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Service of Process in International Family Law

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2015 | International Family Law

Tonight’s post was written by our Atlanta divorce and International Family Law attorney, Dina Khismatulina.

In our Atlanta office, we have a huge map with lots and lots of pins that represent places where we have been engaged in International Family Law trials or had a direct impact on that place with our International Family Law clients. With pins from Toronto to Tokyo, from Berlin to Beijing and from Caracas to Cairo, we are always excited to add a new pin to our collection.

The Manely Firm is famous for its commitment to and success in serving clients from all over the world. While the international component complicates cases, we at the Manely Firm welcomen opportunitiwa to help our clients to overcome this challenge and these obstacles.

International service of process is a great example that can illustrate how a simple process that takes couple of days and $50.00 dollars in the United States could be drastically different, difficult and costly when you are dealing with a foreign country.

For example, we have often been called upon to perfect service in China upon Chinese citizens, who are a party to litigation in the U.S., but reside in China.

Under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-4(f)(3), unless otherwise provided by law, service upon a person from whom a waiver has not been obtain and filed, maybe be effected in a place not within the United States by any internationally agreed means reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those means authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents.

Even though China ratified the Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters of November 15, 1965, it objected to any other means of process service other than official service through Chinese Central Authority.

In order to serve a Chinese citizen or entity in China, a full set of documents translated to Chinese has to be provided along with the government fee to their Central Authority. Translation to Chinese is very expensive and, in conjunction with the government fees, such process service can easily exceed several hundred dollars. There are a number of companies that specialize in applying for process service in China, but such service would cost an additional six to seven hundred dollars. Even if all the documents are done correctly, the service can take anywhere from six month to a year.

If you are applying on your own, you will quickly learn that the process is not user friendly as the Central Authority in China will not provide any help or updates. I bet that the Chinese Central Authority would make you appreciate Sheriff’s departments all over the United States even more.

Though international cases require a lot of research and “know how” we have acquired over these many years, we treasure our clients from all over the world and are always looking forward to adding another shiny pin to our office map.

Stop by and see it some time.  It’s really quite impressive.

Dina Khismatulina