Sunday, January 19, 2020

Child Relocation to Brazil, Mirror Orders and Homologized Orders

 by Jeremy D. Morley
 A court order rendered outside Brazil, that authorizes the relocation of a child to Brazil from the child's current place of residence subject to certain specified conditions concerning the ongoing custody and access rights of the non-relocating parent, is not normally enforceable in Brazil.  If the court order is not “homologized” in Brazil, the Brazilian courts will at best consider the foreign order as an item to consider in considering the best interests of the child under the principles of Brazilian law. Even if the foreign order is homologized in Brazil there is no guarantee that after the child has moved to Brazil the terms will remain in effect over time or, indeed, that they will actually be enforced.
Brazil
A “mirror order” is an order that is issued by a court in another jurisdiction which contains the same terms as those that are contained in the order that is being mirrored. Inherent in the mirror order concept is the fact that the foreign court shall have the right -- and more importantly the obligation -- to enforce the terms contained in the order, specifically including the obligation to effectuate the prompt return of the child at the end of a designated period of time. Equally critical is that the foreign court should not be permitted to modify the original order. Mirror orders are unavailable in Brazil.
A “homologized order” is a court order that has been approved or confirmed by another court. In the case of Brazil, such a procedure is available by means of an application to Brazil's Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça) through a procedure called “homologação de decisão estrangeira” (known colloquially as “HDE”).
The responsibility to obtain the homologized order should normally be given to the party who seeks to take a child to Brazil and the other party should be required to cooperate fully with the process. The process can take a few months to complete if both parties jointly present it to the Superior Court of Justice, or otherwise it will take far longer.
If the Superior Court court is satisfied that due process was followed in the foreign country and that there was no breach of Brazilian public policy, a Brazilian order will be issued that will recognize the foreign order. However, a foreign order will not be enforced if it is deemed to violate the public policy of Brazil. Article 17 of the Introduction Act to Brazilian Law Rules specifies that:
“Art. 17. The laws, acts and judgments of another country, as well as any declarations of will, will not be effective in Brazil, when they offend national sovereignty, public order and morality.”
The mere fact that a foreign custody order is homologized in Brazil does not guarantee that the order will remain in effect and unchanged over time. Brazilian courts will have jurisdiction to hear an application to modify any such order once the child has relocated to and is resident in Brazil. Under Brazilian law, child custody orders are not final orders and are always subject to modification whenever a court finds that there has been a change in family circumstances.
The normal rule in Brazil is that custody should be joint custody and that there is shared financial responsibility. Such issues can be revisited whenever a parent alleges a change of circumstances. If the Brazilian court determines that such a change has occurred since the date of the foreign court's determination, it is fully authorized to modify the foreign order as it deems appropriate, taking into consideration the child's best interest.
Based on our experience with custody cases in Brazil, and in light of the jurisprudence and practices of the courts in Brazil, it must be anticipated when a parent of Brazilian origin is permitted to relocate a child to Brazil subject to specific rights of continuing access and decision-making for the “left-behind” parent, those rights may well be modified by a Brazilian court  upon the application of the relocating parent. It is obvious that a child's circumstances will be dramatically affected by virtue of the relocation itself and the attendant changes in the child's that will inevitably result.
_____________________________
Jeremy D. Morley, a New York attorney, has provided expert evidence on the child custody laws and procedures of Brazil for courts in Australia, Canada, and the USA (California, Colorado and New Mexico).
He has gained extensive knowledge and experience concerning Brazilian family law matters from handling numerous family law cases concerning Brazil, from numerous consultations with Brazilian family lawyers concerning the laws and practices of Brazil, and from extensive research over many years concerning Brazilian family law. He has consulted with many clients concerning Brazilian family law, most particularly as to international child custody and international child abduction, always acting with and through lawyers in Brazil whenever appropriate. He has represented several clients whose children have been abducted to Brazil. Contact him at info@international-divorce.com
 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Child Visits to China

