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SPC Issues Judicial Interpretation on Betrothal Gift Disputes

Wed, 12 Jun 2024
Categories: China Legal Trends

In November 2023, China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) issued a judicial interpretation regarding betrothal gift disputes titled “Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Cases Involving Betrothal Gift Disputes” (Fa Shi [2024] No. 1) (关于审理涉彩礼纠纷案件适用法律若干问题的规定(法释[2024]1号)), which took effect on 1 Feb. 2024.

Betrothal gifts are a traditional custom in Chinese weddings. In recent years, the amount of betrothal gifts has escalated in many regions, leading to a trend of comparison. At the same time, betrothal gifts that exceed the normal family expenditure have become a heavy burden for many families. In cases of short marriages, this has led to an imbalance of interests and an increase in betrothal gift disputes.

The SPC issued this judicial interpretation to provide clear rules and guidance to courts nationwide in handling betrothal gift disputes.

The highlights of the judicial interpretation are as follows.

  • Demand for property by marriage shall be prohibited. If a party, under the guise of a betrothal gift, demands property through marriage, and the other party requests its return, the courts shall uphold the request.
  • If both parties have registered their marriage and are living together, and, at the time of divorce, one party files a claim for the return of the betrothal gift offered according to customs, the courts shall generally not uphold the claim. However, if the period of living together is short and the amount of the betrothal gift is excessive, the courts may, taking into account local customs, decide whether to grant the return and the percentage of the return, based on the use of the betrothal gift and the dowry, considering the amount of the betrothal gift, the period of living together, pregnancy, the fault of both parties, and other factors.



Photo by sj on Unsplash


Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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