Can You Pass the Divorce Test?

As if fighting with your spouse wasn’t stressful enough, in China authorities require that you pass a quiz to divorce. Here’s the rub: the better you do on the test, the less likely the divorce will be approved.

Divorce Quizzes

According to the New York Times, the Chinese Divorce Test, which has been issued in at least two provinces since last year, follow the format of a typical three-part school exam: fill-in-the-blank, short answer, and an essay.

Questions include the mundane — “When is your anniversary?” — and the philosophical: “Have you fulfilled your responsibility to your family?”

The quizzes — 15 questions, scored on a scale of 100 points — were developed as a way to prevent “impulse divorces”.

Local news outlets reported that the authorities considered a score of 60 points or higher to mean “room for recovery,” and those couples were encouraged to work on their marriages.

Florida No Fault Divorce

Florida has made it much easier to divorce, which is a subject I’ve written about before. For example, we have abolished fault as grounds for filing a divorce. The only grounds you need to file for divorce in Florida is to prove your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

No fault divorce laws exist in all 50 states to make it possible for one party to get a divorce without proving any bad behavior took place, and without getting the permission of the other spouse.

Before the no-fault divorce era in the United States, people who wanted to get divorce either had to reach agreement in advance with the other spouse that the marriage was over or prove wrongdoing.

No-fault laws are the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court. No fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom.

China is different. China is going through growing pains and dealing with modern problems like separation and divorce. The Chinese Divorce Test is a novel approach to dealing with rising divorce rates.

Chinese Water Torture?

According to the Times:

Through the guidance of the questions, couples can reminisce on the moments of their relationship and reflect on their familial roles and responsibilities. Nearly two million Chinese couples divorced in the first half of 2017, an 11 percent increase from the year before, according to state news media. About 3 percent of all married couples sought a divorce last year, up from fewer than 1 percent in 2002.

The quizzes were meant only to be a starting point, not the deciding factor in whether a couple can split up. But at least one couple’s high score resulted in the authorities’ preventing their divorce in another province last year.

A court in Yibin, a city in Sichuan Province, refused to grant the couple a divorce in September after citing their stellar test scores, according to local news outlets.

More than 70 percent of divorces filed in China last year were initiated by women, The South China Morning Post reported, citing the Supreme People’s Court. In most filings, incompatibility was given as the major reason; 15 percent cited domestic violence.

However, a smaller number of divorces appear to be shams resulting from a quirk in Chinese real estate law. Some cities limit the number of properties a married couple can own. By legally divorcing, a couple can buy more real estate in some of the world’s most expensive cities.

Experts said the state’s focus on preventing divorce stems from a Confucian belief that a stable society is made up of complete families. Some Chinese citizens criticize the quizzes for treating people like children.

So, if you remember your wedding anniversary you can’t divorce? Divorce isn’t a case of amnesia.

The New York Times article is here.