September 29, 2017

Will divorce exams become the latest Chinese export?

By Peter Jones, founder

Over the years China’s relentless manufacturing machine has seen us devouring it’s lengthy list of exports spanning textiles, toys, DVDs, body jewellery, mobile phones and food products.

So could the news that a Chinese married couple who were refused a divorce because they scored too highly on a judge’s relationship exam spark the introduction of similar tests in Britain to determine if those seeking a split really are incompatible?The Sichuan court’s first exam comprised questions ranging from wedding anniversaries, favourite foods, in-laws birthdays and reasons for wanting to divorce.

The court stipulates that both husband and wife must score less than 60 per cent to divorce. As the couple in question scored 80 and 86 points respectively, the judge refused to dissolve their marriage.

Whilst introducing written exams and acting as a relationship counsellor is outside of a court’s remit, many people reading the report will undoubtedly ask if this process might be a constructive way forward in this country?

In my opinion, courts are not the appropriate place to test relationships in this manner. There are many established and respected organisations where family relations can be explored in depth with the help of experts.

Although marriages can be “saved” going down this route, all too often the deterioration has gone too far before anyone realises how desperate the situation is. By then there is no turning back.

Rather than courts intervening, perhaps we should try to explain and educate couples into thinking through the state of their marriage – so that they can work out if their relationship can be saved.

Ultimately, splitting up remains a decision for the couple themselves and it cannot – nor should it – be delegated to the courts or any other organisation.

By all means seek advice from experts – be they mediators, family therapists or specialist family lawyers. However, at the end of the day, we all have to take responsibility for our own lives, unpalatable though that may be.

Before rushing headlong into breaking up, we would urge you to be absolutely sure that this life-changing decision is opening the door to a future which will give you happiness as opposed to one which is full of heartache and regret.

For more information about divorce or any aspect of family law, call Jones Myers at our Leeds office on 0113 246 0055, our Harrogate office on 01423 276104, visit, email or tweet us @helpwithdivorce