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Nanjing overwhelmed by jump in divorces

(Shanghai Daily)

08:13, July 09, 2013

A divorce registration center in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, has started to limit the number of couples seeking divorces per day following a dramatic surge in divorce cases, reportedly due to property transaction curbs and primary school admission.

Couples seeking divorces are asked to draw a number first and wait. If all the numbers are already drawn they are asked to queue up again the next day, the Modern Express reported yesterday. "The aim of setting a daily quota is to give couples, rushing to get a quick and 'fake' divorce, more time to think because there are risks involved," said an official surnamed Xia of the registration center in Gulou District which handles about one third of Nanjing's marriage and divorce registrations.

On June 13, the first working day after the Dragon Boat Festival, the center dealt with 55 divorce registrations. It usually deals with more than 10 cases every day.

It then started to limit the number of divorce papers to 55 per day.

A woman, surnamed Lin, 32, divorced twice, the Nanjing-based newspaper reported. The first time she split, she wanted to buy a second apartment; the second time she signed the papers, it was to get her son admitted into a primary school.

The education authorities in Gulou announced a policy in early June, which states that kids whose hukou, or registered permanent residency, are included or written in the household registration book of their grandparents, can be enrolled by primary schools in the district based on geographic division. Their parents cannot own an apartment except the one belonging to the grandparents.

After the divorce, the two properties were both registered in her husband's name, which makes Lin uneasy.

In the first half of this year, a total of 18,311 couples divorced in Nanjing - up by 1.7 times the same period of last year and accounting for 79 percent of last year's total divorce figure, the newspaper reported. The average age of couples who seek divorces is 39.2, according to Ma Hong, an official with the Nanjing Civil Affairs Bureau.

"The age group has a stable job and financial basis, and they can afford an apartment.

"The government's new property transaction policy has caused the number of divorce cases to soar. Civil affairs authorities in Nanjing handed out 84,653 certificates proving the "single" status in the first six months of this year, compared with 100,000 for the entire year last year," Ma said.

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