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Marriage advice sought in downturn
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14:30, December 29, 2008

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Divorce lawyers and financial advisers have reported a sharp increase in the number of inquiries, as more unhappy couples have been seeking advice amid fears of a prolonged recession.

While facing tough financial times is not usually the main reason couples split, it can serve as the last straw for already strained marriages or add new concerns to underway divorces, marriage advisors said.

Money is among the main sources of marital strife, director of China Divorce Service Center Shu Xin said.

Couples are now seeking advice on timing their divorces in light of the current financial situation. Wealthy spouses are keen to strike a deal while their assets' values are low, Shu explained.

Ming Li, who works for China's first marriage and finance firm Shanghai Weiqing, said: "Many questions are about how to avoid paying off debts after the divorce, and the number of such telephone inquiries has increased from 200 to 300 in recent months."

However, China University of Political Science and Law professor Wu Changzhen said: "It may be too early to know the financial crisis' impact on divorce rates, but it seems the rates may have dropped since the downturn, because divorces are expensive.

"It has become extremely difficult for couples wanting to divorce to sell their home at a reasonable price and to maintain two separate households," he said.

There were 2.1 million divorces in China in 2007, nearly seven times the figure of 1980 when nationwide economic reforms were launched, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Source: China Daily

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