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"Trial divorce" in north China provokes controversy
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16:03, July 30, 2009

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"We have had arguments about daily life since we got married and want to divorce. But as we cannot divorce due to practical issues, we plan to get a 'trial divorce' first." Liaoning Xinhe Law Firm in Shenyang recently received a young couple who, under the guidance of lawyers, signed a "trial divorce" agreement and began to live under "simulated" divorce conditions. When the "trial divorce" emerged in Shenyang, it provoked fierce controversy.

Cai Fu, a lawyer from Liaoning Xinhe Law Firm who has been paying close attention to marital issues for a long time, said that although "trial divorce" is a new concept, the action is not. "Trial divorce" means that when both husband and wife decide to divorce, they do not legally act, but just "separate" for a period of time. At present, this kind of "simulated divorce" often occurs among young couples in Shenyang.

Reporters learned in an interview that the young couple who recently signed the "trial divorce" agreement just got married last year. They then had a son. In the beginning they were a happy family. Their dispute was mainly caused by a quarrel between the mother and daughter-in-law. Because legislation dictates that a couple cannot get divorced if they have a child under a year old, the young couple has resorted to a "trial divorce."

According to their "trial divorce" agreement, the child will be raised by the mother, and the father is allowed to visit him periodically. Both sides should not interfere in the other's love lives. The time limit of the "trial divorce" agreement is two years.

"Two years is long enough for us to get a clear understanding of this relationship. In two years' time, we will reunite, or find our new lovers and divorce legally" the husband said.

When the "trial divorce" phenomenon appeared in Shenyang, it provoked fierce controversy. While many people support the idea, the voices of those opposing it are also vocal.

Li Zhenge, a lawyer at the Liaoning Faxin Law Firm, believes that the "trial divorce" is just a simulated divorce contracted by a couple. It is just an agreement, not a legal divorce, so it does not have legal validity. At present, the only basis for dealing with marital problems is the "Law of Marriage."

An anonymous source in Shenyang said that a "trial divorce" doesn't make any practical sense; on the contrary, it is just an excuse for extra-marital affairs. It cannot save a marriage, and is just a method of escape from a problematic marriage.

The most obvious difference between "trial divorce" and separation is that they have different aims. A "trial divorce" can allow one or both sides to reflect and clarify the value of the marriage, and if considered positively, can resolve a marital crisis, said Li Zhiguo, a researcher at Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

By People's Daily Online



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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/6714683.pdf