In China, two legal ways are available for couples to divorce: one is divorce by agreement, also known as divorce by registration, and the other is divorce by legal proceedings.
If a couple is willing to divorce and reach an agreement on the custody of their child(ren) and the division of their property, they may apply to complete the divorce registration before the marriage registration authority. Their marriage will be terminated according to law upon the approval of the marriage registration authority and the issuance of the divorce certificates. Divorce in this way is called divorce by agreement or registration. If a couple is unwilling to terminate their marriage by agreement, and they fail to reach a divorce agreement out of their free will, their marriage may also be terminated by legal proceedings. In such a case, the people's court may issue a mediation agreement on divorce or deliver a verdict on divorce in accordance with the law. The people's court shall prepare and issue a mediation agreement during the legal proceedings to grant divorce if the couple reaches a divorce agreement through the mediation of the people's court. The mediation agreement will have legal effect once it is served on both the spouses and the marriage relationship between the spouses will be terminated according to law. If the people's court fails in mediation and is confirmed of the alienation of affection between the spouses, it shall decide to grant a divorce. The verdict granting divorce made in the first instance shall come into force 15 days after the date of service, and the marriage relationship shall be terminated according to the law from the date of entry into force of the verdict. If a party refuses to accept the verdict granting divorce made in the first instance, he/she shall file an appeal with the people's court at the next higher level within 15 days from the date of receipt of the verdict.