A draft decree detailing the 2014 Law on Marriage and Family has recently been released by its drafter, the Ministry of Justice, for public comment.
Composed of 42 articles arranged in five chapters, the draft paper focuses on application of marriage and family practices, matrimonial property, settlement of intercountry marriage and family cases and recording of marriage and family affairs settled under foreign courts’ judgments and decisions in civil status registers.
The draft devotes a four-section chapter to deal with marriage and family relations involving foreign elements, emphasizing measures to be taken to ensure lawful rights and interests of parties to intercountry marriages.
Specifically, Vietnamese competent agencies would hold an in-person interview with both parties to an intercountry marriage so as to make clear about their personalities, their voluntariness and purposes when entering the marriage, and their awareness about each other’s family and personal circumstances as well as the language, customs, traditions, culture and law of his or her country.
Marriage registration agencies would further verify if suspecting that such marriage is arranged for the profit-making purpose, a sham marriage or abused for human trafficking or other self-seeking purposes.
In case either or both of the parties fail to reach an acceptable level of awareness about their partners, they would be required to seek counseling from a marriage and family counseling and support center.
The draft decree also specifies the conditions for recognition of marriage among Vietnamese citizens or between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners, which are registered with foreign competent agencies. Accordingly, such a marriage would be recognized in Vietnam if it is compatible with the host country’s law on marriage conditions and formalities and, at the time of marriage, the two parties satisfied the marriage conditions prescribed by Vietnam’s law. However, a marriage involving violations of Vietnam’s regulations on marriage conditions would still be recognized if, at the time of request for recognition, the consequences of such violations have been remedied or the recognition of marriage can help protect interests of women and children.
The draft paper also stipulates cases in which an overseas divorce would be recorded in civil status registers, saying the recording is required if the divorced couple have registered their marriage or have their marriage recorded in the register at a Vietnamese competent agency or either of them now wishes to marry in Vietnam. Vietnamese people who divorce abroad would also have to apply for recording of their divorce in civil status registers if they return to the country for permanent residence. Overseas divorces may also be recorded in civil status registers at the request of involved parties.
Once approved, the draft decree will take effect early next year, concurrently with the new Law on Marriage and Family.-