Are you looking for help with Beijing child custody? Our attorneys can help you with custody cases, living arrangements, and divorce proceedings.
They can assist in Beijing, Shanghai, or other Chinese cities. They can even help if you are in Hong Kong or Canada. We have international lawyers that do family law.
Family law is complex when both parties live in the same city. It’s even more complicated when one person lives in Australia, and the other in China.
This article is going to focus on when one parent takes the child and runs off to China. This is a common reason why people reach out to us looking for a law firm in Beijing.
If you need a family lawyer in Beijing, fill out the form on the side of this page.
China’s divorce rates have been going up significantly year over year. For this reason, there have been talks about rewriting the family laws in China.
Also, more Chinese people are getting married overseas. This leads to complications with international divorce law.
The legal system in New Zealand is completely different than in China.
Does The Hague Convention Work In Beijing Courts?
If you spoke to a lawyer in your home country, let’s say Australia or the United States, they might have said you should file an application under the Hague Convention.
This isn’t going to work in China. China did not sign the convention. The point of the Hague Convention was to stop international abduction.
In China, you are going to need to hire a lawyer located in China. They will need to get a court order. Then the court order can be given to the municipal police.
Most of the police in China will not get involved in “disputes between parents.” They see someone taking their child back to China as a family law issue, and not a criminal law issue.
The police will say they are not going to help with divorce proceedings.
Since China didn’t sign the Hague Convention, don’t waste your time and money hiring an attorney in the United States.
What Are The Child Custody Laws In Beijing?
Divorce law in Beijing doesn’t have a section for child custody. It does talk about child support. For child custody, the law uses the term child maintenance. This is very confusing.
Keep in mind that China uses the civil code system, not the common law system that most western countries use.
Generally, both parents are responsible to take care of the child.
What you need to do when your child is taking away (back to China) is get a court order. Your lawyer will need to show a Chinese judge that you will take care of the child better than the other parent.
The lawyer might show that the child’s life is better back in the United States (than in Beijing.) The judge doesn’t want to create a big “shock” for the child.
Below are a few of our attorneys in Beijing. We have other lawyers that focus on family law.
In the past (and still somewhat), Chinese judges prefer to give custody to whichever child the parent is currently with.
Of course, this means that there is an incentive for a parent to kidnap their child. Further, to deny any visitation rights to the other parent.
Getting Visitation Rights To See Your Child
If you cannot get child custody, you likely will be able to get visitation. Of course, this is not ideal. Travelling from Canada or the USA to China to see your child is a long trip.
Many people’s lives are destroyed when they can no longer see their child. We have heard many horror stories.
For example, let’s use a fake name and situation, based on real clients. Let’s say someone called Stacy Wu calls us from Vancouver, Canada.
Maybe Stacy was talking with her husband about starting divorce proceedings. Stacy is from Hong Kong, and her husband, Steve Wu, is from Beijing.
Suddenly, the child doesn’t come home from school in Vancouver. Steve often doesn’t come home, but the child always does.
Stacy calls Steve’s cell phone, and it goes straight to voicemail.
Stacy decides to call the police after a few days. Right after she does so, Steve sends a WeChat message saying he is back in Beijing with the child.
Stacy is in big trouble as she is not a Chinese citizen and she cannot even speak Mandarin. What should she do?
She should fill out the form on the side of his page and talk to one of our lawyers in Beijing right away.
Things To Think About With Beijing Child Custody
- when is the right time to talk about divorce proceedings?
- should you speak to a law firm before speaking to your spouse?
- how does family law work in China?
- what will a Chinese judge consider when making a custody decision?
- in which country should the child live?
- how much do custody battles cost?
- what is the Chinese court process?
- will you be able to offer stable living for the child?
- would you consider living in China for visitation?
- is joint custody possible?
In conclusion, you need a good lawyer to recommend to a Chinese judge that what you are asking for is in the best interests of the child.
You do not want the Beijing police to dismiss your concern. They will normally take the position that this is just a family problem, not a legal problem.
You need a law firm to put together a package (with evidence) of why living with you is the best thing for your child.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law