Article 21 Parents shall have the duty to bring up and educate their children; children shall have the duty to support and assist their parents.
If parents fail to perform their duty, children who are minors or who are incapable of living on their own shall have the right to demand the cost of upbringing from their parents.
If children fail to perform their duty, parents who are unable to work or have difficulties in providing for themselves shall have the right to demand support payments from their children.
Infant drowning, deserting and any other acts causing serious harm to infants and infanticide shall be prohibited.
Article 22 Children may adopt their father's or their mother's surname.
Article 23 Parents shall have the right and duty to subject their children who are minors to discipline and to protect them. If children who are minors cause damage to the state, the collective, or individuals, their parents shall have the duty to bear civil liability.
Article 24 Husband and wife shall have the right to inherit each other's property.
Parents and children shall have right to inherit each other's property.
Article 25 Children born out of wedlock shall enjoy the same rights as children born in wedlock. No one may harm or discriminate against them.
The natural father or the natural mother who does not rear directly his or her child born out of wedlock shall bear the child's living and educational expenses until the child can support himself or herself.
Article 26 The state shall protect lawful adoption. The relevant provisions of this Law governing the relationship between parents and children shall apply to the rights and duties in the relationship between foster parents and foster children.
The right and duties in the relationship between a foster child and his or her natural parents shall terminate with the establishment of this adoption.
Article 27 Maltreatment or discrimination shall not be permitted between stepparents and stepchildren.
The relevant provisions in this Law governing the relationship between parents and children shall apply to the rights and duties in the relationship between stepfathers or stepmothers and their stepchildren who receive care and education from them.
Article 28 Grandparents or maternal grandparents who can afford it shall have the duty to bring up their grandchildren or maternal grandchildren who are minors and whose parents are dead or have no capacity of bringing them up. Grandchildren or maternal grandchildren who can afford it shall have the duty to support their grandparents or maternal grandparents whose children are dead or cannot afford it.
Article 29 Elder brothers or elder sisters who can afford it shall have the duty to bring up their younger brothers or sisters who are minors if their parents are dead or have no means to bring them up. Younger brothers or sisters who have been brought up by their elder brothers or elder sisters and have the means of maintenance shall have the duty to support them who are lacking in the capacity to work and in the source of income.
Article 30 Children shall have respect for their parents" matrimonial rights and shall not interfere in their parents" remarriage and postnuptial life. Children's duty to maintain their parents shall not terminate with the change in their parents" matrimonial relationship.
Chapter IV Divorce
Article 31 Divorce shall be granted if husband and wife both desire it. Both parties shall apply to the marriage registration office for divorce. The marriage registration office, after clearly establishing that divorce is desired by both parties and that appropriate arrangements have been made for the care of any children and the disposition of property, shall issue the divorce certificates.
Article 32 When one party alone desires a divorce, the organizations concerned may carry out mediation, or the party may appeal directly to a people's court to start divorce proceedings.
In dealing with a divorce case, the people's court should carry out mediation between the parties. Divorce shall be granted if mediation fails because mutual affection no long exists.
Divorce shall be granted if mediation fails under any of the following circumstances:
(1)bigamy or, cohabitation of a married person with any third party;
(2)domestic violence or, maltreatment and desertion of one family member by another;
(3)bad habits of gamble or drug addiction which remain incorrigible despite repeated admonition;
(4)separation caused by incompatibility, which lasts two full years; and
(5)any other circumstances causing alienation of mutual affection.
Divorce shall be granted if one party is declared to be missing and the other party thereby files an action for divorce.
Article 33 If the spouse of a soldier in active military service desires a divorce, the soldier's consent must b e obtained, except that the soldier commits a serious fault.
Article 34 A husband may not apply for a divorce when his wife is pregnant or within one year after the birth of a child or within six months after pregnancy suspension. This restriction shall not apply in cases where the wife applies for a divorce, or when the people's court deems it necessary to accept the divorce application made by the husband.
Article 35 If, after divorce, both parties desire to resume their husband-and-wife relationship, they shall register for the remarrying of each other with the marriage registration office.
Article 36 The relationship between parents and children shall not come to and end with the parents" divorce. After divorce, whether the children are put in the custody of the father or the mother, they shall remain the children of both parents.
After divorce, both parents shall still have the right and duty to bring up and educate their children.
In principle the mother shall have the custody of a breast-fed infant after divorce. If a dispute arises between the two parties over the custody of their child who has been weaned and they fail to reach an agreement, the people's court shall make a judgment in accordance with the rights and interests of the child and the actual conditions of both parents.
Article 37 If, after divorce, one party has been given custody of a child, the other parent shall bear part or the whole of the child"s necessary living and educational expenses. The two parties shall agreement regarding the amount and duration of such payment. If they fail to reach an agreement, the people's court shall make a judgment.
