How long does it take to divorce a foreigner in Vietnam?

by Quang Minh

Nowadays, many couples of different nationalities entered into marriage. However, for many objective and subjective reasons, they decided to divorce. Because of their different nationalities, they might find it difficult to determine the governing law for their case. The lack of laws understanding leads to an undetermined time limit for divorce procedures. In this article, LSX legal firm would like to help you answer the question: “How long does it take to divorce a foreigner in Vietnam?”

  • Civil Procedure Code 2015
  • Law on Marriage and Family 2014

Divorce involving foreign elements

Article 127 of the Law on Marriage and Family 2014 provides for cases considered as divorce relations involving foreign elements and related regulations as follows:

  • A competent Vietnamese agency shall settle a divorce between a Vietnamese citizen and a foreigner or between two foreigners permanently residing in Vietnam in accordance with this Law.
  • In case a partner being a Vietnamese citizen does not permanently reside in Vietnam at the time of request for divorce, the divorce shall be settled in accordance with the law of the country where the husband and wife permanently co-reside; if they do not have a place of permanent co-residence, the Vietnamese law shall apply.
  • The settlement of a divorced couple’s immovables in a foreign country must comply with the law of the country where such immovables are located.

Competence to settle divorce cases involving foreign elements

Article 37 of the Civil Procedure Code stipulates for Jurisdiction of People’s Courts of provinces. Whereby, people’s Courts of provinces have the jurisdiction to settle according to first-instance procedures the disputes and petitions prescribed in Clause 3, Article 35 of this Code.
Accordingly,

Section 35. Jurisdiction of People’s Courts of districts

1. People’s Courts of districts shall have the jurisdiction to settle according to first-instance procedures the following disputes:
a) Disputes over civil matters, marriage, and family, prescribed in Articles 26 and 28 of this Code;

3. Disputes and petitions prescribed in Clauses 1 and 2 of this Article, which involve parties or properties in foreign countries or which must be judicially entrusted to representative agencies of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam overseas or to foreign courts/competent agencies, shall not fall under the jurisdiction of people’s Courts of districts, except for cases specified in clause 4 of this Article.

Therefore, the People’s Courts of Provinces have the jurisdiction to settle cases related to marriage and family involving foreign elements.

Procedures for divorce involving foreign elements in Vietnam

Procedures for receiving and processing petitions

Article 363 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015 stipulates procedures for receiving and processing petitions as follows:

  1. Procedures for receiving petitions shall comply with regulations in clause 1 Article 191 of this Code.
    Within 03 working days from the day on which the petition, accompanying materials and evidence received, the Chief Justice of the Court shall assign a Judge to handle the petition.
  2. If the petition does not contain sufficient information specified in clause 2 Article 362 of this Code, the Judge shall request the petitioner to amend or supplement it within 07 days from the day on which the request is received. Procedures for amending and supplementing the petition shall comply with regulations in clause 1 Article 193 of this Code.
  3. When the petition is satisfactory, the Judge shall carry out the procedures for acceptance of the civil matters.
    Upon the expiry of the time limit specified in clause 2 of this Article, if the petitioner fails to amend/supplement the petition, the Judge shall return the petition and the accompanying materials and evidence to the petitioner.
  4. If the petition and accompanying materials and/or evidence are deemed satisfactory to be accepted, the Judge shall carry out as follows:
    a) The Court shall notify the petitioner about the payment of charge for civil matter resolution within 05 working days from the date of receipt of the notice of charge payment unless such petitioner exempted from the charge as prescribed in law on fees and charges;
    b) The Court shall accept the petition when the petitioner submits to the Court the receipt of the civil-matter resolution charge;
    c) If the petitioner is exempted from or does not have to pay the charge, the Judge shall accept the civil matter from the day on which the petition is received.

Acceptance of petitions

Within 03 working days from the date of receiving the petition, the Court shall notify the petitioner, person with interests and duties relevant to the civil matter resolution, and the procuracy of the same level in writing of the acceptance of the petition. 

Principal details of the notice (according to Civil Procedure Code 2015):

  • Firstly, date of the making of the notice.
  • Secondly, name and address of the Court accepting the petition; 
  • Thirdly, name and address of the involved parties.
  • Fourthly, specific matters that the involved parties request the Court to resolve.
  • Fifthly, list of materials and evidence that are accompanied by the petition.
  • The time limit for persons with relevant interests and duties to provide opinions in writing to the Court about the petition and accompanied materials and evidence (if any).
  • Lastly, legal consequences of cases where the person with relevant interests and duties fails to submit to the Court their opinions in writing for the petition for civil matter resolution.

Petition consideration

Under Article 366 of the Civil Procedure Code 2015, the time limit for preparation for petition consideration shall be 01 month from the date of petition acceptance by the Court.

During that time, the Court shall carry out the following activities: 

  • If the materials and evidences are not sufficient to serve as the basis for the Court to resolve the matter, the Court shall request the involved parties to supplement materials and evidences within 05 working days from the day on which the request is received; 
  • Upon the request of the involved parties or when it is deemed necessary, the Judge shall issue decision to request agencies, organizations, and individuals to provide materials and evidences; summon witnesses, request property expertise, and price assessment. If the time limit for preparation for petition consideration specified in clause 1 of this Article expires but the property expertise and/or price assessment results have not been produced, such time limit shall be extended for not exceeding 01 month; 
  • Issue decision to terminate the consideration of petition and return the petition and accompanied materials and evidences if the petitioner withdraws the petition; d) Issue decision to open a meeting to resolve civil matter. 

On the other hand, the Courts must immediately send the decision to open the meeting to resolve civil matter and the dossiers on the civil matter to the procuracy of the same level for study. The procuracy must study them within 07 days from the day on which the dossier received. When this time limit expires, the procuracy must return it to the Court for holding a meeting to resolve the civil matter. 

The Court shall open a meeting to resolve civil matter within 15 days from the day on which the date of issuance of decision to open the meeting.

How long does it take to divorce a foreigner in Vietnam?

Under the procedures mentioned above, it will take about 1 to 3 months or more (excluding the trial time) to carry out steps from applying the petition for divorce to the time of decision-making to open a trial to resolve the case.
In fact, the time to resolve a divorce case in general and a divorce with foreign elements, in particular, may take longer than the law for many reasons. Usually, it may take 1-6 months to get a divorce.

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Contact LSX

In this article, we provide information regarding “How long does it take to divorce a foreigner in Vietnam?”. With qualified solicitors, LSX legal firm has provided efficient legal services to our customers. We guarantee to constantly update and keep our operations as well as services in line with the law. If you have any questions about the law, please get in touch with us via LSX Law firm+84846175333 or Email: hoangson@lsx.vn

See more

Consent to divorce with foreigners in Vietnam

Divorce application form for foreigners in Vietnam

Conditions for divorce from foreigners in Vietnam

Frequently asked questions

Factors affecting common property division after divorce?

– Firstly, circumstances of the family, husband and wife.
– Secondly, each spouse’s contributions to the creation, maintenance and development of the common property. The housework done in the family by a spouse shall be regarded as income-generating labor.
– Thirdly, protecting the legitimate interests of each spouse in their production, business, and career activities to create conditions for them to continue working to generate incomes.
– Fourthly, each spouse’s faults in the infringement of spousal rights and obligations.

Do you have to divide separate property after divorce?

Except for separate property already merged into the common property, each spouse remains ownership of their separate property.

Division of separate property merged into or mixed with common property?

Unless otherwise agreed, each spouse shall receive the value of his/her property contributed to common property.

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