Could divorcing couples in the U.S. learn something from their peers in China? Perhaps. Recently, Xi’an’s Weiyang district have instituted a mandatory divorce test that couples must take before before being granted divorce papers to take to court.
What do Chinese judges want to know? Their questions may be different than you think. Many of them focus on getting to the heart of how well the couple actually knows one another, and how they tended to handle day-to-day life together. The test includes questions such as, “What is your spouse’s favorite food? How do you split the household chores? When you were dating, what words or actions did your partner say or do that moved you the most? When you have differing views, which of you first breaks the deadlock and how is this done? 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 that the answers to the exam provide a preliminary snapshot of the couple’s marriage and give judges insight into the couple’s reasons for divorce. Those who fail the test (scoring 60% or less) are allowed to proceed to divorce. However, couples who “pass” are required to go for mediation to try to resolve their conflicts. This new law hopes to save the court time and resources in a country where divorce rates rose 10% in 2017 alone.
Other cities in China are providing similar divorce tests to help sort out the growing number of divorce proceedings. Once considered a social taboo in China, divorce is now being sought out by millions of couples who are unhappy in their marriages. In the first six months of 2017, 1.85 million couples registered for divorce with the government. Divorce rates in the U.S., although not increasing at the same rate as in China, are also very high. It certainly makes you wonder!
Although no such tests are administered by the courts here, couples seeking divorce in America might take a cue from this new Chinese law. Even if taking time to assess why your marriage isn’t working doesn’t save your marriage, it could provide valuable insight that could be useful in future relationships.