Change in China's Passport Regulations
By Jeremy D. Morley
We have long raised concerns that China does not recognize foreign child custody orders, is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (except for Hong Kong and Macau), is not a party to any bilateral treaties concerning international parental child abduction, and bars children with Chinese passports, including dual national children, from leaving China without the consent of both parents. https://www.international-divorce.com/d-china.htm
China 20flag
A parent's concerns about potential international child abduction to China must always be taken extremely seriously.
Such concerns are now magnified by reason of a recent and most significant change in the policy of Chinese consulates concerning the issuance of Chinese passports to the children of Chinese nationals.
Previously, both parents of a child were required to be present at a Chinese consulate in order for the consulate to issue a passport for their child. This served to ensure that one parent of a child could not unilaterally and covertly obtain a Chinese passport for the child without the knowledge or consent of the other parent.
However, the Chinese Consulate in Chicago has now stated that, for the purpose of convenience, it will now issue a child's passport to only one parent if that one parent brings the child to the Consulate.
In addition, the Consulate has liberalized the requirements for the renewal of a child's Chinese passport. Previously, both parents had to appear at the Consulate to obtain a renewal of a child's passport and they had to bring the same papers as were required for the initial passport application. Now, a renewal requires only one parent and significantly less paperwork.
It is important for family lawyers to recognize that United States courts have no power to control the issuance of passports and travel documents by other sovereign countries.
The easier that it is for a parent to obtain a foreign passport for a child, the greater the level of concern of possible international child abduction, especially because the United States has no exit controls.

Friday, January 10, 2020

PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS: HUNGARY

Prenuptial agreements are enforceable under Hungarian law, as are post-nuptial agreements. 
Hungary
Section 4.63(1)  of the Civil Code of Hungary provides that, “The function of the marriage contract is to permit the parties to the marriage or the spouses to define a property regime - in lieu of marital community of property - with a view to governing their property relationships during the marriage from the time specified in the agreement.  Subsection (2) provides that, “In the marriage contract the parties may define several different property regimes relating to certain specific assets, and they may even deviate from the rules on statutory and optional property regimes, if such deviation is not precluded by this Act.” For the validity of the prenuptial agreement as between the spouses themselves, the only requirement concerning form is that the agreement shall be an “authentic agreement” between the parties. For validity vis-à-vis third parties, the agreement should be recorded in the national register of marriage contracts.
The Hungarian Act on Private International Law (Article 28) authorizes the parties to choose the law that will apply to their matrimonial property rights. They may choose the law of the state of one party's nationality, the law of the state of one party's habitual residence, or the law of the court that will handle a divorce case.
The definition of a matrimonial property contract in the Civil Code does not include provisions concerning spousal support or child support.

Friday, December 06, 2019

STEP-BY-STEP ANALYSIS IN ANY HAGUE ABDUCTION CONVENTION CASE

by Jeremy D. Morley

The structure of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction requires a court in any case brought under the Convention to follow a step-by-step process in order to apply it logically and correctly. Those steps are as follows:
1.                  First, the court must determine when the removal or retention took place. It cannot determine the habitual residence of the child without first deciding the relevant date as of which the habitual residence must be determined.
2.                  The court must then determine the child's habitual residence immediately prior to that date.
3.                  It must then ascertain whether the Convention was in force, as of the date of the wrongful removal or retention, between the country of habitual residence and the United States.
4.                  Next, it must determine what rights the petitioner had at that time under the law of the child's habitual residence and whether or not those rights constitute “rights of custody” within the meaning of the Convention.
5.                  The court must then determine whether the petitioner was exercising those custody rights at the time of removal or retention.
6.                  It must determine whether the removal or retention breached those custody rights.
7.                  It must determine whether any exceptions to the Convention have been established.
8.                  If an exception is established, the court must determine whether to exercise its discretion to nonetheless return the child.
9.                  Next, if the child is to be returned to its country of habitual residence it must determine the conditions under which the return shall be made.
10.              Finally, if a petition is granted, it must determine the legal fees and expenses, if any, to be paid by the respondent.
An application under the Hague Abduction Convention may be made when a child is taken or retained across an international border, away from his or her habitual residence, without the consent of a parent who has rights of custody under the law of the habitual residence, if the two countries are parties to the Convention. The child must be promptly returned to the habitual residence unless the return will create a grave risk of harm to the child or another limited exception is established.
An attorney must be ready to file a Hague Convention application and institute or defend a Hague Convention lawsuit on extremely short notice.
Prompt action may be critical. The Convention specifically requires that hearings be conducted expeditiously. Indeed, it is recommended that Hague cases should be completely concluded within six weeks. A Hague case can theoretically be instituted more than a year after the abduction but a defense (or, more precisely, an exception) will then arise if the child has become settled in the new environment. In practice, the longer a child is in a new place the more likely it is that a court will be reluctant to send the child away.
Fast action by the left-behind parent is also necessary to help prevent a claim that the parent has acquiesced in the child's relocation, and to help to bolster a claim that the left-behind parent consented to the taking or retention in the first place.
Clients must move quickly to obtain the documents needed to file the initial application and then to collect the documents needed for the hearing. They should normally be asked to prepare a detailed family history and to assist the attorney to develop evidence as rapidly as possible.

