Sunday, July 24, 2011

Expert testimony: Chinese Family Law and Potential International Child Abduction to China

In what the Court described as a “very difficult case” between two Chinese parents living in Georgia -- one of whom (the child’s mother) faces deportation to China for lack of an immigration visa and had asked the Court to give custody of the parties’ child to her and to authorize her to relocate the child to China – the Court relied upon my expert testimony as to Chinese law and practice concerning child custody and child abduction in cases of an international dimension. Zhang v. Zhang, DeKalb County Superior Court, 7-14-11.

The Court twice stated that it was giving “great weight” to my testimony.

Thus it stated that, “from what the Court has heard from Mr. Morley, whom the Court has given great weight” and “I have to also balance that with the facts presented by the defense by Mr. Morley -- who the Court gives great weight to his testimony –.”

The ultimate decision gave custody to the father in the United States and followed my suggestion that any visitation with the mother outside the United States should be in a country such as Singapore or Hong Kong with a reliable legal system and which was a party to the Hague Abduction Convention.

The case shows that those countries who have not signed the Hague Convention on child abduction and who do not have an independent and reliable family law system are rendering a grave disservice to their own citizens.

Since the Chinese legal system cannot be trusted to return internationally abducted children, Chinese nationals who reside with their children outside China should normally not be permitted to take their children to visit China if the potentially left-behind parent objects.