CHINA TOPIX

Updated 10:35 AM EDT, Thu, Apr 18, 2019

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Shanghai Authorities Struggle With Divorce Cases

Heavy Smog Hits Shanghai

(Photo : ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images) Shanghai authorities are considering ways to improve the way the city handles divorces.

Authorities in Shanghai are considering online registration for couples seeking divorce.

Recently introduced regulations for handling divorce applications require couples to be interviewed before being permitted to officially end their marriage, according to Xinmin Evening News. This new regulation is aimed at ensuring that couples understand what they are applying for, and that the rates of divorce would go down.

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Couples are interviewed about the reasons why they have decided to divorce, and also the plans they have made regarding their children and property. Should a couple's application for divorce be considered not well-thought of, they could be referred to social workers or lawyers for help.

However, since the regulations were enforced, divorce cases have raken more time and required more resources. Despite the assistance of professional counselors in dealing with couples, staff officers or workers still struggle to cope with the heavy amount of work and the staggering number of divorce cases.

Online Registration

An official from the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau marriage registration center told media that as the new regulations were only introduced only last month, it would take some time before an online registration system can be developed.

Sun Xiaohong, deputy director of the marriage registration center, however, said authorities are hoping that the online registration system will help make the processing faster and more efficient.

The Cost of Divorce

In the past, couples who wanted to divorce needed to get permission from employers and community committees before they could succeed, the South China Morning Post reported.

In 2003, however, a regulation that simplified the divorce process was introduced. It allowed couples to divorce within the same day for just 10 yuan.

Stark Differences

The news about divorce regulations and the amount of divorce cases in China are very much in contrast with the hardship men in rural Chinese communities go through just to get married.

While in 2003 divorce could be made official with just 10 yuan, currently marriages in some Chinese regions, such as Shandong, need a lot of money just to happen. This is because it is customary for Shandong brides to ask for a bride price that usually amounts to 100,000 yuan.

“[The village] is so poor that no woman wants to marry [men] here,” Zhang, a father who paid a high price for a woman to marry his son, said. “And the poorer you are, the higher the bride price.”

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