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  • Writer's pictureAvon Y.F. Zhao

Costs Involved in Divorce for Foreigners in China

Foreign individuals seeking a divorce through Chinese courts may encounter specific costs associated with the legal process. These costs encompass not only legal service fees but also expenses related to litigation procedures. Some fees may be refunded under certain circumstances, while most are borne by the applicant. The following outlines the types of costs to consider for foreigners going through a divorce in China.

cost in divorce

Legal Fees:

According to the relevant provisions of the Chinese Civil Procedure Law, foreign entities must hire Chinese lawyer(s) as their representative when engaging in litigation in China. Legal fees vary based on the complexity of the case, the lawyer's professional level and experience, and the amount of property in dispute.

Lawyers typically charge in several ways: fixed fees, hourly rates, contingency fees, or a combination of these. However, in cases such as marriage and inheritance, contingency fees are generally not allowed.

Litigation Costs:

If a divorce case requires resolution through the courts, foreigners must pay litigation fees, which may include case acceptance fees and property preservation fees. These fees depend on the value of the subject matter of the case.

If property division within Chinese territory is involved in the divorce case, the value of the property to be divided must be assessed. In cases of significant dispute between the parties, the court's effective judgment will determine which party bears the litigation costs or the proportion each party bears. If the case is settled through mediation or withdrawn, the court will refund half of the litigation fees.

Notarization and Authentication Costs:

Documents such as identity proof and marital status proof for foreigners may need to be notarized and authenticated both within and outside China, incurring certain costs.

Translation Fees:

All documents not in Chinese must be translated into Chinese for use in Chinese courts. Foreigners may need to hire professional translation services, incurring additional costs.

Insurance Costs:

If the divorce case requires the preservation (freezing, sealing, etc.) of assets to be divided, not only must property preservation fees be paid to the court, but also insurance fees must be paid to the insurance institution that issues the litigation guarantee policy. Without a guarantee, the court generally will not agree to the application for property preservation.

Travel Expenses:

For divorce cases, the court generally requires the parties to the divorce to attend the trial in person. Therefore, foreigners may need to travel to China multiple times to handle divorce matters, incurring travel and accommodation expenses. Additionally, the lawyer's appearance in court will also generate certain travel expenses.

Other Related Costs:

Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, there may be other costs, such as courier fees, investigation fees, etc.

It is important to note that the costs for foreigners to divorce in China can vary greatly depending on the specifics of each case. It is recommended that foreigners consult with professional lawyers when facing divorce issues to understand the detailed cost situation and possible solutions.


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