THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
Hanoi, December 29, 1986
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
The State guarantees the implementation of the regime of voluntary, progressive, and monogamous marriage in which husband and wife are equal, with a view to nurturing a democratic, united, happy and lasting family.
Marriage between Vietnamese citizens from different ethnic groups or religions, or between believers and non-believers, shall be respected and protected.
Husband and wife shall have the obligation to implement family planning.
Parents shall the duty to make their children useful to society.
Children shall be obliged to respect, take care of, and support their parents.
The State and society shall protect the mothers as well as their children, and shall assist the mothers in fulfilling their noble tasks of motherhood.
It shall be deemed as unlawful any act of underage marriage, forced marriage or impeding voluntary and progressive marriage, pressing for portion, or forcing a person into divorce.
A person being married shall not be allowed to marry another, or to live with another as husband or wife.
Ill-treatment toward one’s parents, wife, husband, and children shall not be tolerated.
Men reaching the age of twenty and women at eighteen over shall be eligible to marry.
Marriage shall be decided on by the man and woman who are seeking it; neither of them shall be forced by any other party into marriage;impediments to marriage shall not be admitted.
Marriage shall not be permitted in the following circumstances:
1. One of the marriage partners is a marriage person.
2. One of the prospective spouses is mentally ill and is not in control of his or her actions, or has a venereal disease.
3. The marriage partners are directly related by blood: brother and sister with the same parents, half-brother and half-sister, or relatives within three generations.
4. Between an adoptive father or a foster mother and an adopted child.
A marriage shall be recognised and recorded in the Marriage Register, with proceedings prescribed by the State, or by the People’s Committee of the commune, ward or town where one of the prospective spouses resides.
A marriage between Vietnamese citizens abroad shall be recognised by the diplomatic mission of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in that country.
All other marriage proceedings shall be invalid.
Marriage in violation of Article 5, 6 or 7 shall be illegal. Where a marriage person illegally entered into another marriage, his wife or her husband, his or her children, or the People’s Prosecution Office, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union or the Vietnam Federation of Trade Unions can request a People’s Court to annul such marriage.
The property of persons whose illegal marriage has been annulled shall be divided according to these principles: each party shall keep his or her personal property; common property shall be divided according to the contributions made by each side; and the legitimate rights of a man or woman who has been deceived or forced into marriage shall be protected.
The rights of their child, if any, shall be guaranteed, as in the case of a divorced couple.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MARRIAGE PARTNERS
Husband and wife shall have equal rights and duties with respect to all aspects of family.
Husband and wife shall be obliged to be loyal, to care for and respect each other and to assist each other in all social aspects, and to practise family planning.
The husband shall have the duty to create conditions for the wife to fulfil her mother’s role.
Husband and wife shall be free to choose their respective professions and to take part in political, economic, cultural and social activities.
In choosing a domicile, the couple shall not to be forced to follow customary rules.
Common property of a married couple shall be deemed to comprise all the property acquired by each of the marriage partners, including professional and other legitimate income gained by the couple during their marriage, and the property bequeathed or given to the couple.
Property held in common by a married couple shall be for the needs of the family.
Husband and wife shall have equal rights and duties with regard to their common property. Purchase, sale, exchange, borrowing or other dealings involving property of considerable value shall require general consent between husband and wife.
Properties which were separately owned by a spouse before marriage, or solely bequeathed to him or her during their marriage, may only be included in common property, if he or she agrees.
Where a spouse dies, and there is a need to divide “the common property”, it shall be divided into two parts. The half that belongs to the deceased shall be divided in accordance with the law on inheritance.
Husband and wife shall also have the right to inherit each other’s property.
During marriage and upon request of a spouse for legitimate reasons, common property may be divided in accordance with Article 42 of this Law.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN
Parents shall be obliged to care for and bring up their children, and to ensure their education and healthy development in all aspects, physically, intellectually and morally.
Parents shall not show any discrimination in the treatment of their children.
Parents shall set a good example for their children and in their education in close co-operation with the school and social organisations.
Parents shall have a duty to support their mature children who are incapable of earning a living.
The children in the family shall have equal rights and duties.
