Marriage and Family Law
Article 1. Missions and scope of application of the Marriage and Family Law
The Marriage and Family Law has the missions to contribute to building, perfecting and protecting the progressive marriage and family regime, formulate legal standards for the conducts of family members; protect the legitimate rights and interests of family members; inherit and promote the fine ethical traditions of the Vietnamese families in order to build prosperous, equal, progressive, happy and lasting families.
The Marriage and Family Law provides for the marriage and family regime, responsibilities of citizens, the State and society in the building and consolidation of the Vietnamese marriage and family regime.
Article 2. Basic principles of the marriage and family regime
1. Voluntary, progressive and monogamous marriage in which husband and wife are equal.
2. Marriage between Vietnamese citizens of different nationalities and/or different religions, between religious and non-religious people, and between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners is respected and protected by law.
3. Husband and wife are obliged to implement the population and family planning policy.
4. Parents are obliged to bring up their children into citizens useful for the society; children are obliged to respect, care for and support their parents; grand-children are obliged to respect, care for and support their grandparents; family members are obliged look after, care for and help one another.
5. The State and society shall not accept the discrimination among children, between sons and daughters, between biological and adopted children, between in-wedlock and out-of-wedlock children.
6. The State, society and families have the duty to protect women and children, and help mothers to well fulfill their lofty motherhood functions.
Article 3. The State’ and society’s responsibilities for marriage and family
1. The State adopts policies and measures to create conditions for male and female citizens to establish voluntary and progressive marriage and for families to fulfill their functions; intensify the dissemination and popularization of the marriage and family legislation; mobilize people to abolish backward customs and practices related to marriage and family, promote fine traditions, customs and practices embodying the identity of each nationality; build up progressive marriage and family relations.
2. Agencies and organizations have the duty to educate and mobilize their officials, employees and members as well as every citizen to build cultural families; provide counseling on marriage and family; reconcile family discords in time, protect the legitimate rights and interests of the family members.
3. Schools shall coordinate with families in educating, disseminating and popularizing the marriage and family legislation among the young generations.
Article 4. Protection of the marriage and family regime
1. Marriage and family relations conforming to this Law are respected and protected by law.
2. Underage marriage, forcing marriage, hindering voluntary and progressive marriage, feigned marriage, deceiving other persons into marriage or divorce; forcing divorce, feigned divorce; property demand for wedding are all forbidden.
A married person is forbidden to marry or live with another person as husband or wife and an unmarried person is forbidden to marry or live with a married person as husband or wife.
Ill-treatment and persecution against grandparents, parents, spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings or other family members are forbidden.
3. All acts of violating the marriage and family legislation must be handled promptly, strictly and in accordance with law.
Agencies, organizations and individuals have the right to request the Court or other competent bodies to take measures to promptly stop and severely handle those who commit acts of violating the marriage and family legislation.
Article 5. Application of the provisions of the Civil Code
The Civil Code’s provisions related to the marriage and family relations shall be applicable to the marriage and family relations in cases where the marriage and family legislation has no relevant provisions.
Article 6. Application of marriage and family-related customs and practices
In marriage and family relations, the customs and practices embodying the identity of each nationality and not running counter to the principles laid down in this Law are respected and promoted.
Article 7. Application of the marriage and family legislation to the marriage and family relations involving foreign elements
1. The provisions of the marriage and family legislation of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam shall be applicable to the marriage and family relations involving foreign elements, except otherwise provided for by this Law.
2. Where an international agreement which the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam has signed or acceded to contains provisions different from this Law’s provisions, the provisions of such international agreement shall apply.
Article 8. Interpretation of terms
In this Law the following terms are construed as follows:
1. The marriage and family regime means the entire law provisions on marriage, divorce, obligations and rights between wives and husbands, parents and children, and among other family members, support, determination of parents, biological children, adopted children and guardians, marriage and family relations involving foreign elements and other matters related to marriage and family;
2. Getting married is an act whereby a man and a woman establish the husband and wife relation according to the law provisions regarding conditions for getting married and marriage registration;
3. Illegal marriage means the establishment of husband and wife relation by a man and a woman who have registered their marriage but breach the marriage conditions prescribed by law;
4. Underage marriage means getting married when one or both marriage partners have not reached the marriage age prescribed by law.
5. Forcing marriage is an act of forcing other persons to get married against their will;
6. Marriage means the relationship between husband and wife after getting married;
7. Marriage period means the duration of time when the husband and wife relationship exists, counting from the date of marriage registration till the date of marriage termination;
8. Divorce means the termination of husband and wife relationship, which is recognized or decided by the Court at the request of either spouse or both.
