Court-ordered housework compensation heats up social media

( Updated : 2021-11-09

A recent ruling that ordered a man to pay 50,000 yuan ($7,700) to his ex-wife as compensation for her housework during their five-year marriage has been heatedly discussed among the public after it was reported by Chinese media this week.

The ruling was made by Beijing Fangshan District People's Court in accordance with the Civil Code, which took effect Jan 1.

Under the code, a spouse who takes more responsibility for raising children, caring for elderly family members or assisting with household chores can apply for compensation from his or her partner when they divorce.

Courts should decide on how much to pay if the two sides cannot reach an agreement on the compensation amount, the code said.

In the Beijing case, the court granted a divorce after the man, surnamed Chen, sued his partner, surnamed Wang, to end their marriage last year and evenly distributed family properties to each of them.

Custody of their son was given to Wang and Chen was asked to pay 2,000 yuan per month in child support, according to the ruling.

Also, considering Wang, a housewife, spent more time looking after the child and did most of the housework, the court also agreed with her compensation application, ordering Chen to pay the additional 50,000 yuan.

The ruling quickly aroused a heated discussion on Chinese social media platforms.

Some netizens and legal experts welcomed the compensation, taking it as protection for those who spend more time and energy on housework and family affairs by sacrificing their job opportunities.

Long Jun, an associate law associate professor at Tsinghua University, told China Central Television on Tuesday that people who spend too much energy on household chores will face difficulties in looking for a jobs again after divorce, adding such a compensation will contribute to their job seeking search.But some people disagreed, saying 50,000 yuan for the woman was too low.

In response, Feng Miao, a judge responsible for the case in the court, said the code does not specify how much money should be paid, noting the amount depends on different cases.

In the divorce case between Wang and Chen, the judge said she considered the local living standard, Chen's income, how long the couple lived together and what Wang did for the family.