Beijing mulls how to divide assets of unwed couples

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 11:30 hrs

Beijing, Nov 20 (IANS) Judges in Beijing have called for guidelines on how to divide the assets of unmarried couples who split, as the number of such disputes is on the rise.

Sources were unable to provide statistics on how many cases are heard each year, but experts at Haidian district people's court said battles between ex−lovers over property, cars and child custody have become a headache for the legal system.

"Many unwed young couples today live together, while elderly widows and widowers tend to live with companions and do not remarry," the China Daily Tuesday quoted Judge Hu Guang as saying.

"However, when they have conflicts, particularly over property, it is hard to give a verdict, as there are no articles in Chinese law to act as a reference."

As an example, he cited a case involving a couple in their 60s. They had invested in two houses together, although the properties were registered in the woman's name, Hu said the woman later sold one house without telling her partner, which led to the relationship ending and the man lodging an appeal with the Haidian court.

"It was hard to recognize their relationship because they didn't have a marriage certificate," the judge said. "Although they said they had lived together for a long time and had asked relatives or friends to testify, the evidence was not strong enough."

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