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Chinese Family Law Review of Child Custody

A major shakeup of family law is currently occurring in China where a new proposal calls for a review of child custody procedures after the death of one parent. This proposal has been sparked by an even which happened in 2008. The Chinese actress Choi Jin-sil had sole custody of her two male children. In 2008 she committed suicide. Jun-sil's mother did not want the boys' father to gain custody of the children insisting that he was no more able to care for them when he had been denied any custody previously. This sparked a review of child custody cases in China if the parent with sole custody dies.

At present, there are no regulations for who will take care of the child after the parent with sole custody passes away. However, that is all about to change. On Tuesday February 2nd a revision to the law which states that the surviving parent must be evaluated by the court before they are granted full custody was passed in the Cabinet. After it has been ratified by the National Assembly it will come into effect three months from that date.

If the National Assembly does ratify the review to the family law, it means that any parent who wants to take on custody of their child will be evaluated by the court to ascertain their ability to do so. If they are judged to be unfit for any reason, the child will move into the custody of a different legal guardian. This will be a close relative if possible or someone that the child knows and trusts. It has not been made clear who will gain custody of the child if the surviving parent is denied custody and there are no other alternative guardians.

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