Sending your child to live in China
The “Foster Care Power of Attorney” (寄养儿童委托书) is one of our most commonly requested documents. This document is generally required by our clients who are originally from China and who want to send their child to live with someone else in China. In many cases, our clients have already obtained their Australian citizenship or permanent residence, their child was born in Australia, but they still have family (ie, parents) who live in China. Usually, our clients then rely on the Forster Care Power of Attorney to authorise their parents (the child’s grand parents) to care for their child while their child is living in China.
Although this may seem strange to many readers, not only is it fairly common within the Chinese community in our experience, but those clients who request it feel it’s important for them, for their child and for their family/parents. When we ask them why they want to send their child to live in China while they continue to live in Australia, the common responses are:
- This arrangements allows them to continue to work in Australia without having to make arrangements for a babysitter or child care.
- It is easier for their parents/family to look after the child in China than it is for their parents/family to come to Australia (ie, visa) or live in Australia.
- They want their child to spend time with their parents and family in China, again especially if it is difficult for their parents or family to travel or to obtain visas to come to Australia, or
- They want their child to be educated or at least start their education in China.
While there are obviously other issues such as visas and lengths of stay, those are not within our area of practice – our focus is primarily in terms of providing notary public services to satisfy the procedural and legal requirement for the legal paperwork.
We have prepared a commonly used form for the Foster Care Power of Attorney that has been accepted by the Chinese Consulate and in China (as far as we know so far).
This form must be signed by both parents of the child and both parents must provide their passport and the child’s birth certificate at the time of notarisation.
As part of our overall notary public services to our clients or the parents of the child, we assist with witnessing their signatures on the form and notarising the form in a way that is acceptable to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). We also assist with lodging the notarised documents with the DFAT for authentication and for authentication with the Chinese Consulate.
Occasionally, we are also asked to notarise supporting documents such as copies of our clients’ passports and the child’s birth certificate. We cannot advise clients whether the supporting documents are necessary and it is important for them to seek their own advice and direction from whoever they are appointing in China as to what they are expecting, or obtain advice from the Consulate. Whenever clients indicate that they also need those documents to be authenticated by DFAT and the Chinese Consulate, then we will normally arrange to do this all at the same time.
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Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a public notary. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a public notary and the kinds of issues faced by his clients in sending documents overseas.
All information contained in this article is for general purposes only and correct as at the time of publication. You should only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.
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