When I first got to know about this absurdity, lots of flash thoughts flooded in and I took great interest in it.
The first question that got to my mind was, on what grounds on divorce did Jian Feng (ex-husband/plaintiff/petitioner) file his petition?
Having to have studied English Law (Family Law was my favourite subject!) back in law school and had few months of internship experience with Singapore’s Family Law, it’s no surprise that I started to dig up more info…
Perhaps the word ‘Divorce’ was loosely used because being ugly amounts to no grounds to file for a divorce. The right term would be an annulled marriage. Now, what’s the difference between an annulled marriage and a divorce? Read it here (Singapore Law) and here (English Law).
So technically speaking, based on the grounds for a voidable marriage under English Law and Singapore Law, ‘being ugly’ could be catgorised under the the ground that ‘either of you did not validly consent to it, whether in consequence of duress, mistake, unsoundness of mind or otherwise’.
Mistake as to the identity of the party that is.
Following English Law, a mistake as to the identity of the other party is generally sufficient to make a marriage voidable, but a mistake as to his attributes, or as to the effect of the marriage, is not.
The word ‘attributes’ would surely cover appearance unless the petitioner mistook the other party as someone else, for example, Lin Chi-ling or Zhang Ziyi.
Taking great interest and adopting a holistic overview, I took the liberty to research on PRC Family Law.
Article 32: Where either the husband or wife applies to get divorced, the departments concerned may make mediations, or he or she may file a suit at the peoples court for divorce. The peoples court shall make mediations in the process of hearing a divorce suit; divorce shall be granted if mediation fails because mutual affection no longer exists. Divorce shall be granted if any of the following circumstances occurs and mediation fails: a) either party is a bigamist or a person who has a spouse but co-habits with another person; b) there is family violence or maltreatment or desertion of any family member; c) either party is indulged in gambling, drug-abuse or has other vicious habits and refuses to mend his or her ways despite of repeated admonition; d) both parties have lived separately due to lack of mutual affection for up to two years; e) other circumstances that have led to the nonexistence of mutual affection as husband and wife. If either party has been declared by court as to be missing and the other party applies to be divorced, divorce shall be granted.
I know the gazillion words are boring you out and the topic might not be of any interest to you, but technically speaking, pursuant to Art 32 stated above, false pretences by the wife can’t possibly fall under any of the categories (a) to (e). But to squeeze the law dry, perhaps (e) is the most probable, but it does state ‘mutual’ affection. The husband certainly did not feel any affection towards his ex-wife and most probably resent towards her right now…
Plus, under ‘Voidable’ marriage, in Chapter 2 Article 11, it does not state on what grounds can a marriage be annulled but merely stated ‘intimidated marriage’. Whatever definitions provided for by PRC Law, surely ‘being ugly’ could not have intimidated the husband right? 😉
So, the judge allowed the divorce based on ‘False Pretense’ (Extracted from Yahoo! News and My Fat Pocket) which does not belong to any of the grounds for a voidable marriage nor for a divorce petition.
And apart from filing a divorce and being granted his wish, the ex-husband went on to sue the ex-wife as well. Perhaps under Contract Law – under Misrepresentation, but surely it does not make sense, albeit a marriage is a contract? Offer, Acceptance, Consideration and Intention to create legal relations are the elements of a formation of a valid contract. And because the ex-husband sued her, he was awarded a whooping sum of $120k in total. By a male judge of course.
A marriage contract should not be seen as just a contract, what more a commercial contract.
All that ‘sanctity of marriage’ lovey-dovey is all crap.
And apart from that, women in China can still be said to face sex discrimination and anti-feminism is still being drowned under waters. Read here for another similar interesting article.
“Law is the highest reason implanted in Nature, which commands what ought to be done and forbids the opposite.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 B.C.)
Is this then really true? In all honesty, it’s really the people who create and command..