Chinese woman saddled with ex-husband’s US$3 million in debts

Woman has spent six years in legal action, arguing she had no knowledge that her ex-partner was running up huge liabilities during marriage, newspaper reports

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 June, 2018, 2:43pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 June, 2018, 3:08pm

A divorced woman from eastern China has spent six years fighting against court rulings stating that she is liable to pay debts of over 20 million yuan (US$3.1 million) borrowed by her ex-husband during their marriage, according to a newspaper report.

The couple was divorced in 2012, but she received summons from courts in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province after she and her ex-partner were sued by five different groups of people claiming they were owed money borrowed by her former husband, the Qiangjiang Evening News reported.

Her ex-partner was a former official working in Hangzhou and he has never appeared in court for any of the hearings. The woman, who was not named in the report, said she could not trace him.

In China, your spouse’s secret debts can no longer drag you down

“Did I agree to borrow this money? Have I ever used one cent of the loans?” the woman was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

She lives with her son, who is about 12, and has sold one flat for 2.5 million yuan to pay off some of the debts.

Most of the woman’s salary is also taken away each month to pay some of the money owed, the report said. It leaves her with only 3,000 yuan to support her son.

This woman is among about 100 divorced wives in Hangzhou who have formed chat groups on the social media app WeChat to vent their frustration as they pay off debts run up by their ex-husbands.

Similar complaints have been made by divorcees across the country.

Famous for hoarding cash, Chinese families are now racking up debt on an unprecedented scale

The Supreme People’s Court issued regulations in January stipulating that one partner in a marriage does not need to pay debts borrowed by their husband or wife during their marriage unless creditors can prove the loans were agreed by both parties, or used for their families’ everyday expenses or for their joint business operations.

Another divorced woman in Hangzhou has successfully appealed against debt payments, with a court ruling her husband is solely responsible for 1 million yuan borrowed during their marriage, the newspaper reported.