Hague Service Convention and China: Serving California Divorce Papers

China is a signatory of the Hague Service Convention and allows international service of process under Article V of the treaty.

Getting a California divorce when your spouse lives in China

If you are trying to obtain a divorce in California, but your spouse lives in China, it will be necessary to obtain international service of process on your spouse through the Chinese government under the provisions of the Hague Service Convention. If you want assistance, we here at Ancillary Legal can help. We offer Hague Service Convention international service of process services if you need to serve California divorce papers in China. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation. We accept orders over the phone at (404) 459-8006 and via email.

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What is Service of Process?

The legal term “service of process” means the procedures for delivering copies of court papers to the person being sued (or, for this article, the spouse being divorced). The person or business being sued is typically called the “Defendant.” Under most legal rules, service of process means delivering the court papers personally to the Defendant. When the case is local, personal delivery of the court papers to the Defendant is often done by the local sheriff’s office or other local law enforcement. Many times, local service of process is done by a court-appointed company called a special process server.

What is international service of process?

When court papers must be served on a Defendant living in a foreign country, then the person suing must use international service of process. For most countries — including China — this means using the provisions of the Hague Service Convention (“HSC”). The HSC is an international treaty that sets out various agreed rules and procedures for delivering foreign court papers to a country’s citizens and residents. China is a signatory of the HSC and allows international service of process under Article V of the HSC.

How to serve California divorce papers in China

Like most countries who have signed the HSC, China has created a Central Authority to handle requests for international service of process. The Chinese Central Authority is part of the Ministry of Justice of China within its International Legal Cooperation Center. In brief, simplified terms, the process involves:

  • ● Translating the California divorce papers into simplified written Chinese
    ● Completing the HSC application request — HSC model forms can be found here; form must be signed by a court official or an attorney
    ● Wire transfer the appropriate fee — $95 as of the time of this article
    ● Send all the required translated California divorce papers along with the HSC application form
    ● Wait for the Chinese authorities to attempt international service of process — note that if the HSC service request application is not completed correctly or is incomplete, it will be returned; attempts at service can take anywhere from six months to a year
    ● Receive the completed “Proof of Service” returned from the Chinese authorities — the Proof of Service (if successful) will state the date on which service of the California divorce papers was made; if service of unsuccessful, the Proof of Service will state that
    ● File the Proof of Service with the local California divorce court

Let Ancillary Legal Handle Your International Service of Process – Hague Service Convention

For more information, contact Ancillary Legal at (404) 459-8006. We have the deep experience, staffing and resources to help you satisfy the requirements for proper and valid international service of process. We focus on litigation support domestically and internationally and can ensure that your time can stay focused on the substance of your matter and not procedural technicalities. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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