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The Globalization of Chinese divorce, are you ready?

(2014-12-08 17:58:04)
标签:

globalization

divorce

Believe it or not, the globalization of Chinese divorce is an unavoidable trend instead of a big talk. As far as I am concerned, several factors work together to make the globalization happen, the marriage between a Chinese citizen and a foreigner, the investment abroad either by a Chinese citizen or entity, immigration abroad of Chinese people, the ever increasing number of foreigners in China and etc.

As a survey shows there are three foreign related marriages in every 100 newly married couples. Shanghai has the largest number of foreign related marriages and Guangzhou follows after among all the provinces and cities in China. As statistics further shows that from 1996 to present, the registered foreign related marriage is more than 21,000 couples with 3,000 couples registered in average every year, a more than 10 times’ increase than that of 1980. Ever since 1980, the number of foreign related marriage is increasing in a twisting way, from 396 couples in 1980 to 2,690 couples in 2002. (http://www.xxingclub.com/successful-stories/succeed-study/2014415143130.html) In 2013 alone, there are 2.054 foreign related marriage registered in Shanghai. In Jiangsu Province, there are 795 foreign related registered marriages from January to June, 2014. http://www.oushinet.com/news/qs/qsnews/20140710/145645.html These numbers cover the marriages registered between a Chinese and a foreigner in China only, exclusive the marriage registered outside of China in compliance with the foreign laws between a Chinese and a foreigner. The transnational marriage makes the divorce transnational unavoidable and with the foreign factor involved, the divorce is becoming much more complicated either in procedure or in substance if such a divorce is submitted to a competent court. Tough issues involved in these transnational are jurisdiction, legal documents to be served, applicable law, child custody, division of assets and etc. Among all these tough issues, child custody is the toughest as a foreigner’s leaving China with or without the child will make it impossible to exercise the regular visitation right.

China’s quick economic development has created lots of rich Chinese and the one night rich is no longer a myth but a reality to many newly getting rich people when their companies are IPOed or invested by PE and etc. However, the limited access to investment channels at home, the panic about losing the huge wealth at home, the quick development of the eye opening internet have accelerated the high net worth individuals  to invest abroad. In 2012, 25% of the high net worth individuals (referring the group whose individual assets are more than 6 million yuan RMB) have assets outside of China, covering 19% of the total assets available for investment of the group, a 8 percentage increase to that of 2011. Real estate and stocks are the rich’s favorites. In consideration of the investment destinations, Hong Kong, USA and Canada are the three main centers for the Chinese high net worth individuals to allocate their assets and investment in the three places have covered 60% of the total assets outside of China by the high net worth individuals.(http://www.baike.com/wiki/中国富人地图). Meanwhile, through Chinese companies’ IPO abroad, new rich makes a good fortune outside of China and Jack Ma of Alibaba is the leader among the quick rich Chinese. The fortune they get is in US dollars instead of in Chinese yuan, thus wealth outside of China. Either investment abroad or IPO abroad adds the foreign factor to the Chinese divorce and the application of law, the value of the assets abroad and the enforcement of the judgment of Chinese court abroad are the main three issues which keep on bothering the clients involved and Chinese lawyers.

Investment abroad is closely connected with immigration. Take USA as a good example, from 2006 to March, 2012, USA government altogether approves 14,708 immigration cases, half of which are cases for investment immigration applied by Chinese people. Chinese rich people have contributed more than 35 hundred million US dollars to USA through investment immigration if it is calculated on the base of the minimum investment amount in the amount of half a million US dollars. The 2013 and 2014 have witnessed another peak of investment immigration in USA. As to the report by Forbes, in 2013 alone, Chinese rich has covered 80% among the investment immigration cases in USA. (from http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_5d8d68c10102efwl.html?tj=edu) It remains unknown how many Chinese change their nationalities among those immigrants but one thing is for sure, Chinese rich immigrants’ investment in USA make their future divorce (if there is any) a multinational issue as the investment in USA is out of the jurisdiction of Chinese law.

Apart from immigration, lots of Chinese rich people transfer the assets from China to USA to keep safe. Some Chinese private entity owners change their nationality to have a smooth IPO abroad. Lots of Chinese send their children abroad for higher education and the children get married abroad in compliance with foreign laws. All those situations make the future divorces globalized.

The wind is changing. China is now becoming a place with ever increasing attraction to foreigners. The recent main statistics published by the State Statistical Bureau about the registered foreigners and citizens from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan who accept survey during the sixth National Census show there are altogether 593,832 registered foreigners living in China and with citizens from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan included, there are altogether 1,020,145 non Chinese nationalities living in China. Among all the foreigners, the top three countries which have the largest number of citizens in China are South Korea 120,750; USA 71,493 and Japanese 65,159. (from http://www.phbang.cn/general/143570.html) The incomes the foreigners earn in China, the assets they invest in China and the marriage they register in China give their possible future divorce a foreign touch, thus complicate the situation.

So believe it or not, the divorce of China is becoming a global issue and as an attorney in China, I am looking forward to the future changes of Chinese Marriage Law to expand the jurisdiction over the assets outside of China, to strengthen the protection for exercise of china visitation right of the children from a foreign involved marriage and the enforcement of Chinese court’s judgment abroad.

 

 

 

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