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Divorce even more of a mess for foreigners

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

11:02, May 02, 2012

Liu Li, a judge with Aoyuncun court in Chaoyang district of Beijing, explains the court's simultaneous interpretation room. Zhang Wei / China Daily

As more foreigners come to Beijing to work, more of them are getting married - and divorced.

And that's leading to long delays in the courtroom.

Aoyuncun court, which has handled most legal disputes involving foreigners in the capital since April 2009, regularly has to track down husbands and wives living overseas.

Add to that the constant delays as legal documents are sent back and forth across borders.

Liu Li, one of the court's judges, said she has been hearing one particular case for more than two years.

"The defendant is a United States citizen who has no residence in China, so we have to send the legal documents to his home in the US," she said.

The documents have been sent to the defendant before, but he lodged a disagreement on jurisdiction and, as a result, they were sent back to Beijing.

"We overruled his dissent and thought there was no problem of jurisdiction. So we had to serve the case again in the US," Liu said. "This service costs us too much time and has become our biggest trouble."

Aoyuncun court, affiliated to Chaoyang district people's court, has tried 385 cases involving foreigners.

So far the court has handled 87 divorce disputes - top among foreign-related civil cases, followed by house purchases and loan conflicts.

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