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Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China


Adopted at the Third Session of the Fifth National People's Congress on September 10, 1980, and amended in accordance with Decision Regarding the Amendment (of Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China) passed at the 21st Session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress on April 28, 2001

CONTENTS

Chapter I General Provisions

Chapter II Marriage Contract

Chapter III Family Relations

Chapter IV Divorce

Chapter V Succour Measures and Legal Liability

Chapter VI Supplementary Provisions

Chapter I General Provisions

Article 1 This Law is the fundamental code governing marriage and family relations.

Article 2 A marriage system based on the free choice of partners, on monogamy and on equality between man and woman shall be applied.

The lawful rights and interests of women, children and old people shall be protected.

Family planning shall be practised.

Article 3 Marriage upon arbitrary decision by any third party, mercenary marriage and any other acts of interference in the freedom of marriage shall be prohibited. The exaction of money or gifts in connection with marriage shall be prohibited.

Bigamy shall be prohibited. Cohabitation of a married person with any third party shall be prohibited. Domestic violence shall be prohibited. Within the family maltreatment and desertion of one family member by another shall be prohibited.

Article 4 Husband and wife shall be faithful to and respect each other. Within the family, family members shall respect the old and cherish the young, help one another, and maintain equal, harmonious and civilized marriage and family relations.

Chapter II Marriage Contract

Article 5 Marriage must be based upon the complete willingness of both man and woman. Neither party may use compulsion on the other party and no third party may interfere.

Article 6 No marriage may be contracted before the man has reached 22 years of age and the woman 20 years of age. Late marriage and late childbirth shall be encouraged.

Article 7 No marriage may be contracted under any of the following circumstances:

(1) if the man and the woman are lineal relatives by blood, or collateral relatives by blood up to the third degree of kinship; and

(2) if the man or the woman is suffering from any disease, which is regarded by medical science as rendering a person unfit for marriage.

Article 8 Both the man and the woman desiring to contract a marriage shall register in person with the marriage registration office. If the proposed marriage is found to conform with the provisions of this Law, the couple shall be allowed to register and issued marriage certificates. The husband and wife relationship shall be established as soon as they acquire the marriage certificates. In the absence of the marriage registration, the man and the woman shall go through the procedures subsequently.


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