Debt rules clarified for divorcees

Updated:Jan 18,2018 09:15 AM

Wives and husbands who file for divorce in China can now escape paying off debts incurred solely by their partner.

The Supreme People's Court released a judicial interpretation on the country's Marriage Law on Wednesday to clarify how a couple's debt should be divided when they split up.

It defines "joint debt" as that accrued to cover family expenses such as food, clothing and medical care.

However, husbands and wives can now argue they should be exempt from repaying loans or other debts they had no knowledge of during the marriage, according to the interpretation.

In addition, a loan taken out for nonfamily expenses will not automatically be taken as joint debt, but if a lender demands a couple should share responsibility they must prove the money was used for family expenses.

The interpretation advises lenders to get both husband and wife to sign loan agreements, which means the repayments will automatically be seen as joint debt.

An interpretation of the law in 2003 stipulated that couples should share all debts from their marriage, even after a divorce.