Court awards ex-husband Shanghai apartment

A Chinese American man won ownership of the home that he and his ex-wife had co-owned in the city after their divorce in Australia, Jing'an District People's Court announced Tuesday.

The case sheds some light on how the local court system divvies up property among former spouses following an overseas divorce.

The man, surnamed Gu, married his Australian wife, who was also of Chinese descent, in Australia in 2001, according to a court press release. The couple bought a home in Shanghai in 2002 and another in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, four years later.

After spending 10 years together, Gu and his wife, surnamed Huang, divorced in May 2011 in the Federal Court of Australia. Because the Australian court didn't have the authority to divide their property in China, Gu and Huang brought their case to Jing'an District People's Court in August.

Gu and Huang each wanted to retain ownership of the Shanghai apartment, which was worth 3.57 million yuan ($569,740), and leave the other person with the property in Nanjing, which was worth 2.94 million yuan, according to the court. The Shanghai apartment was worth 631,000 yuan more than the one in Nanjing.

To determine who would retain the Shanghai apartment, the court asked Gu and Huang to each bid on how much he or she would be willing to pay the other to keep it. Gu offered 500,000 yuan. Huang failed to bid.

After receiving the bid, the court awarded the Nanjing apartment to Huang and the Shanghai apartment to Gu and ordered Gu to pay his ex-wife 500,000 yuan within seven days of finishing the paperwork.

The court also ordered the couple to jointly pay down the 30,000 yuan remaining on the Shanghai apartment's mortgage.


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