Bishop & Sewell

It was really interesting to read here about the introduction of a ‘cooling off’ period for couples wishing to divorce, in China. According to a new law the Communist Party of China introduced in January, Chinese couples looking to divorce must first complete a mandatory month-long cooling off period ‘to reflect’. They must then apply again if they still feel the same. If they don’t show up for two appointments between 30 and 60 days after applying, their application is cancelled.

The report indicates that even a really short period of 30 days has resulted in a marked reduction in divorce rates. I imagine that there are likely to be a basket of other issues also effecting the statistics, as there are in any country. Economic cycles, world events such as the pandemic and many other factors influence divorce trends.

The Chinese government is concerned that divorce rates in the country were continuing to rise. Last year, around 4.15 million Chinese couples got divorced; in 2003, it was 1.3 million.

“The decline in the marriage rate will affect the birth rate, which in turn affects economic and social developments,” Yang Zongtao, an official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said last year.

Here in the UK the clients that I see have usually spent a significant amount of time reflecting on their marriage before they cautiously reach the conclusion that it has broken down and cannot be fixed.

In those cases, I cannot imagine that the imposition of a 30 day ‘cooling off’ period would alter their decision.

According to the Office for National Statistics in England and Wales there were 108,421 divorces in 2018/2019 up from 91,299 compared with the year before.

As I wrote here at the start of the year there is another reason why the divorce rate is temporarily down. Couples wishing to separate must have found it terribly difficult when confined together during lockdown to have had the type of personal in confidence discussions with their own solicitor that a legal separation usually involves.

Our Family lawyers have the knowledge and experience to guide you through these challenging times and have rankings in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for their expertise.

If you need some advice and support, please get in touch via or call us direct on +44(0)20 7091 2869. We are here for you.

The above is accurate as at 28 May 2021. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog | Date: 28th May 2021

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