AN ONLINE “divorce calculator” to work out the cost of splitting up has recently gained popularity in China half a year after it was introduced by the British government.
The “My Divorce and Separation Calculator,” which helps couplesdraw up budgets, review debts, and picture post-split financial scenarios, has ironically made Chinese netizens seem less enthused over leaving their other halves.
Why? The Chinese (ex-)lovebirds have found that a divorce is too expensive to afford.
The Changjiang Times (长江商报) used Mr. Zhang—who had an affair outside of his marriage—as an example:
Zhang has two residences that have a total market value of a million Yuan ($155,000), 100,000 Yuan of savings, a monthly salary of 5,000 Yuan, and a 3-year-old son. After Zhang entered his information into the "divorce calculator," Zhang—who originally had a decent living standard—suddenly went from a millionaire to nothing.
After processing the numbers, the Chinese version of the calculator concluded that Zhang could only get 190 Yuan after his divorce. Moreover, he would have to pay an intial 5,310 Yuan, a monthly payment of 1,600 Yuan, a monthly 100 Yuan for his son, 1,000 Yuan per month for rent, and 500 Yuan per month for senior care.
Zhang told the newspaper:
The "divorce calculator" said: Because you have had an affair, you cannot have half of the shared properties.
How has the perceived cost of divorce changed in China over the years? Lanyang Weibo (兰杨微博) from Beijing commented:
In the past, people went pale with the mentioning of divorce; in the '70s, people struggled over whether to divorce or not; and after the '80s, divorce is no longer a big deal. [...] And now an online "divorce calculator" is trending, with all its calculations coming out to be astronomical numbers!
Divorce has been on the rise for seven consecutive years in China. Just from January to March 2011, 465,000 couples have filed for divorce, a 17.1 percent rise from same period in the previous year, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
With China’s divorce rate skyrocketing, maybe an online calculator can help abate the break-up epidemic sweeping China.