invalidated as of the date when this Law goes into effect.
The English translation is for reference only and if there is any discrepancy, the Chinese version shall prevail.
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