1:I am an American. My parents left a house which located in mainland China for my brother and me in will. Is this will valid in China?

According to Article 33 of Law of The People’s Republic of China on the Laws Applicable to Foreign-related Civil Relations, if your parents resided in the United States when they made the will or when they passed away, or they are American citizens, the validity of the will shall be judged under American law. If the will is valid under American law, it will be recognized by China after notarization and authentication.

3:If the will is valid and we intend to inherit  the house according to it, what should we do?

The inheritance of real estate within China by foreigners shall be governed by Chinese law. In China, the main ways of inheriting heritage are direct registration through negotiation, notarization and litigation. If you have a valid will, you can inherit the house through notarization or direct registration. In practice,  different city may has different procedures and requirements for direct registration and notarization. There is also a possibility that you cannot inherit the house through direct registration or notarization. Then you have to file a lawsuit to inherit the house. 

2:If the will is invalid, how to inherit the property in China?

According to PRC law, if the will is invalid and there is no legacy or other ways of inheritance, statutory succession shall apply. Spouse, children and parents are the first in line heirs and shall inherit in equal shares. So you and your brother can each get half of the property.

4:What if my parents also left some movable properties like cash, stock and furniture in China, how to deal with these properties? Can I inherit them?

According to Article 36 of  PRC Law of Succession, "For inheritance by a foreigner of an estate within the People's Republic of China or of an estate of a Chinese citizen outside the People's Republic of China, the law of the place of domicile of the decedent shall apply in the case of movable property; in the case of immovable property, the law of the place where the property is located shall apply." Therefore, if your parents resided in China when they passed away, the Chinese law shall apply, you can inherit the property through notarization with a valid will. If your parents resided in the United States when they passed away, American law shall apply as to the inheritance of those movable properties. 

1:A Chinese citizen married a non-Chinese citizen and registered their marriage outside of China, only one side of which currently live in China. Whether the said couple can divorce in China via a suit?

According the regulation of General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China , the court at the place of residence of the side of couple living in China shall has the jurisdiction of the said divorce case.

3:A Chinese citizen married a non-Chinese citizen and registered their marriage outside of China. Whether the effectiveness of the said registration of marriage can be recognized in China ?

The effectiveness of the said registration of marriage could be verified  in China, and thus relevant information of marriage on Chinese household registration permit could be changed.

5:What will happen if the defendant of a divorce case can not appear in the court during the proceeding?

Where a party to a divorce case has appointed a litigation representative, the party shall still appear in court unless the party is unable to express his or her ideas; and if the party is unable to appear in court under special circumstances, the party must submit a written opinion to the people's court.

2:A Chinese citizen married a non-Chinese citizen and registered their marriage outside of China, none of which currently live in China. Whether the said couple can divorce in China via a suit?

The couple shall firstly fire a divorce lawsuit to court in the foreign country the couple live in. If the said court refuses to accept this divorce case and the couple thus fire a lawsuit for their divorce in China, then the court at the place of habitual residence or last residence of the couple among China will have the jurisdiction.

4:Wether the marriage between non-Chinese citizens can be registered in China?

It is impossible for the said marriage without Chinese citizen to be registered in China. 

6:any alimony available for one spouse from the other?

This is a big issue and could be the decisive factor in choosing the proper forum for divorce litigation. Unfortunately, China law doesn’t provide for alimony in divorce proceedings. The lack of this alimony provision is probably grounded on the fact that wife are entitled to at least half of the community properties, and thus there is no need to go further to protect the often weak party, the wife. 

1:How to obtain child custody in a divorce?

Under Chinese legal system, child custody could either be decided by an agreement between the divorcing couple or by the court

3:In the case of the couple divorcing in foreign countries, whether the agreement on child custody made outside of China could be effective in Chinese jurisdiction?

Under Chinese legal system, child custody could either be decided by an agreement between the divorcing couple or by the court

5:Is it possible for parents to reach an agreement that each side has the right to take care of the child in turn?

In accordance with relevant judicial practice, it could be accepted by Chinese legal system that each side of the parent agrees to take care of their child in turn, under the principle of protecting the best benefits of child.

2:After the ex-husband or ex-wife has been granted with full child custody, does the other side still has the right to fight for the child custody?

Under Chinese jurisdiction, the other side without child custody still has the chance to file a case for child custody.

4:If the couple has not registered marriage in China, how could the agreement reached by this couple be effective under Chinese jurisdiction?

Under Chinese legal system, child custody could either be decided by an agreement between the divorcing couple or by the court

6:Whether the fact that it is the grandparents who take the daily care of the child would be considered in the judgment of child custody?

The availability of grandparents who are able to assist in the daily care of the child would be the priority taken into the decision of child custody, in the case when both of the parents demand to live with  the child and have similar conditions offering to the child.

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