04 notes for the divorce involving foreign elements

Several foreign clients have often asked lawyers about the difference between the divorce between them and Vietnamese partners and the one between two Vietnamese citizens.

Through this article, BLawyers Vietnam raises some notes about the divorce involving foreign elements.

I. What is a divorce involving foreign elements?

Divorce means the legal termination of a husband-and-wife relationship by a court’s judgment or decision.

Divorce involving foreign elements means a divorce falls into one of the following cases:

  • Divorces between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners;
  • Divorces between foreigners who live in Vietnam permanently;
  • Divorces between Vietnamese citizens and overseas Vietnamese;
  • Divorces between Vietnamese where the grounds for establishing, changing, or terminating such relationship are according to foreign laws, arising abroad, or the property related to such relationship is located abroad.

II. Jurisdiction for settling a divorce involving foreign elements

1. Court’s jurisdiction by levels

The divorce involving foreign elements shall be resolved by the People’s Court at the province level. However, it should be noted that the People’s Court of the district level shall have jurisdiction over the resolution of divorce between Vietnamese citizens living in border areas and citizens of neighboring countries living near Vietnam.

2. Court’s jurisdiction by territory

The determination of the Court’s jurisdiction by territory is under two cases as follows:

  • In case of a divorce by mutual consent: The two parties can agree to choose the Court in which one of the two parties living or working will have jurisdiction to settle the case.
  • In case of unilateral divorce: The Court where the Defendant lives and works.

Of note, for divorce cases where the subject of the dispute is real estate, the Court shall have jurisdiction in the location of the real estate.

III. Orders for settling a divorce involving foreign elements

Some procedures/ steps should be noted as follows:

  • Step 1: Submitting to the competent Court an application for divorce (in case of a unilateral divorce) or an application for recognition of an uncontested divorce (in case of divorce by mutual consent), as well as relevant documents and evidence.
  • Step 2: The Court checks the application, if the application is valid and within its competence, the Court will request the involved parties to pay an advance of court fees and charges.
  • Step 3: The involved parties pay the advance court fees and charges.
  • Step 4: The Court opens a reconciliation session and conducts divorce proceedings according to first-instance procedures.

IV. The time limit for divorce settlement involving foreign elements

Depending on each case, the divorce case involving foreign elements will have a different time limit for settlement, specifically:

  • In case of a divorce by mutual consent: From 03 to 04 months from the date of acceptance of the case;
  • In case of unilateral divorce: The first-instance phase could take about 04 to 06 months from the date of acceptance of the case.

However, the time limit for settlement may be extended because it depends heavily on the cooperation of the parties and the content of the dispute settlement between the two parties.

In short, involving parties who proceed a divorce with foreign elements should note some above-mentioned regulations.

Should you have any questions about the above contents, please revert to BLawyers Vietnam at consult@blawyersvn.com. We are more than happy to hear from you!

Date: 30 March 2022

Writer: Tuyen Pham

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