Professional Publication

Legal Relationship in Marriage under Chinese Law
Read:4851  2015/9/14 10:01:02

Legal Relationship inMarriage under Chinese Law

(By Ningning Zhao )

With the increment of the number offoreigners in China and further enhancement of China’s cooperation andcommunication with international communities, the international marriages areon the rise in China. There exist three foreign-related marriages among 100marriages in Shanghai, which takes the first place in China. The rate ofinternational families in Beijing, Guangdong is also on the way of arising. Forany foreign national planning to set up a family in China, it is necessary toget enough knowledge about Chinese family laws or relevant legal stipulations.

During the period of legal marriage, thepersonal relationship and property relationship shall be binding to the couplesunder Chinese marriage law. The two legal relationships are legal and bindingas soon as the legal marriage is registered at Chinese Civil Bureau or anymarriage registered in any foreign country accepted under Chinese law.

The husband and the wife shall share orbear the following personal rights and obligations in their legal marriage

I. Personal Relationship

1. Be loyal to and respect each other.

The husband and the wife shall be loyal toand respect each other which is stipulated in not only Chinese law, but manycountries, such as Sweden, France and so on. Any faults during marriage, suchas bigamy, cohabitation, domestic violence, infringe the spouse’s legal rightsshall be prohibited.

2. Be equal and independent

From the legal point, in all families, thewife and the husband shall share the equal rights and obligations in making anydecision concerned with the family matters, the difference is in the ways ofcontributing to the family or taking different roles in family.

3. Inheritance from each other

It has been worldly accepted that thehusband and the wife have the rights to inherit from each other. So is inChina. During legal marriage, without any testament, the legal private assets belongsto one spouse will be inherited by the other spouse on the stipulations ofstatutory inheritance. According to Chinese inheritance law on statutoryinheritance, half of jointly owned assets is owned separately by one spouse,the other part shall be the inheritance which can be inherited by the latespouse’s successors among whom, the alive spouse is the successor in the firstorder.

4. Children Maintenance

It is the legal obligation, for any parent,to rear the children.

5. Support for the elderly

In China, filial piety is the traditionalvirtue, accordingly supporting parents or parents-in-law is also the obligationfor all adult children. Especially when the elderly are in difficulty financiallythe adult children shall take the responsibility.

II. Property Relationship

According to Chinese laws, without anyspecial agreements, the property acquired by the husband and the wife duringthe period in which they are under the contract of marriage are in jointpossession including wages and bonuses, proceeds of production and businessoperation, incomes of intellectual property rights, property acquired frominheritance of presentation with the exception of such property determined by awill or by an agreement on gift, and other property which should be in their jointpossession, proceeds from business invested with premarital property, thehusband or and the wife’s due or actual housing subsidiary and housing fund,the husband or and the wife’s due or actual pension.

During the marriage, the husband and thewife shall enjoy equal rights in the disposition of their jointly possessedproperty.

However, during the marriage the propertyin the following cases shall belong to one party of the couple:

(1) the property that belongs to one partybefore marriage;

(2) the payments for medical expensesreceived by one party who suffers physical injury, subsidies for livingexpenses granted to the disabled persons, etc.;

(3) the property to be in the possession ofone party as determined by a will or by an agreement on gift;

(4) the articles for daily use speciallyused by one party; and

(5) other property which should be in thepossession of one party.

However, the husband and the wife mayconclude an agreement that the property acquired by them during the period inwhich they are under contract of marriage and the property acquired beforemarriage shall be in their respective possession separately or jointly or partof the property shall be in their possession separately and the other partjointly. Such an agreement shall be in written form.

The agreement concluded by the husband andthe wife with regard to the property acquired during the period in which theyare under contract of marriage and the property acquired before marriage shallbe binding on both parties.

(AttorneyNingning Zhao:

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