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DIVORCE BY AGREEMENT

A divorce by agreement is possible when both parties to the marriage want, or at least agree, to get divorced. In an agreed divorce the parties are generally free to negotiate child and spousal support payments, visitation rights and division of joint marital property (i.e.: real estate, furniture, cash, investments, etc.) without any interference from a Chinese judge.

If the marriage was originally performed in China and one spouse is a Chinese citizen, an “express” divorce procedure is often possible. In this scenario the Chinese courts are not used. Instead, the divorce is registered with the local Chinese Marriage Registration Office (which is a department within the local Civil Affairs Bureau) and a divorce certificate issued (rather than a formal court-issued divorce judgement). Once the necessary legal formalities are completed, the divorce is entered into the record and the marriage is officially dissolved. So long as the couple can come to an agreement on how to settle their affairs, this process can usually be completed relatively quickly, but it can only be used in certain very simple situations (and expat couples cannot use it at all).

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