Family Law in China

Family Law in China

Updated on Tuesday 18th June 2019

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Family-Law-in-China.jpgThe Chinese Family Law has gone through certain changes over the years, the most notable ones concerning divorce in China and the family planning policy. The legal framework that is important for regulating family life in China has been updated and amended so that it would respond to the changes taking place in the Chinese society. If you are a foreign investor who wants to get married in China or you are even considering to establish a family there, you should know how family life is regulated by law and what rights you have in China.
Our Chinese attorneys can help you, if you want to get married in China, file for divorce or in any other matter regarding Family Law.

Marriage and divorce in China

China has made significant changes to the laws regarding divorce in the country, but has also made revisions for the rules governing marriage registration. Marriage registration has become compulsory in China, mainly because some couples were ignoring the legal requirements for registration and only performed the traditional wedding. A marriage will be considered void in China, if the legal requirements for the minimum age of the spouses are not met or if one of the spouses is already married. Marriage in China for non-natives is possible, however only in certain conditions. 
The revisions to the Marriage Law performed in 2001 also reflected the approach to contested divorce. The changes were also determined by an increasing rate of divorce in China by the late 1990s. Our lawyers in China can help you with legal representation during divorce or if you need legal assistance for the division of the matrimonial assets during the divorce. It is important to know that the certificate of marriageability is needed at the time persons want to get married in China. Such a document provides information about a person’s marital status, whether married before and divorced. In-depth legal assistance is offered by our Chinese lawyers, at any time. Foreigners willing to get married in China are suggested to talk to our advisors for legal support. Here are a few numbers and statistics about divorce and marriage in China:
  1. the marriage rate in China dropped by 7.2% in 2018.
  2. the declining marriage rate is linked to the working-age population declination from 3 to 5 million in 2018.
  3. persons aged between 25 and 29 are most likely to get married in China.
  4. the divorce rate rose by 3.2% for the past 15 years.

What is the divorce by agreement in China?

A divorce by agreement means that persons involved can legally separate under the rules of a mutual arrangement. They can explain that the marriage is no longer in their best interest, and therefore, divorce is the only solution. This kind of agreement will comprise information about the personal belongings which need to be separated. Also, if it is the case, details about custody are presented. The legal procedures in a divorce by agreement comprise a complete file of documents like residence certificate, the divorce agreement form, some photos, a copy of the marriage certificate and the identification documents. All the legal aspects of a divorce by agreement can be explained by our team of lawyers in China.

Divorce procedure for foreigners in China

Foreign citizens wanting to get a divorce in China will have to ask for legal advice, as the applicable laws need to be understood:
  • Foreign citizens wanting to get the divorce must prove they live in China.
  • Special courts deal with divorce procedures of foreign citizens in China.
  • If children are involved, custody might be subject to complex matters.
  • A divorce issued in China is recognized anywhere in the world.
If you live in China and you want to file for divorce, you should ask for legal advice from our team of Chinese attorneys.

How is child custody issued in China?

The principles of child custody in China are firm and addressed in the best interest of the little ones. For instance, children under 2 years of age are left in the mother’s care, meaning that she receives the custody. You might want to observe the following aspects related to child custody in China:
  • Parents will have to dispute and agree the custody terms for children older than 2 years of age.
  • It is good to know that the Chinese authorities will act in the best interest of minors and offer custody to the parent that offers complete support.
  • Child support is offered until the minor turns 18, and it represents approximately 30% of the annual income of a parent.
  • Children over 10 years of age can tell if they want to live with the mother or the father.
  • Visit schedules are normally established by the authorities in the court of law.
Immediate legal representation and advice are offered for cases of child custody from our team of lawyers in China. Divorce cases involving children are treated extremely serious in China, so legal support is required from the beginning.

Establishing the alimony in China

According to the Marriage Law of People’s Republic of China, there are several requirements involving children alimony in case of divorce. The financial support is established under certain rules and especially when the authorities find out complete information about the financial aspects of parents. The standard of living in the family is extremely important, and parents will have to prove they act in the best interest of their children. Alimony is normally paid by the parent who didn’t win the child custody. The main condition is to pay the alimony until the child reaches 18 years of age or until he or she obtains a job. It is important to know that child support and the sum of money which needs to be paid by one of the parents is established in the court of law, as soon as the custody is settled. Because divorce cases involving children might be complex, it is significant to pay attention to the legal support which can be offered by our Chinese lawyers as soon as you get in touch with them.

Laws regarding children in China

One of the most important legal changes performed by the Chinese Government in the Family Law areas were the restrictions imposed on family size. The family planning policy or the one-child policy as it was referred to was introduced in China for Chinese nationals. Over the years, the rules relaxed and couples who did not have any siblings themselves were allowed to have two children. The Family Law in China also controls child abduction and children’s rights.

Is cohabitation accepted in China?

The traditional family is highly sustained in China, however, there are no interdictions referring to cohabitation of unmarried persons in this country, whether foreigners or not. It is important to know that cohabitation is seen as a modern way of forming a family which can lead to a marriage at a certain point. Tremendous changes have been registered and reported in China regarding the family aspects and the ways in which people want to live jointly. So, cohabitation of unmarried persons is not subject to specific restrictions and it is not considered offensive to traditional families, and people are free to live as they wish.
For more information about Family Law or if you need legal advice and assistance in a family matter in China, you can contact our Chinese law firm.