Monday, November 18, 2019

TURKEY’S ONE-PARENT RULE


by Jeremy D. Morley

The Civil Code of Turkey (Article 336) expressly provides that, when parents divorce, only one parent may be given custody over their child to the complete exclusion of the other parent, either by agreement or by order of the court (Article 819, Turkey Civil Code). Parental authority includes both legal and physical custody.
The decision as to which parent will receive custody is based on a consideration of the best interests of the child, which may include a consideration of the employment, income and lifestyle circumstances of the respective parents. Usually the non-custodial parent will be awarded visitation.
In an important ruling in 2018, the Turkish Court of Cassation ruled (2017 / 2-3117 DECISION 2018/1278) that the views of a child of adequate maturity should be considered in an application to modify custody, in accordance with the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights.

The one-parent rule violates, I submit, the fundamental human rights of a child to have two parents in his or her life and of a parent to have his or her child in his or her life. It is also plainly contrary to the best interests of a child to be deprived arbitrarily and automatically of his fundamental right to be parented by two parents.

However, in Matter of Yaman, 167 N.H. 82, 105 A.3d 600 (2014), the Supreme Court of New Hampshire ruled that the Turkish sole custody law was not “the type of “egregious” or “utterly shocking” violation” of human rights that would preclude it from enforcing a Turkish custody order under the UCCJEA, especially because in that case the non-custodial parent had access rights..

Nonetheless In contrast, in recent years courts in Turkey have themselves declared that human rights laws require their courts to permit joint custody, at least in certain circumstances. In particular, since Turkey has adopted Protocol No. 7 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 5 of which provides that “Spouses shall enjoy equality of rights and responsibilities of a private law character between them, and in their relations with their children, as to marriage, during marriage and in the event of its dissolution,” the 2nd Chamber of the Court of Cassation upheld a joint court order concerning British parents. Whether that ruling had opened the door for joint custody rulings in Turkey remains to be seen.   


Friday, November 15, 2019

HONG KONG DIVORCE: JURISDICTION AND INCONVENIENCE

by Jeremy D. Morley

The courts of Hong Kong deal with large numbers of international divorce cases. Hong Kong has jurisdiction if certain specified conditions are fulfilled but it is important to understand that the courts may decline jurisdiction on the grounds of inconvenience in some cases. Read more...

Friday, November 08, 2019

NOTES ON LEBANON AND CHILD ABDUCTION

Jeremy D. Morley
Return of children abducted to or in Lebanon
  • Jeremy Morley has testified as an expert witness with respect to the laws and practices of Lebanon in respect of international child abduction to Lebanon, and his testimony has been accepted and relied upon.
  • There are extreme difficulties in returning a child to the United States from Lebanon when retained by a Lebanese parent.
  • Lebanon is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
  • There are no extradition treaties between Lebanon and the United States.
  • Under Lebanese law, Lebanese nationals may prevent their wives and children (even if they are American citizens) from leaving Lebanon.
  • Lebanon does not recognize international parental kidnapping as a crime.
  • Issues of child custody and divorce in Lebanon are generally decided in religious courts under religious law. Thus, if the father is a Sunni Muslim and the mother is a Christian the custody of their children will normally be decided by a Sunni Muslim court.
  • One might petition a civil court to handle a custody case instead of a religious court. The issue would be whether the religious court has jurisdiction. It could take up to two years to have the civil court assume jurisdiction and a minimum of four to five years to have the case decided.
  • For Sunni Muslims, the mother has physical custody of her children until they are 12 years old, and then they are to be in the physical custody of their fathers.
  • For Shia Muslims the mother's physical custody generally ends for boys at age 2 and for girls at age 7.
  • For Druze, the mother's physical custody generally ends for boys at age 12 and for girls at age 14.
  • For Christian Orthodox, mothers have custody of their daughters until the age of 15 and for sons until the age of 14.
  • For Protestants, mothers have custody of their daughters until the age of 12 and of sons until the age of 13.  
  • The Catholic Personal Status lawdoes not state a specific age but provides that mothers may nurse their babies until they are 2 years old.
  • If a father establishes that the mother is unfit or lacking good moral character, she will lose any right to the child. Muslim law requires a child to be raised in the Muslim faith, and if it were proven that a mother tried to raise the child as a Christian, she could be found unfit.
  • American/Lebanese dual nationals who carry Lebanese papers will be treated as Lebanese nationals by security authorities.
  • A child who is a dual American and Lebanese citizen would be bound by Lebanese law in the eyes of the Lebanese civil courts.
  • The U.S. State Department cannot offer any real assistance even if there were a United States court order directing the return of the child from Lebanon.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Japan’s One-Parent Rule