The agreement or the court judgment on a child's living and educational expenses shall not prevent the child from making a reasonable request, when necessary, to either parent for an amount exceeding what was decided upon in the said agreement or judgment.
Article 38 After divorce, the father or the mother who does not rear their children directly shall have the right to visit them, while the other party shall have the duty to give assistance.
The parents shall reach an agreement about how and when to exercise the right of visit. If they fail to reach an agreement, the people's court shall make a judgement.
If the father or the mother visits their children to the detriment of their mental and physical health, a people's court shall suspend the right of visit according to law; and such a right shall be restored after the main content of the suspension disappears.
Article 39 At the time of divorce, the disposition of the property in the joint possession of husband and wife is subject to agreement between the two parties. In cases where an agreement cannot be reached, the people's court shall make a judgement in consideration of the actual circumstance of the property and on the principle of caring for the rights and interests of the wife and the child or children.
The rights and interests enjoyed by husband or wife in the operation of land under a contract based on the household shall be protected according to law.
Article 40 According to a couple's written agreement, the items of property acquired during their marriage are in the separate possession. In this connection, if one party performs more duties in rearing their children, looking after their elders and assisting the other party in work, he or she shall have the right at the time of divorce to request compensation from the other party who shall make the compensation.
Article 41 At the time of divorce, debts incurred by the husband and wife during their marriage shall be paid off out of their jointly possessed property. If such property is insufficient to pay off the debts or, the items of the property are in the separate possession, the two parties shall work out an agreement with regard to the payment. If they fail to reach an agreement, the people's court shall make a judgment.
Article 42 If, at the time of divorce, one party has difficulties supporting himself or herself, the other party shall render appropriate help from her or his personal property such as a dwelling house. Specific arrangements shall be made between both parties through consultation. If they fail to reach an agreement, the people's court shall make a judgement.
Chapter V Succour Measures and Legal Liability
Article 43 In regard to the domestic violence to or maltreatment of family member(s), the victim shall have the right to make a request, and the neighborhood or villager committee as well as the units in which the parties concerned work shall dissuade the wrongdoer, and offer mediation.
In regard to the domestic violence being committed, the victim shall have the right to make a request, the neighborhood or villager committee shall dissuade the wrongdoer, and the public security organ shall stop the violence.
If, in regard to the domestic violence to or maltreatment of family member(s), the victim makes a request, the public security organ shall subject the wrongdoer to administrative penalty in accordance with the relevant provisions of administrative sanctions for public order.
Article 44 In regard to the desertion of one family member by another, the victim shall have the right to make a request, and the neighborhood or villager committee as well as the units in which the parties concerned work shall dissuade the wrongdoer and offer mediation.
If, in regard to the desertion of one family member by another, the victim makes a request, the people's court shall pass a judgment on the effecting of maintenance, upbringing and support payments according to law.
Article 45 If bigamy, domestic violence to or maltreatment and desertion of family member(s) constitute a crime, the criminal responsibility of the wrongdoer shall be investigated according to law. The victim may institute a voluntary prosecution in a people's court in accordance with the relevant provisions of the criminal procedure law. The public security organ shall investigate the case according to law and the people's procuratorate shall initiate a public prosecution according to law.
Article 46 A no-fault party shall have the right to make a request for damage compensation under any of the following circumstances bringing about divorce:
(2)cohabitation of a married person with any third party;
(3)domestic violence; and
(4)maltreatment and desertion of one family member by another.
Article 47 When the couple's joint property is divided, the party may get smaller or no share of the property if he or she conceals, transfers, sells off, destroys the couple's joint property, or forges debts in an attempt to convert the other party's property at the time of divorce. After divorce, the other party, on finding the above-mentioned acts, may file an action in a people's court, and make a request for another division of the couple's joint property.
Regarding the acts to the prejudice of the civil litigation that are specified in the preceding paragraph, the people's court shall subject the wrongdoer to the punishment according to the provisions of the civil procedure law.
Article 48 In cases where the person refuses to abide by judgements or rulings on maintenance, upbringing or support payments, or on the division or inheritance of property, or on visits to children, the people's court shall enforce the execution of the judgements or rulings according to law. The individuals and units concerned shall have the duty to assist such executions.
Article 49 Where laws provide otherwise against illegal acts and for legal liability in regard to marriage and family, the provisions in such laws shall apply.
Chapter VI Supplementary Provisions
Article 50 The people's congresses in national autonomous areas shall have the right to formulate certain adaptations in the light of the specific conditions of the local nationalities in regard to marriage and family. Provisions of adaptations formulated by autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties must be submitted to the standing committee of the people's congress of the relevant province or autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government for approval. Provisions of adaptations formulated by autonomous regions must be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record.
Article 51 This Law shall come into force as of January 1, 1981.
The Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China promulgated on May 1, 1950 shall be invalidated as of the day this Law comes into force.