Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, August 22, 2003
Chinese Marriage & Divorce Registration to Be Easier & More Convenient
From Oct.1 Chinese citizens carrying residence booklets and identity cards can receive their red marriage certificates simply after they register at marriage offices and sign a statement that they are single.
No reference. No marital status certificate from one's working unit, nor is it necessary to have premarital health examination. From Oct.1 Chinese citizens carrying residence booklets and identity cards can receive their red marriage certificates simply after they register at marriage offices and sign a statement that they are single.
The Regulation on Marriage Registration will come into effect from Oct.1, replacing the Regulation on Administration of Marriage Registration that has been carried out for about nine years. According to the new regulations, marriage registration offices will work in the spirit of serving the people, simplifying procedures for marriage in future.
Could I get married without a physical checkup in advance or a stamped document from my working unit? Would it be OK if I didn't obey the unit's regulation of late marriage? Such questions, which have puzzled people for years will finally find the clear answers in the upcoming marriage registry regulations. Compared with the Regulation on Administration of Marriage Registration, the new regulations enable people to register marriage in a much easier and more convenient way, show more respect for individuals' freedom of life and mark that governments will play a role in marriage as a servant rather than an administrator.
Change one: marriage
No marital status certificate necessary from one's working unit
The biggest change of the newly issued regulations is to stipulate clearly that couples on the Chinese mainland who apply for marriage registration only need to provide "Hukou" documents and identity cards and sign a statement affirming their single status and no near relation, while procedures for submitting marital status letters from their working units and premarital health examination certificates are annulled. Through simplifying procedures such regulations avert the tediousness of marriage registration as well as the mental and physical consumption of couples to be, and make marriage registration a truly joyful occasion.
Marriage not granted under any one of the five circumstances
According to the new regulations, registration shall not be granted under any of the following five circumstances: Either or both parties are not of legal age for marriage (22 for men and 20 for women); Their marriage is not a result of voluntary choice; Either or both parties have already had a spouse; Both parties are lineal relatives by blood, or collateral relatives by blood up to the third degree of kinship; And either party suffers from any other disease which is regarded by medical science as rending a person unfit for marriage.
Premarital health examination of one's own free will
The new regulations do not draw demands of mandatory premarital health examination, meaning applicants would take it of their own free will. In case that one party conceals his (or her) illness and keeps the other party in the dark, the marriage between them shall be considered invalid by the law.
Neighborhood committees no longer handling marriage registration
The new regulations stipulate that civil affairs departments at county level or governments at township level form the marriage registration body for citizens on the Chinese mainland, while provincial, autonomous regional and municipal governments may appoint marriage registration offices for peasants for their convenience.
Change two: divorce
Divorce certificates issued at once
After the new regulations come into force, the marriage registration office, after clearly establishing that the divorce is desired by both parties and that appropriate arrangements have been made for the care of any child and the disposition of property and any debts, shall issue the divorce certificates without delay. Couples don't have to wait for one month of examination. This move greatly simplifies the procedure for divorce.
No reference for divorce
If husband and wife both desire to divorce, they won't have to endure the embarrassment at reference for divorce from other people. According to the Regulation on Marriage Registration that is going to take effect, couples who apply for divorce registration can go in person to the marriage registration authorities at the place of permanent residence of either party and submit the following certificates: "Hukou" document; Identity card; Marriage Certificate; And a divorce agreement jointly signed by both parties.
Divorce not granted under any of the three circumstances
Related personage responsible of the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA) reminds couples who apply for divorce that marriage registration authorities will not accept divorce applications under any of the following three circumstances: Both parties do not reach a divorce agreement; Either or both parties are with civil disability or limited civil capacity; Their marriage is not registered on the Chinese mainland.
Change three: Administration
Cohabitation not protected by the law
The newly promulgated Regulation on Marriage Registration sends out a strong signal once again: Man and woman shall go through legal procedures for marriage, and those cohabiting without legal registration will not have themselves protected effectively by the law. Man and woman who apply for marriage must not only have to satisfy the requirements set by the law but also go through legal procedures, said the aforementioned personage of MOCA.
International marriages subject to provincial civil affairs organs
From the date of Oct.1 Chinese citizens and foreigners, residents on the Chinese mainland and those of Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, Taiwan area and overseas Chinese, when applying for marriage registration, shall go in person to provincial civil affairs departments or other organs appointed by provincial civil affairs departments.
Marriage or divorce certificates reissued if lost
The new regulations draw a new demand to the marriage registration body that a database about marriage registrations should be set up for taking care of them permanently. According the regulations, parties may carry "Hukou" documents and identity cards and apply to the original marriage registration authority or the one at the place of permanent residence of either party for the re-issuance of their marriage or divorce certificates if lost or marred. Marriage registration authorities, after verifying the marriage registration record, shall reissue marriage or divorce certificates.
Extra charges for marriage or divorce registration to be refunded
If marriage registration authorities and registrars collect extra charges in handling marriage registration or reissuing marriage or divorce certificates, the persons in direct charge and those with direct liabilities shall not only be imposed administrative disciplinary measures but also refund the extra charges to parties. Any phenomenon concerning arbitrary charge is forbidden, and the new regulations make corresponding penalties and countermeasures accordingly.