Question 32: In a divorce case, under which circumstances does the Court have the right to make a decision to temporarily suspend the handling of the case? Does a spouse have the right to appeal against such a decision? If so, which is the competent State authority to settle the appeal request?

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Temporarily suspending resolution of the civil case in general and divorce case in particular means that it is the Court’s decision to temporarily suspend the resolution of the civil case for a period of time when there are legal grounds prescribed by law. If the legal ground which justified the temporary suspension no longer exists, the Court will resume the resolution of the case according to the Civil Proceedings Law. The Court shall issue a decision suspending a case if the following legal grounds exist:

  • A litigant has lost the capacity for civil acts but his or her representative is unidentified. Consequently, the Court shall suspend the resolution of the civil case. In accordance with the laws of Vietnam, in the event that the wife or the husband has lost the capacity for civil acts, the other spouse shall be a natural guardian of such person during the marriage period. However, in the event of a divorce, this guardian spouse shall fail to satisfy all conditions to act as a guardian (due to the conflict of right and interest). Therefore, in such a case the Court may appoint another person to act as a guardian, such as his or her parents as prescribed under the law, to represent the person who has lost his or her capacity for civil acts;
  • Resolution of the case is pending on the outcome of another related Court proceeding or matter which must be resolved first by another agency or organisation as stipulated by law before the divorce case is settled;
  • Resolution of the case is pending on the outcome of judicial authorisation or authorisation to collect evidence or pending data and evidence provided by another agency or organisation at the request of the Court. Example: the spouses have common properties of the spouses abroad and the Court must authorise the judicial abroad to determine this property, serving the decision to divide the common properties. In this case, the Court may issue a decision to temporarily suspend the resolution of the civil case until the result of judicial authorisation is obtained; and
  • Resolution is pending the outcome of dealing with a legal instrument which is related to the resolution of the case and which presents a sign of violation of the Constitution, law or resolutions of the National Assembly, or an Ordinance or Resolution of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, or a legal instrument of a State agency at the higher level for which the Court has petitioned in writing to the competent State agency to consider for amendment, addition or revocation. This is a completely new authority of the Court according to the Civil Proceedings Code 2015. This provision helps the Court resolve reasonably in case of any conflict of laws[2].

Of note: the death of a spouse during the resolution of the civil case is a legal ground for the Court to suspend the resolution of a divorce case instead of a legal ground for the Court to temporarily suspend the resolution of the divorce.

The temporary suspension of the resolution of a civil case may extend the time for reaching settlement, seriously affecting the legitimate rights and interests of the spouses. Therefore, the law of Vietnam allows the spouses to have the right to make an appeal against the first instance’s decision suspending the divorce settlement and to petition the appellate Court to resolve the matter according to the appellate proceedings[5]. The time limit for lodging an appeal against a decision of temporary suspension of the divorce settlement made by the Court of first instance is 07 days from the date receiving the decision or from the date on which the decision is posted in accordance with the Civil Proceedings Code 2015[6].

The petition for appeal shall be submitted to the Court of first instance which made the decision suspending the settlement of the divorce which is being appealed against. In case the appeal petition is submitted to the appellate Court, such Court shall forward it to the Court of first instance to enable it to carry out necessary procedures in accordance with the Civil Proceedings Code 2015. Please note that the appeal petition shall be accompanied by an additional date and evidence (if any) in order to substantiate that the appeal is well grounded and lawful.


[2] Article 214 of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015.

[5] Article 271 of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015.

[6] Article 273.2 of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015.

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