Man Ordered to Pay Ex-Wife for Housework in Landmark Divorce Case in China

housework

A Chinese court ordered a man to pay 50,000 yuan ($7,700) to his ex-wife for years of unpaid housework after losing a landmark divorce case, sparking debate on Chinese social media.

Court filing: The man, identified as Chen, filed for a divorce with his wife of five years, Wang, last year, according to BBC. Although she was reluctant at first, Wang later agreed and requested compensation.

  • While speaking to Beijing’s Fangshan District Court, Wang said she “looked after the child and managed household chores, while Chen did not care about or participate in any other household affairs besides going to work,” Channel News Asia reported.
  • The court ruled in favor of Wang’s claims and ordered Chen to pay her $7,700 for the unpaid housework and caring for their child with an additional 2,000 yuan ($310) of monthly alimony.
  • However, local media reported she made an appeal, saying she requested 160,000 yuan ($24,787) in compensation.

Other details: China introduced a new law last year that protects spouses who do more housework chores and bear more responsibility in raising their children.

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  • “For the spouse who works outside, after divorce they can still enjoy the resources, connections and status they’ve had – and still earn the same level of income. But for the spouse who has been paying efforts quietly at home, they will have to face the problem of returning to (work),” said Long Jun, an associate law professor at Tsinghua University, CNN reported.
  • Request for compensation has always been present in China, even before the new law’s implementation last year. But it only happens when the divorcing couple signs a prenuptial agreement, which is a rare practice in the country.
  • The ruling in Wang’s case sparked a debate on Chinese social media, with some users calling out the court’s ruling.
  • “Women should never be stay-at-home wives … when you divorce, you are left with nothing whatsoever. 50,000 yuan in housework compensation is bullsh*t,” one comment reads.
  • “A full-time nanny could cost more than this for half a year, are women’s youth and feelings this cheap?” another user said.
  • A judge in the case explained the amount Wang received is a reflection of the time they were married and “the effort Wang put into housework, Chen’s income and the local cost of living.”

Feature Image via Getty

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