by Jeremy D. Morley
www.international-divorce.com
Japanese law provides only for sole custody. The Civil Code of Japan expressly and unambiguously provides that, when parents divorce, only one parent may be given parental authority over their child to the complete exclusion of the other parent, either by agreement or by order of the court (Article 819, Japan Civil Code). Parental authority includes both legal and physical custody. There is no system in Japan for divorced parents to share parental authority.

The effect of Japan’s one-parent rule is that the parent who does not have custody has no rights whatsoever in Japan to exercise any of the inherent rights of a parent. If both of a child’s parents are good parents but are unable to agree on custodial matters, Japanese law requires that one of the parents must automatically be stripped of all of his or her rights concerning the child (with the very limited exception of an extremely limited visitation right). The courts in Japan have no discretion in this regard. The one-parent rule is mandatory and totally inflexible.

On September 27, 2019 the Japanese Justice Ministry announced that it “will launch a study by the end of this year on whether to introduce a system of joint custody in Japan, where child custody is awarded to one parent after divorce” and that the panel will then spend “more than a year compiling a report.” However, it is far from clear that the necessary changes will be made, since the proposal to modify the law has already generated substantial opposition.

It is alien to Japanese tradition and Japanese law for a child’s parents to have any significant sharing of parental responsibility upon a family break-up. When parents separate in Japan, one parent invariably takes the child and the other parent largely or entirely disappears from the child’s life. It is an extension of the traditional Japanese custom that children belong to a family and can be registered on the official Japanese koseki (family register) of only one family. Thus, the one-parent rule is not merely the mandated law but it is also the societal norm. Indeed, it is considered entirely inappropriate in Japan for the parent who does not have custody of a child to interfere with family peace. and with the child’s best interests, by demanding more than occasional and extremely limited contact with a child. It is also considered to be entirely inappropriate for a Japanese court to interfere with family peace by taking any significant action against the parent who is in possession of a child except for suggesting and encouraging mediation or conciliation in the context of the rule that a child “belongs” to the one parent (and his or her family) that has custody of the child.

A significant reason for the one-parent rule, as well as the concomitant practice of drastically limiting child visitation, is to allow and encourage the custodial parent to establish a new family with a new spouse. It is common in Japan for a custodial parent’s new spouse to adopt a child from a prior marriage. Thus, if the noncustodial father has significant contact with his child, it would significantly hinder the mother’s opportunity to remarry, which would be considered in Japan to be unfair to both the mother and the child.

I have worked with Japanese counsel on several cases in which we tried to create a shared decision-making regime for children living in Japan, even when both parents agreed to continue living in Japan. Unfortunately, all such efforts were entirely unenforceable and unworkable, and all efforts to secure the meaningful intervention of the Japanese courts to enforce the terms of the parents’ prior stipulated orders proved entirely futile. 

Japan’s one-parent rule violates the fundamental human rights of a child to have two parents in his or her life and of a parent to have his or her child in his or her life. It is also plainly contrary to the best interests of a child to be deprived arbitrarily and automatically of his fundamental right to be parented by two parents.


Wednesday, October 02, 2019

New York Court Upholds Morley Testimony Concerning Japanese Family Law

Jeremy D. Morley

A New York court today, in a hotly contested case between Japanese parents living in New York, relied entirely on my expert evidence concerning Japanese family law and procedure in dismissing the application of one parent to relocate the parties’ Japanese children to Japan.