9. Forcing divorce is an act of forcing other persons to divorce against their will;
10. Family means a group of persons closely bound together by marriage, blood ties or rearing relations, thus giving rise to obligations and rights among these persons according to the provisions of this Law;
11. Support means an act whereby a person has the obligation to contribute money or other kinds of property to meet the essential needs of another person not cohabiting but having marriage, blood or rearing relations with him/her in cases where the latter is a minor or an adult who has no working capacity and no property to support himself/herself, or who meets with economic difficulties, as prescribed by this Law;
12. People of the same direct blood line are parents with respect to their children; grandparents with respect to their grandchildren;
13. Relatives within three generations means people born of the same stock: parents constituting the first generation; siblings of the same parents, of the same father but different mothers, of the same mother but different fathers constituting the second generation; children of uncles and aunts constituting the third generation;
14. Marriage and family relations involving foreign elements are marriage and family relations between:
a/ Vietnamese citizens and foreigners;
b/ Foreigners permanently residing in Việt Nam;
c/ Vietnamese citizens but the bases for establishing, changing or terminating such relations are governed by the law of a foreign country or the property related to such relations is located abroad.
Article 9. Conditions for getting married
A man and a woman wishing to marry each other must satisfy the following conditions:
1. The man has reached the age of twenty or over, the woman has reached the age of eighteen or over;
2. The marriage is voluntarily decided by the man and the woman; neither partner is allowed to force or deceive the other; nobody is allowed to force or obstruct their marriage;
3. The marriage does not fall into one of the circumstances where marriage is forbidden as prescribed in Article 10 of this Law.
Article 10. Circumstances where marriage is forbidden
Marriage is forbidden in the following circumstances:
1. Married people;
2. People who have lost their civil act capacity;
3. Between people of the same direct blood line; between relatives within three generations;
4. Between adoptive parents and adopted children; between former adoptive parents and former adopted children; between fathers-in-law and daughters-in-law, mothers-in-law and sons-in-law, stepfathers and stepchildren, stepmothers and stepchildren;
5. Between people of the same sex.
Article 11. Marriage registration
1. Marriage must be registered with the competent State bodies (hereinafter called marriage registration offices) according to the proceedings prescribed in Article 14 of this Law.
Any marriage proceedings at variance with the provisions in Article 14 of this Law shall not be legally valid.
Man and woman who fail to register their marriage but live together as husband and wife shall not be recognized by law as husband and wife.
Divorced husband and wife wishing to remarry each other must also register their remarriage.
2. The Government shall stipulate the marriage registration in remote and deep-lying areas.
Article 12. Competence to register marriage
The People’s Committees of communes, wards or townships where either of the marriage partners resides are the marriage registration offices.
The overseas Vietnamese diplomatic missions or consulates are the offices registering marriage between Vietnamese citizens living abroad.
Article 13. Handling of marriage registration
1. After receiving complete and valid documents according to the civil status legislation, the marriage registration offices check the marriage registration dossiers; if deeming that both the male and female partners to the marriage are eligible for marriage, the marriage registration offices shall organize the marriage registration.
2. Where either or both marriage partners fail to fully meet the marriage conditions, the marriage registration office shall decline to register and clearly explain in writing the reasons therefor; if the people whose application for marriage registration is rejected disagree, they may lodge their complaints according to the provisions of law.
Article 14. Organization of marriage registration
Marriage registration must be organized in the presence of both male and female partners. A representative of the marriage registration office first asks the two partners about their wish for voluntary marriage, if they agree to marry each other, the representative of the marriage registration office shall hand the marriage certificate to them.
Article 15. People entitled to request the annulment of illegal marriages
1. The partner who is forced or deceived into marriage has the right, as prescribed by the civil procedure legislation, to request by himself/herself the Court or propose the Procuracy to request the Court to annul the illegal marriage due to violation of the provisions in Clause 2, Article 9 of this Law.
2. The Procuracy has the right, as prescribed by the civil procedure legislation, to request the Court to annul illegal marriages due to violation of the provisions in Clause 1, Article 9 and Article 10 of this Law.
3. The following individuals, agencies and organizations have the right, as prescribed by the civil procedure legislation, to request by themselves the Court or propose the Procuracy to request the Court to annul illegal marriages due to violation of the provisions in Clause 1, Article 9 and Article 10 of this Law:
a/ Spouses, parents or children of the marriage partners;
b/ The child protection and care committees;
c/ The women’s unions.
4. Other individuals, agencies and organizations have the right to propose the Procuracy to consider and request the Court to annul illegal marriages.
Article 16. Annulment of illegal marriages
At the request of individuals, agencies or organizations prescribed in Article 15 of this Law, the Court shall consider and decide the annulment of illegal marriages and send copies of its decisions to the offices that have made the marriage registration. Basing themselves on the Court’s decisions, the marriage registration offices shall erase the marriage registration in the Marriage Register.
