I married an overseas Vietnamese man in 2000. We are currently residing in Vietnam but have not lived together for 14 months. Our marriage was not registered in Vietnam. Can we apply for divorce here?
According to Vietnamese law, divorce between a Vietnamese national and a foreigner or between two foreigners permanently residing in Vietnam is settled in accordance with the Law on Marriage and Family.
The divorce will be settled according to the law of the country where husband and wife permanently reside. If you and your husband do not have a common place of permanent residence, you may request the court of the province or city where either of you resides for settlement.
A divorced couple’s property being real estate in a foreign country will be settled under the law of the country where such real estate is located.
So, you may file your lawsuit and send accompanying documents and evidences to the people’s court of the province or city where you are residing to settle your case by:
- Direct filing at the court; or,
- Sending documents to the court by post.
The date of initiating a lawsuit is the date on which the lawsuit is filed at court or the postmarked date of sending the lawsuit.
Accompanying documents and evidences to be filed for applying for divorce in Vietnam include:
- The original marriage registration certificate. If the original is not available, you may use a copy which is certified by a foreign competent agency;
- Certified copies of birth certificates of your children (if any);
- A certified copy of your passport or visa;
- A certified copy of identity card or passport of your husband;
- A divorce application (stating an agreement between two partners on common property and children or request for court settlement);
- Title documents or documents proving houses, cars, bank account, etc.
- Papers and documents in foreign languages which must be requested for consular certification and legalization.
Under the Civil Procedure Code, the time limit for preparation for trial of a divorce case is four months counting from the date of acceptance of the case. For a complicated case, or when objective obstacles exist, the court’s chief justice may decide to extend the trial preparation time limit but for no more than two months for a case.
Within one month from the date of issuing the decision to bring the case to trial, the court must hold a hearing. For a plausible reason, this time limit may be two months.
Which agencies are competent to carry out consular legalization?
According to Vietnamese law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is competent to carry out consular certification and legalization. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs may authorize foreign affairs agencies of provinces or centrally run cities to receive dossiers of request for consular certification or legalization.
You may request consular certification or legalization of your papers and documents or others’ without power of attorney. And you have to submit your dossiers to competent consular certification and legalization agencies directly or through authorized foreign affairs agencies or by post.
1. Department of External Relations, Hanoi city
Address: No. 2, Le Thach street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.
Tel: 04.38253870 (Ext.111) – 04. 38267570
Fax: 04. 38253584
Working time: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
2. Department of External Relations, Ho Chi Minh City
Address: No. 6, Alexandre De Rhodes street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: 04. 838224224 – 04. 838251436
Working time: 7:45a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
In case of sending your dossiers by post, you have to pay postal charge for both sending and receipt.
The time limit for settlement is one working day from the date of receiving a complete and valid dossier. For a dossier consisting of 10 or more papers and documents, the time limit for settlement may be longer but must not exceed five working days.
In case specimens of signatures, stamps and titles of competent foreign agencies have not yet been officially notified or are subject to verification, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may request these agencies to verify. Upon receiving verification results, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will settle dossiers and notify results to requesters.-