Simon Says: Is a loyalty agreement between a couple enforceable?

This is the thirty-ninth in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.


每周轻松有趣法律常識故事系列 - 第39篇



Keywords: marriage law, loyalty agreement, divorce, compensation 





Is a loyalty agreement between a couple enforceable?




Jill, aged 28 years old, had fallen in love a dozen times, but none led to a successful marriage. As Jill got older, her parents got more and more worried. One day, her mother said on phone, “I will find you a good husband.” Jill and her parents learned from their relations that Jack was a quite decent man and by coincident, he also fell in love with Jill. Perfectly matched, soon they were ready to marry.


Jill 28岁,谈过几次恋爱,可最终都以失败告终。眼看着自己的孩子至今没有结婚,Jill的父母十分着急,她妈妈在电话里说:“孩子啊,妈妈一定会帮你找到一个好丈夫的。”通过朋友的牵线搭桥,Jill和她的父母觉得Jack人还不错,而且Jack也对Jill有意,于是张罗起结婚的事情。


On September 9, Jill and Jack obtained a marriage certificate from the Civil Affairs Bureau and got married by law. Upon returning home, Jill pulled out a document entitled “Loyalty Agreement” from her drawer, for which she had prepared. Jack didn't know what it was about.




Jill said, “I had been in love for several times, but all in vain. I am worried that our marriage might not last long. What could I do if you fall in love with others in the future?” Jack, trying to comfort her said, “I am not such a person and won't fall in love with others.” Jill said, “I cannot believe your words. You need sign an agreement with me. If a party betrayed the other, the defaulting one shall compensate the non-defaulting one 400,000 Yuan for emotional damages.” Jack agreed and the agreement was signed.




Two years later, Jill found Jack having an affair with a new grad. So she said angrily to Jack, “Now that you have betrayed me, I want to divorce you. According to the agreement you have to compensate me 400,000 Yuan for my emotional loss.”




“You can divorce me, as we do not love each other, but I won't give a penny. That agreement is useless. If you want me to compensate you, I won't agree to be divorced.” Jack battled back.




Is a loyalty agreement between a couple enforceable?




 Simon Says - Episode 39: Is a loyalty agreement between a couple enforceable?


Prof Simon Says:



According to the provisions of the China’s Marriage Law, both husband and wife shall assume the loyalty obligations to each other. In this case, Jill and Jack signed a loyalty agreement to guarantee fidelity between them. The agreement shall be considered as a tool to materialize the loyalty obligation of the Marriage Law. As the agreement is not prohibited by the law and expressed the true intention of the parties of their marriage, and therefore it shall be valid and enforceable. Jill may divorce Jack by negotiation and, if Jack refuses, Jill can initiate the divorce petition in a competent court on the ground of alienation of mutual affection and claim compensation for the emotional damages.




Legal Provisions:

The Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China

Article 4:Husband and wife shall be faithful to and respect each other. Within the family, members shall respect the old and cherish the young, help one another, and maintain equal, harmonious and civilized marriage and family relations.

Paragraphs 1 & 2, Article 32: When one party alone desires a divorce, the organizations concerned may carry out mediation, or the party may appeal directly to a people's court to start divorce proceedings.
In dealing with a divorce case, the people's court should carry out mediation between the parties. Divorce shall be granted if mediation fails because mutual affection no long exists.










For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at:


Phone: +86 13823677853 or

WeChat: simonhkchoi


Simon Choi

About the Author: Professor Simon Choi

Prof Simon Choi, solicitor and linguist, is an international lawyer, qualified to practise law in England & Wales and in Hong Kong, China. Simon graduated from law schools of the Peking University, the University of London and the University of Hong Kong respectively, with an in-depth knowledge of Chinese laws and common laws and with more than 20 years experience in China practice and international trade, investment, finance, merger & acquisition. He is an adjunct professor of laws at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Simon is the founding partner of Acme Ardent and can be reached at, +86 13823677853, or WeChat ID: simonhkchoi


Be the first to review this item!

Bookmark this

24 Nov 2017

By Simon Choi

Events Calendar