In divorce cases involving foreign relations, it is most times required to submit evidence and other documents to the court. These documents must be notarized and/or certified for validity.
Article 11 of the civil procedures law states that evidence that is provided by a party outside of China, must have it notarized and certified by the Chinese embassy in the host country or under certification provisions stated in the treaties between China and the foreign country. This includes materials provided by parties in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
Notarization is done in order to validate and confirm that any documents submitted are legal. Certification is to confirm that signatures and notary seals are authentic. The purpose of notarization and certification of case materials is so that they will be recognized by a foreign court and judicial department. These procedures do not affect the validity of the documents.
1. What circumstances require a notarization from abroad?
Article 66 of the civil procedures law states that all parties in a divorce lawsuit should appear in court; if one is not able to due to special circumstances, they must submit a written case to the court. The special circumstance in this article is when a Chinese citizen is not able to participate in proceedings in person because they are not in China. They may entrust a Chinese lawyer to submit relevant materials on their behalf. This includes power of attorney, indictments, divorce agreements, etc. All of the relevant documents must be notarized by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country they are located. If it is a foreign party, they will also have to go through notarization and certification.
2. Notarization and certification for foreigners
When one party in the divorce case is a foreign citizen, documents must be notarized and certified even if they are abroad. Materials such as identification and documents issued by foreign departments must be notarized by local notarial institutions or lawyers who are certified by the diplomatic department and finally the Chinese embassy or consulate located in the foreign country.
Since there are specific requirements and conditions regarding notarization and certification, foreign divorce lawyers must review the case to understand specific circumstance to best help the parties quickly.