Article 17. Legal consequences of the annulment of illegal marriages
1. When an illegal marriage is annulled, the two male and female partners must stop their relation as husband and wife.
2. Their children’s interests shall be dealt with as for cases where their parents are divorced.
3. Their property shall be dealt with on the principle that his/her personal property shall still belong to him/her; their common property shall be divided as agreed upon by the two partners; if they fail to reach an agreement thereon, they may request the Court to settle it, taking into account each partner’s contributions and giving priority to protecting the legitimate interests of women and children.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE
Article 18. Husband and wife attachment
Husband and wife are faithful to, love, respect, care for and help, each other, together build a prosperous, equal, progressive, happy and lasting family.
Article 19. Equality in obligations and rights between husband and wife
Husband and wife are equal to each other, having equal obligations and rights in all aspects of their family.
Article 20. Selection of the domicile of husband and wife
The domicile of husband and wife is selected by themselves without being bound by customs, practices and/or administrative boundaries.
Article 21. Respect for honor, dignity and prestige of husband and wife
1. Husband and wife respect each other and preserve each other’s honor, dignity and prestige.
2. Husband and wife are strictly forbidden to commit acts of ill-treating, persecuting or hurting the honor, dignity or prestige of each other.
Article 22. Respect for the right to freedom of religion and belief of husband and wife
Husband and wife respect each other’s right to freedom of belief and religion; must not compel or impede each other to adhere or not adhere to any religion.
Article 23. Helping and creating conditions for each other to develop in all aspects
Husband and wife discuss together, help and create conditions for each other to select professions, study and raise their educational level, professional qualifications and skills; take part in political, economic, cultural and social activities according to each partner’s aspiration and ability.
Article 24. Mutual representation between husband and wife
1. Husband and wife may authorize each other to establish, perform or terminate transactions which, as prescribed by law, must be agreed upon by both husband and wife; such authorization must be made in writing.
2. Husband and wife may represent each other when either of them loses his/her civil act capacity while the other is eligible to act as guardian or when either of them is limited in his/her civil act capacity while the other is designated by the Court to act as a representative at law for his/her partner.
Article 25. Joint liability of husband and wife for transactions conducted by either of them
Husband or wife must take joint liability for lawful civil transactions conducted by either of them to satisfy their family’s daily-life essential needs.
Article 26. Marriage relations when a partner returns after being declared dead
When the Court issues a decision abrogating a declaration that a person was dead as provided for in Article 93 of the Civil Code and his/her spouse has not yet married another person, their marriage relation will be automatically restored; where his/her spouse has married another person, the marriage relation established later shall be legally valid.
Article 27. Common property of husband and wife
1. Common property of husband and wife includes property created by husband and wife, incomes generated from labor, production and business activities and other lawful incomes of husband and wife during the marriage period; property jointly inherited or given to both, and other property agreed upon by husband and wife as common property.
The land use right obtained by husband and wife after their marriage is their common property. The land use right obtained before the marriage or personally inherited by husband or wife shall be common property only if so agreed upon by husband and wife.
Common property of husband and wife falls under common ownership by integration.
2. Where a property under the common ownership of husband and wife is required by law to be registered for ownership, the names of both husband and wife must be inscribed in the ownership certificate thereof.
3. Where there is no evidence proving that a property being in dispute between husband and wife is his/her personal property, such property is common property.
Article 28. Possession, use and disposition of common property
1. Husband and wife have equal obligations and rights in the possession, use and disposition of their common property.
2. Common property of husband and wife is used only to ensure the family’s needs and perform their common obligations.
3. The establishment, performance or termination of civil transactions related to common property which is of big value or the family’s sole means of livelihood, the use of common property for business investment must be discussed and agreed upon by husband and wife, except where such common property has been divided for his/her own business investment under Clause 1, Article 29 of this Law.
Article 29. Division of common property during the marriage period
1. When marriage still exists, if husband and wife make separate business investments, perform separate civil obligations or there are other plausible reasons, husband and wife may agree to divide their common property; the division of common property must be recorded in writing; if they fail to reach an agreement thereon, they may request the Court to settle it.
2. Division of common property of husband and wife in order to shirk the performance of property obligations shall not be recognized by law.
Article 30. Consequences of the division of common property of husband and wife
Where common property of husband and wife is divided, yields or profits arising from the divided property shall belong to the ownership of each person; the undivided property portion remains under the common ownership of husband and wife.
Article 31. Husband and wife’s right to inherit each other’s property
1. Husband and wife have the right to inherit each other’s property according to the provisions of the inheritance legislation.