The court ruled that there was “overwhelming evidence” and “clear and convincing evidence” that Japanese laws and procedures would enable the taking parent to cut the left-behind parent off from the children.

Monday, September 23, 2019

American Mom Stuck Fighting for Her Daughter in Saudi Arabia


From People Magazine, September 21, 2019



Bethany Vierra’s daily routine begins at sunrise, when she gets up to make pancakes or scrambled eggs for her young daughter, Zaina, a curly haired 4-year-old. It’s the familiar prelude to happy hours of coloring, reading inside their apartment and swimming in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital.

But for Vierra — a Washington state native ensnared in a months-long custody battle for Zaina following an acrimonious split from her husband — each morning also begins a new day of dread.
At any moment, the 32-year-old yoga instructor could be made to surrender her daughter to the Saudi grandmother whom the little girl barely knows.
“Bethany and Zaina might never see each other again,” Kathi Vierra, Bethany’s mom, tells PEOPLE.
Kathi is frank when describing the case: “It’s gone on too long. It’s like that nightmare you keep having and you can’t get rid of.”
Divorced from Zaina’s father, a Saudi businessman, Bethany was recently judged too Western by a Saudi court to keep custody of her daughter. She was blamed for wearing her hair uncovered and for wearing a bikini while in the U.S., and the judge took issue with English — not Arabic — being Zaina’s first language, as a sign of her failure to assimilate. Bethany’s mother says that during the custody fight, Bethany’s ex also pointed to a Facebook photo of her doing a handstand and brought up the fact that she had attended Burning Man, which is reputed for its artistic and libertine atmosphere.
Still, Bethany’s ex-husband, 35-year-old Ghassan Alhaidari, did not receive custody either. Finding neither parent preferable, the judge instead ordered Zaina to be raised by her paternal grandmother — despite previous concerns from both Bethany and Alhaidari that the grandmother could be a damaging influence on the girl.
The judge cited the grandmother’s education and her high status. “Additionally,” he wrote, “the criticisms against [her] are not as strong as what was presented against the parents.”
The judge noted in his ruling that Alhaidari and his mother were living together but wrote that he did not expect that to continue, “knowing that it is in men’s nature not to stay at home and not honor/fulfill the parental role themselves.”
…..
More complicating still is that Bethany’s ex-husband is his mother’s own “guardian,” a State Department source says.
Bethany officially lost custody in July, but the court agreed that Zaina should remain with her during the appeal, the Vierra family says.
If the appeal goes against her, Bethany must relinquish Zaina to her former mother-in-law and seek permission in court to visit the child she has raised from infancy.
Although the judge cited Sharia (or Islamic) law in his multi-faceted ruling, Bethany does not cast fault on the country that is structured around conservative religious principles.
“Islamic law would protect my right as a mother and my daughter’s right to be in my care until she reaches the age of maturity,” Bethany says.
Nevertheless, in practice, Western women typically don’t retain custody of their children in Saudi Arabia, according to international family law expert Jeremy Morley. “I don’t know of any Western woman winning [full] custody of dual-national children in a Sharia court,” Morley says.
Even when she retains custody in Saudi Arabia, a Western mother does not have full rights regarding where her child lives. The State Department cautions that “in [a] Saudi Arabia divorce, Saudi courts rarely grant permission for the foreign parent to leave the country with the children born during the marriage, even if he or she has been granted physical custody.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Brazil’s Interpretation of the One-Year Period under Article 12, Hague Abduction Convention

by Jeremy D. Morley

Brazil has adopted an unusual interpretation of the one-year provision in Article 12 of the Hague Abduction Convention, which creates a significant trap for the unwary.

Article 12 of the Convention provides that if “the date of the commencement of the proceedings before the judicial or administrative authority of the Contracting State” where the child is located is more than one year from the date of the wrongful removal or retention, the authority concerned “shall order the return of the child, unless it is demonstrated that the child is now settled in its new environment.”

Courts have generally concluded that the relevant period ends on the date that a judicial proceeding for the child’s return is commenced and that the mere filing of an application with a Central Authority does not “stop the clock” for this purpose, unless the specific administrative tribunal itself has jurisdiction to issue a return order. Wojcik v. Wojcik, 959 F. Supp. 413 (E.D. Mich. 1997); V.B.M. v. D.L.J. [2004] N.J. No. 321; 2004 NLCA 56; Re M. (Abduction: Acquiescence) [1996] 1 FLR 315; Perrin v. Perrin 1994 SC 45, 1995 SLT 81, 1993 SCLR 949; Plonit v. Ploni,  Israel Family Appeal 548/04.

