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  1. #1

    Default Adding Mother's Name to Children's Chinese Middle Name > Immigration Threat

    My question involves name change laws in the State of: New Jersey

    My soon-to-be-ex-wife wants to add her last name to the children's middle name, but I see this as a potential child abduction opportunity and here's why:

    A Chinese name is typically 3 characters formatted as such: [Father's Family name] + [Given name part 1] + [Given name part 2]

    In my Asian-American experience, American born Chinese names are formatted as such:
    [English Given Name] + [Chinese Given name part 1] + [Chinese Given name part 2] + [Father's Family name]

    As part of our custody settlement, my wife wants to add her family name to the children's middle names so that it would read as such:
    [English Given] + [Chinese Given 1] + [Chinese Given 2] + [Mother's Family] + [Father's Family]

    My concern with agreeing to this is while the children's identities in English would be protected by the Hague Convention agreement against spousal international abduction, allowing the children to have essentially a full 3-character Chinese name legally included as part of their identities could somehow be misidentified in Chinese-speaking countries as their full legal name alone thereby misidentifying the children as fully hers and unrelated to me, and circumventing or greatly obfuscating the protections of the Hague Convention. My wife currently still maintains citizenship in a couple of those sovereignties, and one of the kids also does have one matching foreign citizenship, so the flight risk is real.

    This is a combination divorce law, family law, name change, immigration, and foreign immigration issue so I'm having a hard time finding an answer to this through any single expert.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Adding Mother's Name to Children's Chinese Middle Name > Immigration Threat

    Quote Quoting AsAmDivorce20
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    My question involves name change laws in the State of: New Jersey

    My soon-to-be-ex-wife wants to add her last name to the children's middle name, but I see this as a potential child abduction opportunity and here's why:

    A Chinese name is typically 3 characters formatted as such: [Father's Family name] + [Given name part 1] + [Given name part 2]

    In my Asian-American experience, American born Chinese names are formatted as such:
    [English Given Name] + [Chinese Given name part 1] + [Chinese Given name part 2] + [Father's Family name]

    As part of our custody settlement, my wife wants to add her family name to the children's middle names so that it would read as such:
    [English Given] + [Chinese Given 1] + [Chinese Given 2] + [Mother's Family] + [Father's Family]

    My concern with agreeing to this is while the children's identities in English would be protected by the Hague Convention agreement against spousal international abduction, allowing the children to have essentially a full 3-character Chinese name legally included as part of their identities could somehow be misidentified in Chinese-speaking countries as their full legal name alone thereby misidentifying the children as fully hers and unrelated to me, and circumventing or greatly obfuscating the protections of the Hague Convention. My wife currently still maintains citizenship in a couple of those sovereignties, and one of the kids also does have one matching foreign citizenship, so the flight risk is real.

    This is a combination divorce law, family law, name change, immigration, and foreign immigration issue so I'm having a hard time finding an answer to this through any single expert.
    I don't think that how the children's names read is going to effect the flight risk. If there is a flight risk its going to be there even if they were named kid1 and kid2. Rather than focusing on the children's names, you would be better focusing on minimizing flight risk. IE who is going to hold the children's passports and things of that nature. You also have to consider whether or not she would realistically attempt something like that. If she has no strong ties to the US, no career here, and clearly would prefer to return to China/Asia after the divorce, that is one thing. However, if she has a strong career here and lots of personal ties to the US, it could be an entirely different story.

    You absolutely do not have to agree to changing the children's names though. You can let her make a motion to the judge if she wants to take it that far, to see if the judge would be willing to order it over your objection. It's iffy that a judge would do it, but she might be able to make an argument that it would be in the children's best interest.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Adding Mother's Name to Children's Chinese Middle Name > Immigration Threat

    This is very sound advice and I appreciate it.

    There is new information.

    In a mediation meeting taking place after my original post, she actually stated her intention was to have Chinese documents drawn up in Chinese-speaking sovereignties using the version of the children's Chinese names that would replace my Chinese family name with hers. She assured us, without any proof or personal experience, that leaving my name in the English version of their names on the same documents would prevent any disassociation from their father.

    First, who knows if these documents will even be bilingual in nature. If said documents do not have a place to enter an English version of their names at all, then there is no relation evident to the father.

    Second, even on a bilingual document, if a Chinese court were examining custody, would they even consider the English version as equally valid as the Chinese version? When Chinese immigrants first came to America, the spelling of their English names were determined by the listener. That is why there is a Yung, Young, Yang, and Yeung that in Chinese is all actually the same character and name. Because of this, I would think a Chinese court would consider the English version of my children's names less valid.

    If my concerns are valid, then agreeing to the name change would create a pathway and loophole to abduct children "legally" as interpreted by a foreign government.

    As to minimizing flight risk, as a master of facades, she will maintain to a court that she has no intention of moving away. Without going into too much personal details, suffice to say that it is within her culture and upbringing to move away with the kids or even just move the kids away to live with her family while she works elsewhere. She's only had US Citizenship for a short couple of years as a result of our marriage. (She kept her maiden name FYI) Her statement of intention that she wants the kids names changed for legal Chinese documents smells a lot more than suspicious.

    What are my chances if she sued me for the name change?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,081

    Default Re: Adding Mother's Name to Children's Chinese Middle Name > Immigration Threat

    Quote Quoting AsAmDivorce20
    View Post
    This is very sound advice and I appreciate it.

    There is new information.

    In a mediation meeting taking place after my original post, she actually stated her intention was to have Chinese documents drawn up in Chinese-speaking sovereignties using the version of the children's Chinese names that would replace my Chinese family name with hers. She assured us, without any proof or personal experience, that leaving my name in the English version of their names on the same documents would prevent any disassociation from their father.

    First, who knows if these documents will even be bilingual in nature. If said documents do not have a place to enter an English version of their names at all, then there is no relation evident to the father.

    Second, even on a bilingual document, if a Chinese court were examining custody, would they even consider the English version as equally valid as the Chinese version? When Chinese immigrants first came to America, the spelling of their English names were determined by the listener. That is why there is a Yung, Young, Yang, and Yeung that in Chinese is all actually the same character and name. Because of this, I would think a Chinese court would consider the English version of my children's names less valid.

    If my concerns are valid, then agreeing to the name change would create a pathway and loophole to abduct children "legally" as interpreted by a foreign government.

    As to minimizing flight risk, as a master of facades, she will maintain to a court that she has no intention of moving away. Without going into too much personal details, suffice to say that it is within her culture and upbringing to move away with the kids or even just move the kids away to live with her family while she works elsewhere. She's only had US Citizenship for a short couple of years as a result of our marriage. (She kept her maiden name FYI) Her statement of intention that she wants the kids names changed for legal Chinese documents smells a lot more than suspicious.

    What are my chances if she sued me for the name change?
    Has she made any statement at all as to how or why it would be in the best interests of the children to make that kind of name change? That is something that she would have to demonstrate to the judge if she wants the judge to order it, over your objection.

    Your argument should be that the children are US citizens and have no need for legal Chinese documents, and certainly no need for them that does not include their full legal name. You also should make the argument that you believe that their mother is a flight risk and that have legal documents in Chinese just makes it easier for her to take the children and run.

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