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August 21, 2012

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Parents butt in on kids' divorce, hinder courts

MANY Shanghai parents are meddling in the divorce proceedings of their children and some even fan the flames of trouble and actually trigger a split that might be otherwise avoided, said local judges and lawyers.

The city's "post-80s" generation is experiencing the negative effects on their married life of overly protective parents, said many judges and lawyers.

"You wouldn't believe it. Parents now appear actively in each step of a divorce lawsuit for many local young couples," said lawyer Liu Chunquan, who is often seriously annoyed by such interruptions from his clients' parents.

"It's so surprising that as educated adults, so many young couples now have their parents attend and become actively involved in the consultations with lawyers before officially filing for a divorce," Liu said.

Many judges couldn't agree more.

The Hongkou District People's Court said it recently refused a divorce case after the young couple - a man surnamed Li and a woman surnamed Zhang - remained mostly silent during the hearing while their parents had a heated fight as their representatives.

The court considered there was still room for the couple to cool down and consider whether they really want a divorce instead of having their parents as their spokesmen on this issue.

The mothers on the two sides debated especially heatedly on the origins of the couple's family properties, according to Li Wen, judge in the case.

The couple married six months after their parents arranged their meeting on a blind date. Disputes started with the design of their apartment because each set of parents wanted a leading role in the project.

Judges said too often they hear from parents, "Don't ask them (the couple). Ask me. Only I know about this!"

Liu said the generation's reliance on their parents has a connection to the current situation.

"Many of these young couples have received much support from their parents on buying an apartment to get married. When a couple is getting divorced, their parents accordingly also have their interests involved regarding how the property in the marriage is settled," Liu said.

Court authorities said up to 25 percent of the current divorce cases are filed by the "post-80s" couples and the number for this group has been increasing 10 percent each year.

Judges said they are now worried that many of the divorce filings are heavily influenced by parents, given their frequent appearance on the stand.


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