Chinese court orders man to pay ex-wife for housework

Published February 25, 2021
Under the country’s new civil code, which came into effect this year, divorcing spouses have the right for the first time to request compensation if they bore more responsibilities at home. — AFP
Under the country’s new civil code, which came into effect this year, divorcing spouses have the right for the first time to request compensation if they bore more responsibilities at home. — AFP

BEIJING: A Chinese man has been ordered to pay his ex-wife almost $8,000 for years of unpaid housework, in a landmark divorce case that has sparked furious debate in China.

Under the country’s new civil code, which came into effect this year, divorcing spouses have the right for the first time to request compensation if they bore more responsibilities at home.

Ex-wife Wang told the Beijing court that during five years of marriage she “looked after the child and managed household chores, while (her husband) Chen did not care about or participate in any other household affairs besides going to work”.

She filed a claim for extra compensation for housework and childcare duties, according to a Feb 4 court statement.

The court ruled that Wang had indeed taken on more household responsibilities and should receive 50,000 yuan ($7,700) plus sole child custody and an additional 2,000 yuan in alimony per month.

But after local media reported this week that Wang had appealed — having originally requested 160,000 yuan compensation — the ruling sparked widespread online debate over the value of women’s unpaid domestic labour.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2021

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