Children shall be obliged to respect, take good care of their parents, and listen to their advice.
Grown-up children living with their parents shall have the right to choose their profession and participate in political, economic, cultural and social activities.
Children shall have the right to own property.
Children under the age of 16 or over living with their parents shall contribute to the family’s livelihood, and contribute part of their earnings to meet the family’s needs.
Parents shall represent their adolescent children before the law.
Parents shall manage the property of adolescent children.
Parents shall pay compensation for damage caused by illegal acts by their children under 16. Where parents are unable to do so, and the child owns property, an equivalent part of his property shall be taken for compensation. Minors aged 16 or over must pay compensation out of their own means for damage caused by their illegal acts. If they are unable to do so, the parents shall pay compensation.
The father or mother who have committed an offence on account of violating the body or dignity of a child, or serious ill-treatment of child, may be deprived by the People’s Court of the right to keep, educate or represent the child or to manage his or her property for a period from one to five years. The Court may reduce this period depending on changes in the attitude of the parents.
The father or mother mentioned above shall be bound to contribute towards supporting or educating the child.
Grandparents shall be bound to support and educate under-age grandchildren if they become orphans. Vice versa, grandchildren who have grown-up shall have a duty to support their grandparents, if the latter have no surviving children. Brothers and sisters whose parents have died shall be obliged to assist one another.
A child born or conceived in lawful wedlock shall be the common child of a couple. Where a request has been made for determination of parenthood, other evidence shall be produced.
The person regarded as the father or mother of a child may make a request for determination that the child is not his or hers.
A person not declared to be the father or mother of a child may make a request for determination that the child is his or hers.
Recognition of a child born out of wedlock shall be attested and recorded in the Birth Register by the People’s Committee of the commune, city ward or town where the child resides.
A child born out of wedlock may ask to be recognised as somebody’s child, even when such person has already died.
The mother, father, or foster-parents may request the determination of parentage of a child born out of wedlock, if the child is still under age.
The People’s Prosecution Office, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the Vietnam Federation of Trade Unions may request the determination of parentage of a child born out of wedlock who is still under age.
A child born out of wedlock who has been recognised by his father or mother or by the People’s Court shall have the same rights and duties as a child born in lawful wedlock.
All disputes related to recognition of a child, or of the father or mother shall be settled by the People’s Court at the child’s place of residence.
ADOPTION OF CHILDREN
Adoption of a child shall be for the purpose of maintaining paternal and filial ties between the adopting and adopted persons, in which the adolescent child is ensured of good care and education.
The rights and duties of an adopting person and adopted child shall be the same as those of parents and children defined in Articles 19 to 25 of this Law.
Only persons of 15 years old or under may be adopted. A person over 15 years of age maybe adopted where he or she is an invalid soldier or a disabled person, or if the adopting person is old and lonely.
The adopting person shall be at least twenty years older than the adopted child.
Adoption of a child shall require the agreement of the prospective parents, and of both parents or foster-parents of the adopted. If the adopted child is 9 years old or over, his own consent shall also be required.
Adoption of a child shall be recognised and recorded in the Family Register by the People’s Committee of the commune, city ward or town where adopting or adopted person resides.
The State and society shall encourage the adoption of orphans.
The rights enjoyed by a child as an orphan of a soldier shall be respected after his adoption.
The adoption of a child may be annulled, if the adopting or the adopted person, or both, committed serious offences against each other’s dignity, or other acts which have ended the affection binding the adopting and adopted persons.
The annulment of an adoption shall be decided by the People’s Court at the request of the adopting or adopted person. Where the adopted child is still under age, the parents or foster-parents of the child, the People’s Court, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the Vietnam Federation of Trade Unions may request the annulment of such adoption.
When a spouse or both of them apply for a divorce, the People’s Court shall investigate and seek the reconciliation of the couple.
When both husband and wife want a divorce and cannot be reconciled, the People’s Court, after securing evidence that both parties are acting of their own free will, shall grant a divorce. When only the husband or wife asks for divorce, and reconciliation attempts have failed, the matter will be brought to the People’s Court. If it is found that the situation is serious, that the couple can no longer live together and the purpose of marriage cannot be achieved, the People’s Court shall grant a divorce.
