Court Orders Mistress to Pay $560,000 to Lover’s Wife

A Chinese court recently issued a controversial ruling, ordering a woman to pay 3.79 million yuan ($560,000) to her lover’s wife, because their relationship wasn’t recognized by law.

Scorned wives suing their husbands’ lovers isn’t unheard of. On the contrary, a quick Google search of the phrase “alienation of affection” reveals that it’s still quite a common practice, although this law tort was abolished in many jurisdictions around the world. But whereas that refers to one spouse suing a third party for damaging their marriage and usually leading to divorce, a recent case in China saw one wife sue her husband’s mistress to return all the material possessions he had given her during their affair. The court sided with the woman and ordered the mistress to pay a whopping 3.79 million yuan to her lover’s wife.

Photo: Eric Prouzet/Unsplash

According to documents released by the People’s Court of Zhuanghe in Liaoning, northeastern China, the plaintiff, a woman surnamed Li, and her husband, Wang, had been married since 1991. In 2008, Wang began an extramarital affair with another woman, identified by the pseudonym Xiaoxia. A couple of years ago, Li learned about her husband’s affair, after discovering that he had been regularly sending her sums of money.

Wang admitted to his affair, telling his wife that he had also fathered a 10-year-old son with Xiaoxia and that he had been supporting them for years. evidence presented in court showed that Wang had transferred 1.47 million yuan ($217,700) to his mistress between 2013 and 2020, had bought her two apartments worth a total of 1.45 million yuan ($214,700) and had also gifted her a car worth 870,000 ($128,800).

Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels

Xiaoxia argued that she never knew Wang was married and that the money she received from Wang over the years went to child support, but the court said that this case was about ownership of assets and not about child support. Chinese law states that neither party of a marriage can spend the couple’s common property without the other’s consent, and since Li never gave her consent for Wang’s “gifts”, Xiaoxia now has to return a total of 3.79 million yuan ($560,000) to her lover’s wife.

The court did tell Xiaoxia that she has the option to file a separate case and sue Wang for child support, but that their relationship up to this point “goes against public customs”.

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