30-day ‘cooling off’ period for divorce applications in China causes controversy

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Talk about the cold shoulder.

A man in China was told by a local court to chill out last week after learning his wife had given birth to another man’s baby. 

The court decision comes following China’s controversial new 30-day “cooling off” period for divorce applications instituted at the start of the year, which has inspired heated online debate around the country.

The man, identified only by his surname Tang, filed a divorce request in Hunan Province in January after DNA tests revealed that his 3-year-old daughter was not his biological child, according to reports,

The mother of the child, identified as Fu, defended her infidelity, telling the court that her husband begged her to “borrow sperm” after they failed to conceive a child. 

The waiting period should “give each other some time to repair their relationship, which is better for social stability and family harmony,” the court said.

China instituted the waiting period to combat rising divorce rates, allowing couples to reconsider their decision. The nation reported a stunning 8.6 million divorces in 2020, as separations outpaced marriages.

After the 30-day period, reports say, the couple must return to the civil affairs department to finalize the divorce.

The new cooling off period is the source of controversy in China.

“In reality, with this cooling-off period, people don’t change their mind about the break-up itself, but they do change their mind about how they should split their property and raise their children,” Guangzhou attorney Wu Jiezhen told local media. 

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