However, the Brazilian Central Authority states that Brazilian courts hold that the time period is tolled as soon as an application is received by the Central Authority in Brazil.

In its response to the HCCH questionnaire concerning the practical operation of the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Prel. Doc. No 2 of January 2017), the Brazilian Central Authority states that:

“The most impressive change on the Brazilian jurisprudence noticeable at least since 2013 is the consideration that the 1-year period of article 12 has its "ad quem" term not at the commencement of the judicial procedures, but at the moment that the file has been received at the Brazilian Central Authority. This scenario has a potential effect on reducing the number of cases where the allegation regarding the settlement of the child to his/her new environment is considered.”

The Brazilian claim that this will reduce the number of cases in which the issue is raised of whether or not a child is settled in its new environment is mistaken. Shortening the one-year period will obviously have exactly the opposite effect.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

NOTES ON LAWS AND PRACTICES OF CHINA

By Jeremy D. Morley
Wǔxīng Hóngqí ("Five-starred Red Flag")
1.                  China does not comply with international norms concerning the return of internationally abducted children.

2.                   China has failed to adopt the Hague Abduction Convention and has failed to enter into any bilateral arrangement with the United States to return abducted children.
3.                  There can be no extradition from China for international child abduction, since there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and China.
4.                  In most cases, a left-behind parent’s only potential remedy if a child is taken to and wrongfully retained in China is to search for the child him / herself, while seeking the assistance of the Chinese police, and then, if the child is successfully located, to initiate a new plenary case for custody of the Child in China. However, it is often relatively easy for abducting parents to conceal their location with a child in China for extensive periods of time. Child kidnapping is rampant in China.
5.                  The Chinese courts generally refuse to handle family cases concerning foreigners or concerning parties who are not registered as domiciled in China. 
6.                  The courts in China are not required to enforce foreign custody orders and they do not do so. There is no system in China to register foreign custody orders or enforce foreign custody orders. China has entered into treaties with some countries concerning the enforcement of commercial judgments, but they do not extend to family matters.
7.                  There is no law in China similar to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act in the United States concerning the recognition of the continuing and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of another country. The U.S. system whereby a court retains exclusive modification jurisdiction even after a child has become habitually resident in another country is alien to China.
8.                  Any court proceeding in China concerning custody of or access to an abducted child will likely be unpredictable and difficult.
9.                  China does not have any legal mechanism to apply for or issue urgent or emergency orders in family law cases.
10.              It is usual in China for the custody of a child to be awarded to one parent only.
11.              Visitation rights are extremely limited in China, typically being limited to a daytime visit once a month. There is no precedent for any equal sharing of custodial time or for the issuance of a detailed time-sharing arrangement that would provide for the non-residential parent to spend substantial periods of time with the child.
12.              It would be unprecedented for a Chinese court to order that a child should be relocated to a foreign country. Nor is there any realistic likelihood that a Chinese court would compel a Chinese parent to allow permit the Mother to have any visitation outside China.
13.              It is difficult to enforce child custody orders issued by a Chinese court. The enforcement procedures that exist in China can easily be thwarted, so that enforcement can easily be delayed for extended periods of time or permanently. It is a fundamental principle of Chinese law and culture that the state should not normally interfere in private family life.
14.              Judges in China are not independent. They are state employees responsible to the Chinese Communist Party. In 2017 the President of China’s Supreme People’s Court denounced judicial independence as a false Western idea and insisted that the Chinese judiciary is subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party.
15.              There is a high level of corruption in the Chinese legal system. The U.S. State Department reliably and authoritatively reports that in China, “[c]orruption often influenced court decisions, since safeguards against judicial corruption were vague and poorly enforced. Local governments appointed and paid local court judges and, as a result, often exerted influence over the rulings of those judges.”
16.              Courts in England and in Hong Kong have confirmed that foreign custody orders are unenforceable in China and that cross-border child abduction into China is without any meaningful remedy.
17.              If a parent abducts a child to China and retains the child in China, the left-behind parent will normally have grave difficulty in enforcing any rights concerning the child.