• More Chinese couples are opting to hold their wedding ceremonies abroad.

More Chinese couples are opting to hold their wedding ceremonies abroad. (Photo : REUTERS)

In China, a proposal to restrict divorce only to parens with no children below 10 years old is garnering heated and controversial reactions. The proposal seeks to revise and update the current Marriage Law system, putting forward that parents with little children cannot file for divorce "by agreement."

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The proposal was drafted and deliver by the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, the country's democratic party. The proposal was made based on the survey results depicting the effects of Marriage Law in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

Under the law, married couples can have their marriage denounced through divorce procedures in local civil affairs bureaus as long as they both agree to do so. This led to significant increases in divorce rates for the past year.

The law was subjected to review and it was found that the Marriage Law lacks protective measures for young children whose parents agreed to divorce. As such, children who are 10 years old and younger experience violations on their legal rights and interests when their parents can easily divorce just by mere agreement.

The current law also does not stipulate who among the parents would get the custody of a child, generating difficulties on deciding over the matters of child support.

As such, it is deemed necessary that there be amendments on the Marriage Law to restrict divorce by agreement only to those without children 10 years and below. In addition, for those with only children above 10 years old, parents are also mandated to take into account the wishes of the children.

Xia Yinlan, a professor serving the China University of Political Science and Law and an expert on Marriage Law, claimed that the proposal can be considered reasonable.

"Freedom of marriage is the principle of the Marriage Law, but any freedom is comparative and has limitations, and there is no absolute freedom," she said.

Song Yushui, however, opines that even without amendments, children's rights and welfares have always been taken into account during divorce proceedings. She is a judge with the Beijing Intellectual Property Court and a previous judge with the Haidian People's Court, who already handled numerous divorce cases.

"We usually evaluate the work, income, living conditions of both parents, to make a decision in the interest of the minors to keep the material and mental impact to a minimum," she said.

Xiaoquan, deputy director of the Beijing Zhongze Women's Legal Consulting Services Center, on the other hand, warned of the possible adverse effects of such a law. Instead of protecting the children's rights, such a restriction on divorce can lead to the opposite, harming the children's welfare.

The freedom of marriage, including that of divorce, is the basic principle of the Marriage Law. If parents are forbidden to divorce, those children living in a family without affection will grow up "unhealthily," he said.