It’s difficult to say which is more newsworthy, the fact that a Beijing divorce court ruled that housework “constitutes intangible property value,” or that the court put a value of just $7,700 on five years of such domestic labor.
And while it seems stay-at-home moms are far less common these days, it’s fairly certain that American husbands splitting with their better halves are glad this ruling is in China.
In what is seen as a landmark ruling, the BBC reported that a Chinese man has been ordered to compensate his wife for the housework she did during their marriage.
According to court records, the couple married in 2015 and the man, identified by his surname Chen, filed for divorce last year. The wife, identified by the surname Wang, was reportedly hesitant to divorce, but would ask for financial compensation when she came around, arguing that Chen did not do his share of housework or caring for their son.
“Beijing’s Fangshan District Court ruled in her favor, ordering him to pay her monthly alimony of 2,000 yuan, as well as the one-off payment of 50,000 yuan — $7,700 — for the housework she has done,” the BBC reported.
Dividing a couple’s joint property after the dissolution of their marriage usually entails splitting tangible property, the presiding judge said, according to the British public service broadcaster.
“But housework constitutes intangible property value,” the judge decided.
China has a new civil code that went into effect this year, the article said, explaining that under the new law “a spouse is entitled to seek compensation in a divorce if he or she bears more responsibility in child raising, caring for elderly relatives, and assisting partners in their work.”
Compensation that was only available previously if a prenuptial agreement had been signed, which is rare in China.
The story prompted spirited debate online about the contributions made by both sides during a marriage and the value therein.
Here’s a sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:
That’s how much a Chinese court ordered a husband to pay his wife as compensation for housework she shouldered during their five-year marriage. The landmark divorce ruling has sparked a debate in China about the value of unpaid domestic work.
— ANITA (@An3ita5) February 24, 2021
The can of worms is now open. Assuming she was a housewife and didn’t work, (earn income) Is the husband entitled to back payment on rent and pay backs on any food he had purchased etc.? This is pretty ridiculous.
— TomatoGrilledCheese (@TomatoCheese) February 24, 2021
Yet another reason to avoid marriage – & any other situation that puts either side in a financially vulnerable position – at all costs. There’s no ‘selfless devotion’ to partnerships anymore, just an ever increasing burden of potential legal liabilities.
— Tomi Hilfinger ☃️ (@HilfingerTomi) February 24, 2021
So does this implies wife is an employee ?? This is weird at many levels and has no essence of woman equality
— PN (@DesiKeeda007) February 24, 2021
this is the way. being a homemaker is no joke.
— lost_monk (@its_half_empty) February 24, 2021
the pay is too low ,but it’s a good start
— Kathleen Paucek (@PaucekKathleen) February 24, 2021
The payout is too low. Housework and tolerating a moron payout- per year payment should be $80,000 & the total payout should be : $400,000 – she can buy a brand new wardrobe, have her hair styled & get a toyboy (just for enjoyment) 🤩
— Anju (@anjushankarr) February 24, 2021
So will she pay him for all the food and clothes he bought while working and she was at home ? I bet she took as much interest in his job as he did housework …none .
— ReaderBeau (@TitmussDonna) February 24, 2021
And how much will she give back to the husband for the companionship she received
— jefferson kinyanzui (@jeffkinyanzui) February 24, 2021
Can he counter sue for rent?
— Steve Jepson (@SteveJepson9) February 24, 2021
So he had to pay her for the privilege of him paying for everything during their marriage. 🤣🤣🤣
— Ramón (@UGotToWashYoAss) February 24, 2021
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