CWR > Volume 7(2); 2021 > Article
Research Paper
Published online: Sept 1, 2021

Legal Grounds for Divorce in China: Origin and Evolution

Jianghao Xia
China University of Political Science and Law
Room 1021, Science Research Building, China University of Political Science and Law, Haidian District, Beijing, P. R. China.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Chinese Marriage Law 2001 stipulates two kinds of divorce: registered divorce and litigated divorce. In this paper, the different grounds and procedures related to these two types of divorce will be examined and the judicial statistics and empirical experience about the legal system of grounds for divorce in practice will be explored. Compared to litigated divorce, the easier registered divorce predominates in terms of number. While the sole legal requirement for litigated divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, this breakdown needs to be evidenced by specific facts. The facts listed in Marriage Law 2001 are mostly fault-based. However, they are not in line with the situation in practice and increase the difficulty of litigated divorce. The legislative reform for the legal grounds for divorce in the Chinese Civil Code (2021) has been undergone in order to strike a balance between protecting people’s autonomy to divorce and assisting people to make divorce decisions.

Keywords : Legal Grounds for Divorce, Registered Divorce, Litigated Divorce, Fake Divorce, Chinese Civil Code, Marriage Law 2001

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