New Chinese law could leave divorced women homeless

An interesting change to Chinese divorce law.  Previously, a home purchased by either party before the marriage became marital property when they married, and thus divisible when divorcing.  However, with the passage of this new law in August 2011, it appears that the premarital home will revert solely to the original purchaser — according to this article, overwhelmingly the husband.  In Hawaii (and other equitable distribution states, which is the majority of the U.S.), the date of divorce equity value of the property stays with the premarital purchaser, but any INCREASE in value would be marital property (again, divisible in a divorce).
This may very well lead to significant changes in future brides’ (as well as current wives’) outlook and planning, as it may leave many of them high and dry in a divorce.  Commentators in the article are already referencing marital strife because of the law change.  This does seem to be a step backward for gender equity in China, where the communists have always held forth as a strength of their system.  I don’t know that the Chinese Supreme Court intended this as “social engineering,” but the effect certainly has that look.

About Gavin K. Doi

Gavin, a founding partner of Doi/Luke, was born and reared in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, graduating from McKinley High School, and receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in Denver, Colorado. Previously, Gavin worked with the Child Support Enforcement Agency and the AmeriCorps Domestic Violence Clinic. An advocate of pro bono legal work, Gavin volunteers time with Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii and the Hawai’i State Bar Association. In 2013, Gavin co-authored the book Child Custody Litigation and Settlements (Aspatore Books/Thomson West), penning the section "Working with Your Client Towards a Successful Child Custody Case." Gavin is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association and the HSBA Family Law Section, and was presented with the 2002 Justice Award by the Hawaii State Bar Association, which honors one lawyer annually for their outstanding contribution to the ideals of justice. The Hawaii Access to Justice Commission honored Gavin in 2012 for his pro bono service to the community. Gavin has extensive experience in divorce, paternity, child custody, child support, restraining orders, and other family law matters, and has a Distinguished rating with Martindale-Hubble®/, and an Avvo rating of 10 out of 10. He can be e-mailed at: .

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