- Chinese divorce court orders husband who claimed he only had US$14,500 to his name to give wife huge portion of US$430,000 in hidden earnings
- Ruling comes after a major law change in China which gives either party in a divorce the right to investigate the other’s financial affairs
A Chinese housewife caught up in a divorce lawsuit has discovered that her husband – who claimed to have savings of just 100,000 yuan (US$14, 500) – actually earns up to three million yuan (US$430,000) a year.
The case, which unfolded in Beijing, the Chinese capital, gained traction on mainland social media after details of it were reported by the Beijing Daily.
A legal proceedings heard that the husband, surnamed Li, was hiding his actual assets and told his wife, surnamed Zhang, that all he had to his name was 100,000 yuan.
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Zhang submitted an application to the court handling the case to investigate her husband’s financial affairs.
The official probe discovered that Li’s annual income amounted to more than 3 million yuan and that he had withdrawn large amounts of cash several times before the divorce proceedings.
On making these discoveries the court deemed an undisclosed amount of Li’s assets to be joint in nature and ruled that Zhang should receive 60 per cent of that amount.
Neither the court nor the Beijing Daily disclosed the amounts involved.
There has been much discussion of the case on the social media platform, Weibo. The case became a hot topic of discussion among internet users.
One male observer said: “Once a man is married, he basically spends his whole life working for his wife.”
Another person said:”This housewife is lucky that her husband’s salary is traceable and easy to check, so she can eventually get a share of the property. Unfortunately, not every housewife has this luck.”
The case came after China revised the law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women.
Under the newly-amended legislation, in divorce cases, the courts can assist either of the parties to inquire about the actual financial status of the other.
The Beijing Daily said that in previous divorce cases, there was an acute tendency for some men who dominate family’s finances to hide their assets.
At this year’s “two sessions” gathering – China’s annual parliamentary meetings – the country’s top court, the Supreme People’s Court, released a report on its work, in which it said that between 2018 and 2022, 8.961 million marriage and family cases were concluded by courts nationwide.
Another typical case of concealing property occurred in Hangzhou city in the eastern province of Zhejiang.
An investigation by the local court revealed that a husband had bought a house without his wife’s knowledge while doing business in another city.
As in the Beijing case, 60 per cent of the marital property was awarded to the wife. In addition, the husband lost custody of his children and had to pay 10,000 yuan (US$1,500) in damages.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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