'Cooling-off' period credited for drop in divorces

By Cao Zinan| (chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2022-06-29

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Thanks to the introduction of a "cooling-off" period before divorce, fewer couples have broken up in China over the past year, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.  

The number of divorces registered in 2021, about 2.14 million pairs, dropped by around 43 percent from the previous year in China, data released by the ministry showed.

The implementation of the "cooling-off" period is a major reason for the decline in the number of divorces, Dong Yuzheng, an ethicist and director of the Guangdong Academy of Population Development, said in an interview with financial media outlet Yicai.

The "cooling-off" period, stipulated in the country's Civil Code, came into effect last January. It's designed to prevent couples from making impulsive decisions and encourage them to think twice before breaking up.

During the 30-day period, either party of the marriage can withdraw the application of divorce.

"The period gives the couples time to calm down, think more rationally and avoid being hasty. Making good use of the 'cooling-off' period can effectively reduce impulsive divorces," Dong said. 

Another reason behind fewer cases of divorces is the decline in the number of people getting married, Dong said.

Data showed that in 2021 there were nearly 5 million fewer women of child-bearing age, those between 15 and 49, than in 2020, including about 3 million aged between 21 and 35. The number of people who register for marriage has been falling in recent years due to delayed marriages among young adults, Dong said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected people's lives and their attitudes towards marriage, said Dong. 

As for the divorce registration number, Henan, the province with the largest population in the country, was the highest with 152,000 couples.