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Family Affairs

▍Introduction to the Legal System for Family Matters

Family matters deal with disputes between people who have a certain kinship relationship due to living together, ties of blood and affections, inheritance, etc. The relationship, affections, and rights and obligations of raising minor children between or among the parties usually do not come to an end resulting from the closing of the judicial process. Therefore, compared with the general disputes over civil property rights, family matters possess different characteristics. Not only do they require legal experts to judge or exercise discretion appropriately on whether the legal facts satisfying the elements in the substantive law, but they also need to be treated properly in social, psychological or affectional respects.

The Family Act, the legislation promulgated on January 11, 2012, combines the existing personal litigation procedure, family non-contentious procedure and family mediation procedure, and adds the part of securing the performance and enforcement, so as to resolve and integrate family disputes and other related family matters more properly and efficiently, as well as to take into account the best interests of the children and family harmony.

The brief introduction to the characteristics of the system is as follows:

▍1. Professional Treatment

Family matters shall be handled by the juvenile and family court or the family division in the district court. The personnel such as judges, the guardian ad litem or mediators handling family matters shall be equipped with the professional competence in the awareness of gender equality, understanding of power and control issues, respect for multiculturalism and knowledge related to dealing with family matters. (Article 2, Article 8, Article 16 and Article 32 of the Family Act)

▍2. Private Hearing

In order to protect family privacy and reputation, court audience shall, in principle, not be permitted at the hearing in family matters. (Article 9 of the Family Act)

▍3. Doctrine of Ex Officio

Considering that family matters concern identity and public welfare, in order that the court adjudication shall be in line with the facts and protect the interested third parties, and to facilitate the integration of handling family disputes, the court may investigate the evidence on its own initiative, adopting the doctrine of ex officio. (Article 10 of the Family Act)

▍4. Accompanied by Social Workers

If the court considers it necessary, it shall notify the professional with a background in social workers to accompany the minor child, the person who is subject to the order of the commencement of guardianship or assistantship, to express his or her will and make a statement in court so to stabilize his or her emotions, allowing the expression of his or her true intentions. (Article 11 of the Family Act)

▍5. Guardian Ad Litem

It is to select the professional to act in the proceeding on behalf of the party who is in lack or insufficiency of the capacity to represent himself or herself, so as to serve as a bridge to communicate with the court and to protect the party's substantive interests and procedural interests. (Article 15 and Article 16 of the Family Act)

▍6. Family Matter Investigation Officer

The officer is to investigate, provide opinions, assist in understanding issues and find out the facts on specific matters with the professional knowledge and skills such as in social workers, education, psychology and counseling. (Article 18 of the Family Act)

▍7. Preceding Procedure of and Joining for Mediation

Family matters often involve sentiments and affections. If the parties can handle their own disputes rationally and peacefully, it would be better off than court adjudications. Therefore, the Family Act stipulates that all family matters, in principle, shall be resolved through mediation by the court first, or joined for the mediation. After entering into the litigation or non-contentious proceeding, the judge may also transfer the matter for the mediation. (Article 23, Article 26, Article 29, etc. of the Family Act)

▍8. Joinder Trial

Family litigations and family non-contentious matters involving the same basic facts (such as requesting divorce, and requesting alimony together with the determination on guardianship over minor children and maintenance fees at the same time) may be requested to be jointly tried and adjudicated by the court. (Articles 41 to 44, Article 79 of the Family Act; Articles 61 to 65, Article 85 of the Trial Rules for Family Matters, etc.)

▍9. Remote Video Proceedings

In case that the party, witness or the appraiser is unable to attend the court hearing due to reasons such as distance or traffic conditions, the court may, upon request and when considering it necessary, conduct the proceedings via the Internet video apparatus. (Article 12 of the Family Act, the Operational Rules for Interrogation, Hearing and Document Transmission via Remote Video by the Court in Handling Family Matters)

▍10. Injunction System

During the trial of family non-contentious matters, the court may, when considering it necessary or urgent, render a ruling of injunction ordering one of the related parties to pay in advance the tuition with incidental fees and medical expenses urgently in need, or prohibiting the taking of the child out of the country. (Articles 89 to 91 of the Family Act; Articles 91 to 93 of the Trial Rules for Family Matters; and the Rules Governing the Types and Methods of Injunctions in Family Non-contentious Matters) 

▍11. Special Protection for Minor Children’s Right to Participate

Minor children may be assisted by an expert in child or adolescent psychology or in other relevant fields in order for them to genuinely express their wills, and they may also state their opinions outside the court room. (Article 108 of the Family Act)

▍12. Urge for and Investigation on Performance

After obtaining the writ of execution (including the adjudication of the case at issue, the settlement record, and the mediation record), the creditor in family matters may, in addition to the motion for compulsory enforcement, also file a motion to the court for investigating the status of performing the obligation by the debtor, as well as for urging the debtor to perform the obligation. (Articles 187 and Article 188 of the Family Act; Articles 163 to 166 of the Trial Rules for Family Matters)

▍13. Special Provisions on the Compulsory Enforcement of Adjudications in          Family Matters

(1) When conducting the compulsory enforcement of claims of maintenance, the enforcement fees may be temporarily exempted until being deducted from the proceeds of the enforcement; payments to be made on the regular basis or in installments for living expenses of the household, maintenance or alimony, in which one payment or installment is performed incompletely, the remaining payments or installments that have not yet become due may nonetheless be enforceable upon petition; It is also possible to petition the court for a ruling ordering the debtor to make payments timely on schedule, and to pay the mandatory fund to the creditor if such payments are not performed timely on schedule. The claim of the maintenance for the minor child may be compulsorily enforced upon the social welfare allowance, social relief fund or subsidy received by the debtor. (Articles 189 to 193 of the Family Act)

(2) When a writ of execution concerns ordering the handing over of the child, meeting and communicating with the child, it shall take into account the best interest of the child. When adopting the direct compulsory enforcement, it is necessary to formulate an implementation plan, ask the relevant units and personnel for assistance, and pay attention to the safety, personal freedom and dignity of the minor child. (Articles 194 and Article 195 of the Family Act)

14. Family matters system brochures, pleading examples for Chinese and foreign languages comparison 

  • Release Date : 2019-11-13
  • Update : 2021-07-09