2. When the wife or husband dies or is declared dead by the Court, the living partner shall manage their common property, except for cases where another person is designated in the testament to manage the heritage or the heirs agree to designate another person to manage the heritage.
3. Where there is a request to divide the heritage but the division of heritage shall seriously affect the life of the living spouse and the family, the living spouse may request the Court to determine the heritage portions to be enjoyed by the heirs but delay the heritage division for a certain period of time; past the time limit determined by the Court or if the living partner has married another person, the other heirs may request the Court to permit the division of the heritage.
Article 32. Personal property of husband and wife
1. Husband and wife have the right to own personal property.
Personal property of husband and wife includes property owned by each person before their marriage; property inherited and/or given separately during the marriage period; property separately divided to husband or wife under Clause 1, Article 29 and Article 30 of this Law; personal belongings and jewelry.
2. Husband and wife may consolidate or not consolidate their personal property into the common property.
Article 33. Possession, use and disposition of personal property
1. Husband and wife have the right to possess, use and dispose their personal property, except for cases prescribed in Clause 5 of this Article.
2. Husband and wife manage by themselves their personal property; where either spouse is not able to manage by himself or herself his/her personal property and does not authorize another person to manage, the other partner may manage such property.
3. Each partner’s own property obligations are performed with his/her personal property.
4. Personal property of husband and wife are also used to meet their family’s essential needs if their common property is not enough.
5. Where either spouse’s personal property has been put to common use and the profits or yields from such personal property constitute the family’s sole means of livelihood, the disposition of such personal property must be agreed upon by both husband and wife.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN
Article 34. Obligations and rights of parents
1. Parents have the obligations and rights to love, look after, rear, care for, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of, their children; respect their children’s opinions; attend to the study and education of their children so as to ensure their healthy development in all physical, intellectual and moral aspects to become pious children of the family and useful citizens of the society.
2. Parents must not discriminatorily treat, ill-treat or persecute their children, or hurt their honor; must not abuse the labor power of their minor children; must not incite or compel their children to act against law and social morality.
Article 35. Obligations and rights of children
Children have the duty to love, respect, show gratitude and piousness to, their parents, pay heed to the good advices of their parents, preserve the good traditions and prestige of their family.
Children have the obligations and rights to care for and support their parents.
Children are strictly forbidden to ill-treat, persecute or hurt the honor, of their parents.
Article 36. Obligations and rights to care for and support
1. Parents have the obligations and rights to jointly care for and raise their minor children or adult children who are disabled, have lost their civil act capacity, have no working capacity and no property to support themselves.
2. Children have the obligations and rights to care for and support their parents, especially when their parents fall sick, become senile or disabled; where a family has several children, the children must together care for and support their parents.
Article 37. Obligations and rights to educate children
1. Parents have the obligations and rights to educate their children, attend to and create conditions for their study.
Parents create conditions for their children to live in a happy and harmonious family environment, set good examples for their children in every aspect, work closely with the school and social organizations in educating their children.
2. Parents guide their children to select professions; respect their children’s rights to select professions and participate in social activities.
3. When facing difficulties which cannot be solved by themselves, parents may request concerned agencies and organizations to assist in educating their children.
Article 38. Obligations and rights of or stepfathers, stepmothers and stepchildren
1. Stepfathers or stepmothers have the obligations and rights to look after, rear, care for, and educate cohabiting stepchildren according to the provisions in Articles 34, 36 and 37 of this Law.
2. Stepchildren have the obligations and rights to care for and support cohabiting stepfathers or stepmothers according to the provisions in Articles 35 and 36 of this Law.
3. Stepfathers, stepmothers and stepchildren must not ill-treat, persecute or hurt the honor of, one another.
Article 39. Representation for children
Parents are representatives at law of their minor children or adult children who have lost their civil act capacity, except for cases where the children have other persons as their guardians or representatives at law.
Article 40. Making compensation for damage caused by children
Parents must pay compensation for damage caused by their minor children or adult children who have lost their civil act capacity, as provided for in Article 611 of the Civil Code.
Article 41. Restrictions on fathers’ and/or mothers’ rights toward their minor children
When fathers and/or mothers are sentenced for one of the crimes of deliberately infringing upon the health, dignity or honor of their children or commit acts of seriously breaching their obligations to look after, care for, rear and educate their children; dissipate property of their children; lead a debauched life; incite or force their children to act against law or social morality, the Court may, on the case-by-case basis, make decisions by itself or at the request of the individuals, agencies or organizations prescribed in Article 42 of this Law, to disallow such parents to look after, care for and educate their children or manage the personal property of their children or act as their children’s representatives at law for a time limit of between one and five years. The Court may also consider to shorten this time limit.
Law No.26/2008/QH12 dated November 28, 2008 of the National Assembly on Enforcement of Civil Judgments
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