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Delayed divorces reflect sensitivities to gaokao


10:27, June 30, 2013

BEIJING, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Li Ming's decision to end his 20-year marriage was made six months ago, but he and his then wife delayed getting divorced until after their child had taken the all-important gaokao, or national college entrance exam.

Pretending to be reconciled, the couple helped their son prepare for the competitive gaokao, which is regarded as the most important path to receive a higher education.

"We would have had regrets for the rest of our lives if our son had failed the exam because of our breakup," the 42-year-old father from Wuhan City in central China's Hubei Province said.

Like Li, many Chinese parents face irreconcilable differences but delay their divorce until the gaokao, with the hope of minimizing the negative impact on their child's performance in the exam.

The test is described as the "single-log bridge" to receive an education in college and many examinees view it as a "life-or-death" moment.

This year's exam was on June 8.

According to statistics from Chaoyang district court in Beijing, the number of divorces filed 20 days after the exam has been more than twice as high as the figure for 20 days before over the past few years.

The Daxing district court in southern Beijing has also seen a spike in divorces after the exam in recent years. A court employee said 145 divorces were filed 20 days after the gaokao last year compared to 38 filed 20 days before. The figures for this year are not yet available.

Fang Yuzhou, a lawyer with Beijing Yingke Law Firm, has noticed an increase in the number of divorce cases after the exam this year.

Parents are very sensitive to their child's exam stress but think it unnecessary to maintain a broken marriage after the gaokao, said Fang.

Parents choose after the exam because they believe their child is independent and mature enough to accept the decision.

"I felt deeply disappointed after learning about their separation, but I respect their decision," Li Ming's son said.

A woman surnamed Wang, also from Wuhan, divorced her husband shortly after her daughter's national college entrance exam.

"I feel so relieved after ending the long-term agony of my unaffectionate marriage and now I can live for myself," she said.

Parents should not be excessively criticized for getting divorced, said Feng Guilin, a researcher with the Hubei Academy of Social Sciences, adding that they have the right to pursue their own happiness by separating from each other.

"It's rational and responsible for parents to patch up and focus on their child's preparation prior to the gaokao," Feng added.

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