Chinese court requires couples to take 'divorce exam' before split

Couples seeking divorce in Xi’an’s Weiyang district must sit the test and pass it before being granted divorce papers to take to court.
Couples seeking divorce in Xi’an’s Weiyang district must sit the test and pass it before being granted divorce papers to take to court.PHOTO: SINA WEIBO/XI'AN SHEN BIAN SHI

A judge in China's city of Xi'an has ruled that divorcees-to-be must first take a "divorce examination", Chinese media reports say.

The decision on whether they can proceed to court for a divorce will be made based on their answers, Chinese news site Sina.com reported on Tuesday (Feb 28).

From this month onwards, couples seeking divorce in Xi'an's Weiyang district must sit the test and pass it before being granted divorce papers to take to court.

The questions include the following:

1. "How long have you been dating? What is your wedding anniversary? How do you split the household chores?"

2. "When you were dating, what words or actions did your partner say or do that moved you the most?"

3. "When you have differing views, which of you first breaks the deadlock and how is this done?"

4. "Of the duties that you take on in the family, which ones did you do well and which ones did you not do well? How do you plan to improve?"

Judge Xue Mindan told Chinese news site Sanqin.com on Monday that the answers in the exam papers provide a preliminary snapshot of the couple's marriage.

Those who do not have many conflicts, and whose relationships are not broken, will be asked to go for mediation.

However, those who have deep-rooted problems that are difficult to solve will be allowed to proceed for trials.

This saves the court time and resources, she said.

It is not the first time this has been implemented in China. In September last year, news of a similar divorce examination set up by a court in Yibin city in China's Sichuan province made international headlines.

The three-part examination asked a variety of questions, including on dates of birthdays and anniversaries, what snacks the couple's children liked to eat and whether they had taken family holidays together.

According to reports then, both husband and wife had to score less than 60 per cent to be allowed to divorce.

In October last year, the Xinhua state news agency reported that anyone looking to annul their marriage in a district in Shandong province must cool off for three months.

At the end of this period, couples can either file for divorce as planned or request that their term of contemplation be extended.

Divorce rates have reportedly surged in China in recent years.

According to the country's Ministry of Civil Affairs, the number of couples who untied the knot in 2016 - a total of 4.2 million - was 8.3 per cent higher than a year earlier.