A court in the capital of northwestern China's Shaanxi Province is requiring couples who file for divorce to take a pre-divorce exam to ensure they are absolutely ready to end their marriage, local media Sanqin Metropolis Daily reported Tuesday.
The examination is not mandatory, and will only be sat with the mutual consent of the couple. Questions relating to loving memories, major disputes and future plans, are supposed to reflect on the condition of the marriage.
Xue Mindan, a female judge from Xi'an Weiyang People's Court, created multiple versions of the exam. "If mutual conflicts are the primary reason, I will focus more on spouse relationships. If the required split roots from mother and daughter-in-law disputes, questions will be changed," Xue said.
According to the answers, judges can make a preliminary analysis. For couples who have a chance to heal the rift, jurors can strive for reconciliation. When all mediation attempts fail, cases come to trails.
"The test helps save judicial resources. It is also useful as a fairer metric, as the evidence presented by the plaintiff can sometimes be biased," Xue added.
In a recent case heard by Xue, a young couple sincerely wrote down their shortcomings and future improvements. When they reviewed and mark each other's papers after the test, both changed their attitudes and withdrew the case.
The unusual nature of the proceedings has created a variety of responses from social media users. Some saying it is a good move and every effort should to be made to save a marriage, while others believe it is an intervention in personal choice.
Last year, a court in southwest China's Sichuan Province created a similar test, which was reported to brand a marriage as a "risk" if either partner scored lower than 60 out of 100 points.
Data released by China's Ministry of Civil Affairs last year showed that fewer Chinese are getting married while more couples have split up. The country's divorce rate has skyrocketed from 1.3 million in 2003 to 4.8 million in 2016.
Among divorced couples in 2016, young couples were in the majority, and, according to an article by Caijing, are inclined to end their marriages without putting in much consideration.