Single father asks estranged wife to pay $20,725 for housework and child care

A handout photo. A husband in China demands US$15,000 ($20,725) in compensation for housework and caring for two children over eight years in divorce case.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

A court in China has awarded a single father 30,000 yuan (S$6,129) in compensation for raising his two children alone after the breakdown of his marriage.

The man, identified by the pseudonym Zhang Wei, from Huizhou in Guangdong province, southern China raised his two children alone for the last eight years after he and his wife, surnamed Lin, split up. The couple stayed separated but only filed for divorce earlier this year.

After the birth of their second child the marriage broke down and Lin moved out of the family home. Their two children stayed with Zhang who has raised them alone since, the Guangzhou Daily reported.

Zhang told the court that he had taken on sole responsibility for the couple's children and the housework. He said Lin did not provide any support, financial or otherwise, for the children.

The husband's case has attracted significant attention in China, with many saying that the sum he received in the divorce was too low for the house work involved. 
PHOTO: Weibo 

During the divorce proceedings Lin requested that custody of the children remain with Zhang, and that he continue to support them financially.

However, Zhang refused these terms and requested 100,000 yuan from Lin as compensation for raising the children alone. An attempt at mediation through the court failed to reach a compromise.

The court ruled that Lin must pay a one-off lump sum of 30,000 yuan to Zhang for the years he'd spent raising the children. Zhang agreed to be the children's sole provider after the divorce and did not seek ongoing maintenance from Lin.

"The value of housework should be respected, thus it's necessary to provide financial compensation to the one who takes on the bulk of it during a marriage," judge Long Haipeng told the Nanfang Daily after the divorce terms were agreed to.

The story has generated widespread online discussion about the value of housework in mainland China. Many said the compensation Zhang received was too small and undervalued his work as a single parent.

"30,000 yuan is really too small. For those who look after the housework, regardless of whether they are male or female, they deserve to get more compensation in any divorce, don't they?" said one commenter.

Another wrote: "I agree. I even think the original compensation he sought was small. He worked while taking care of two kids!"

Since new legislation on housework compensation came into effect in China last year, there have been a rising number of applications for support payments during divorce proceedings. Most of the claimants have been women.

In June this year, a woman in eastern China received US$4,500 in compensation for being a full-time wife and mother during her seven-year marriage.

In 2020, a court in Beijing ordered a husband to pay 50,000 yuan to his former wife after five years of marriage.

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This article was first published in South China Morning Post.