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Chinese Divorce Exam
In Georgia, couples wishing to divorce are fortunate to have the option of a no-fault divorce. This means that a divorce may be granted if one party alleges that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Under this enumerated ground for divorce, neither spouse has to allege, or prove, fault on the part of the other spouse. This certainly makes obtaining a divorce easier, as the parties can focus their time and energy on resolving the issues of custody, child support, alimony and equitable division of marital assets rather than on proving why they should be entitled to a divorce in the first place.
Other countries don’t make it quite so simple. For example, a court in China recently “introduced an examination that couples who wish to divorce must fail in order for their applications to be approved. Chinese Court Launches ‘Divorce Exam’ That Couples Must FAIL to End Their Marriage, by Carl Samson, nextshark.com, September 25, 2017. The exam asks questions about the spouse’s favorite food, birthdays, marital responsibilities and interpretation of marriage. In order to be granted a divorce, a couple must each score less than 60% on the exam. According to the magistrate who came up with the exam, its purpose is “to identify the problem and point out differences between spouses.” In addition, he claims that “those who score above 60 have room for recovery, while those below must be at risk of ending their marriage.”
If you think this sounds crazy, you aren’t the only one. According to the deputy director of the National Lawyers Committee in China, there is no scientific basis to the design of the test questions. According to the article, the questions consist of fill in the blank, short answer and statements. How will there be any consistency in how these answers are graded? What makes one person’s answer about interpretation of marriage better than another? In addition, if the parties know they must score below 60%, there are likely some who will fail on purpose, just so they can get the divorce. This seems to completely defeat the purpose for which the exam was developed. The deputy director further added that he believes that “the only standard that determines the need for divorce is when the husband and wife lose feelings for each other.” Not coincidentally, this is essentially what Georgia’s no-fault ground for divorce does – it allows couples to get divorced when they simply no longer love each other and want to be married, whatever the reason for that may be.