A: I want to ask you to talk a little about, right now in China, with regard to divorce, how does the law decide which parents the children is given to?
B: I believe it is like this, what we see in this information and the law we use in hotlines, there are two sections. One is under twelve years old, one is over twelve years old. Twelve years or older, our country believes that he has his own right to choose. But under twelve years old, this is still decided by the parents. So there is two kind, one is an agreement reached by both sides. So you guys decided yourselves who to raise the kid. Then the court will follow the agreement. I want to mention something here, Chinese divorce has two types, one is called agreement divorce, that is when both side agree to divorce, then they sign a document, go to where you got married and get a divorce. Another is when only one side wants the divorce or even if both side agree, they can follow the court’s decision. But these two have the same legal effect. But for example, agreement divorce, you have to give the children a decision, that you have to say who is going to raise the kid. If there is any contention, like one side wants it the other doesn’t , then you give to the side who wants it. If both side want the children, then the court will decide that whoever will provide the best care for the children will get the children. There is also another that says if the woman want the children and the woman has good situation, then the court will generally go with the woman. Children twelve years or older can choose who they want to go with.
A: Then the new Marriage Law, when was it written?
B: This new marriage law was written this year (2001) In March or April. But the discussion of this change started in 96.
A: What is the change made in child custody in the new Marriage Law?
B: They added a child custody, it wasn’t there before. In our old Marriage Law it wasn’t mentioned. Now it was added. Also added is the right to visitation. That is because we have some problems now that is really severe, some people use children as a revenge tactic, they won’t let the child have any contact with the other side and refuse visitation. This is a numerous phenomenon. There is another problem of abandonment. That is to say, I am not going to raise you, I am not going to pay anything and I just leave. This time all these things are added to the Law. For example, if you have custody, or you have visitation rights. If you don’t abide by it, the court can force you to comply. Especially the people that don’t pay alimony, they run away. That is abandonment and they are legally responsible.