New marriage law sparks debate in China
Foreign-Related Marriage and Divorce in China

Court Considers Revising China’s Marriage Law

Court Considers Revising China’s Marriage Law
Published: February 16, 2011

BEIJING — Sallying forth into the ancient battleground of extramarital affairs, China’s top court appears poised to side with wronged wives against philandering husbands and greedy mistresses.

Under a draft interpretation of China’s marriage law, expected to be issued in coming weeks, mistresses would not be allowed to sue their married lovers for reneging on promises of money, property or goods, said legal experts who have reviewed the language. Nor would wayward husbands be allowed to seek the courts’ help in retrieving money or goods that they bestowed upon mistresses.

But wives could sue to recover money or property that ended up in the hands of a “little third,” the colloquial term for a mistress.

The top court, the Supreme People’s Court, decided to clarify the marriage law after a spate of lawsuits over the exchange of goods, money or property during extramarital affairs, Yang Xiaoxin, a marriage law specialist in Beijing, said in an interview. The draft envisions that either spouse might be unfaithful. But most lawsuits involve a wife’s claim to recover apartments, cars or money from a mistress, a trend that has quickened as the Chinese become more sophisticated about their legal rights, he and others said. Read full article