When the wife is pregnant, the husband may sue for divorce only one year after the birth of the child.
This provision shall not apply to the wife’s request for divorce.
When divorced, the couple’s property is divided according to an agreement between the two parties, which is to be recognised by the People’s Court. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, the People’s Court will decide.
The division of property of the divorcees shall be in accordance with the following:
a- Personal property shall be kept by the owner;
b- Common property of the couple shall be into two parts, taking into consideration the situation of the property, the specific situation of the family and contributions by each party;
c- Where a couple is still living with the whole family and their own property cannot be determined, the husband or wife shall receive part of the family property, in proportion to his or her contributions to the preservation and enlargement of the common property and to the family’s livelihood. Work in the family is regarded as production work;
d- The rights of the wife and under-age children, and production and professional interests shall be protected in the division of property.
When divorced, if either party is needy and asks for support, the other party shall give support according to his or her abilities.
The amount and duration of support shall be agreed by the two parties. If no agreement can be reached, the People’s Court shall decide.
Where circumstances change, a person who receives or gives support may ask for a change in the amount or duration of support. If the person receiving the support marries another person, the support shall be stopped.
The divorcees shall have rights and duties vis-à-vis their common children.
In consigning the couple’s child or children to the care of either of the divorcees for guardianship, the children’s interests in every aspect shall be taken into account. In principle, nursing infants shall be consigned to the care of their mothers.
The person who becomes guardian of the children shall have the right and duty to care for them and contribute towards the cost of their support and education. If he or she delays or evades the contributions, the People’s Court may order a deduction from his or her income, or order him or her to make the contributions.
Changes may be made in the interests of the children, if necessary, in guardianship or in contributions towards the cost of their support and education.
The purpose of guardianship to ensure the care, education and guarantee of the interests of an under-age child whose parents have died or are still living but unable to carry out their duties.
Parents may choose a person as a guardian for their own under-age child. If they cannot do so, relatives may choose a foster parent.
The choice of foster parent shall be recognised by the People’s Committee of the commune, city ward or town.
Where the choice of foster parent for an under-age child cannot be made by the parents or relatives, it shall be made by a responsible government authority or social organisations.
A citizen who becomes a foster parent shall be least 21 years old, and have good behaviour and the practical preconditions for fulfilling his responsibilities.
The citizen or organisation becoming a foster parent shall have the following rights and duties:
a- To care for and bring up the foster child;
b- To manage the property of the foster child;
c- To represent the foster child before the law and defend his interests.
The guardian or foster parents shall be under the supervision of the People’s Committee of the commune, city ward or town.
Relatives of foster child, the People’s Prosecution Office, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the Vietnam Federation of Trade Unions, may ask the People’s Committee of the commune, city ward or town to replace foster parents who do not fulfil responsibilities or do serious damage to the interests of the foster child.
Guardianship shall end where the foster child is returned to his or her original parents, is adopted by another person, or reaches the age of 18.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN VIETNAMESE CITIZENS AND FOREIGNERS
In marriage between a Vietnamese citizen and a foreigner, each party shall comply with the provisions of the marriage law of his or her country.
When marriage between a Vietnamese citizen and foreigner takes place in Vietnam, the foreigner shall also comply with the provisions of Article 5, 6 and 7. Marriage procedures shall be determined by the Council of Ministers.
Matters regarding relations between the husband and wife, property, parenthood, annulment of marriage, divorce, child adoption and guardianship between a Vietnamese citizen and a foreigner shall be regulated by Council of State Decrees.
Where there is an Agreement on legal assistance regarding marriage and family between Vietnam and the other country, the provisions of that Agreement shall be applied.
With regard to minority ethnic groups, the Council of State on the basis of this Law, and taking into account the specific conditions, shall issue appropriate regulations.
The Council of Ministers, the People’s Supreme Court, and the Head of the People’s Supreme Prosecution Office shall have the responsibility, within the scope of their respective competence, to issue instructions on the implementation of this Law.
The Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the Vietnam Federation of Trade Unions shall contribute to strict implementation of this Law.
This Law replaces the 1959 Marriage and Family Law.
FOR THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Nong Duc Manh