Lawyers specializing in divorce cases in China say the recent housing market downturn is making couples more hesitant to divorce. The number of divorces in China has declined for three straight years, with lawyers attributing this trend partly to difficulties dividing property amid unstable housing prices.
According to mainland-Chinese media, divorce lawyer Liu Shengfei says clients have recently been taking much longer to decide on divorce. Property division, especially regarding real estate, has always been tricky in divorce cases, but now couples are facing even greater uncertainties in splitting assets due to China’s housing slump.
When a divorce is filed in China, judges usually won’t grant the divorce if one spouse firmly opposes the divorce. Additionally, as of January 2021, China has implemented a 30-day waiting period for divorces. These factors have contributed to the country’s lower divorce numbers.
Liu explains the risks to clients upfront – a lawsuit may not end in divorce, and dividing assets can be time-consuming. If spouses dispute housing value or ownership stake, further legal proceedings may be needed.
Previously, with stable or rising prices, spouses faced smaller differences in dividing real estate assets. One would keep the home, compensating the other financially per their ownership share. But now, amid difficult sales and unstable prices, deciding who gets the house and at what value is much more contentious.
According to Liu, this year several clients have been unable to proceed with their divorce due to housing market factors. The housing downturn is creating uncertainties in asset division that discourage couples from splitting.
Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), September 16, 2023