Question 56: What does the custodial parent have to do in order to compel the non-custodial parent to pay child support if the non-custodial parent acts against the Court’s decision by not paying?

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The act of failing to provide support is understood as a person who has obligation to provide support to a particular individual as prescribed by law or under a Court’s judgement or decision, but intentionally fail to comply while he or she has sufficient conditions to fulfill his or her obligations.

Based on the legally effective judgement or decision of the Court, if the obligor fails to comply with his or her obligation, the other spouse has the right to request a competent judgement enforcement agency to compel the uncomplying spouse to fulfill his or her obligations. Specifically, according to Article 45 of the Law on Civil Judgement Enforcement 2008, as amended and supplemented in 2014, from the date of receiving the judgement enforcement decision or being notified of the valid decision, the child support obligor will be granted 10 days to voluntarily perform the prescribed obligation regarding the child support. After this time limit, if he or she, is eligible to fulfill the obligation but fails to do so, the obligor shall be compelled to pay by the competent enforcement agency. In this case, an intervention by the State agency is very necessary and urgent in forcing the obligor to fulfill his or her obligation.

In fact, the implementation of the decision on child support faces many difficulties. In many cases, the obligor does not comply with the decision even though he or she has the ability to pay. Sometimes, the judgement enforcement agency is unable to apply coercive measures since in practice, the enforcement of child support judgements is considered a periodical obligation (i.e. the obligation to provide child support periodically). Additionally, child support sometimes only equals to a few million Vietnamese dong/month/person which is very little compared to the value of the distrained assets. Therefore, the judgement enforcement agencies often face many difficulties when enforcing decisions seizing large assets such as houses, cars, land, etc. of the obligor to deduct the total amount of money for the child support obligation at once. This will take a lot of time and effort to settle an enforcement of the obligation to provide child support[2].

In addition to the gentle civil solutions mentioned above, the applicable law also has relatively strict deterrent measures to compel the obligor to perform child support obligations. Refusing or evading the fulfillment of such obligation may be subject to a warning or an administrative fine of between VND100,000 and VND300,000[5]. On the other hand, the failure to perform the obligation may be subject to criminal prosecution. Specifically, according to Article 380 of the Criminal Code 2015 on crime for non-compliance, a person who fails to comply with a legally effective judgement or decision of a Court on alimony even though it is within his or her ability, that he or she has subsequently been subject to coercive measures according to the law or administratively sanctioned for this act but still violates it, will be sentenced up to 05 years of imprisonment and fined with the maximum amount of VND50 million. In particular, in case the obligor has the actual ability to provide support to the person for whom he or she is obliged to as prescribed by law, but refuses or evades such obligation, causing the supported person to be in danger of life, health, or where the obligor has been administratively sanctioned for refusing or evading the obligation but keeps violating it, if not falling into the cases prescribed in Article 380 of the Criminal Code 2015, he or she will be subject to warning, non-imprisonment rehabilitation up to 02 years or imprisonment from 03 months to 02 years[6].


[2] Thanh Cong, “Why are the time for cases regarding enforcement of obligation to provide child support usually extended?”, General Department of Civil Judgement Enforcement of Tuyen Quang Province’s news portal, http://thads.moj.gov.vn/tuyenquang/noidung/tintuc/Lists/NghienCuuTraoDoi/View_Detail.aspx?ItemID=104,

[5]Article 54.2 of the Decree No. 167/2013/ND-CP of the Government, dated 12 November 2013, on Administrative penalties in social security, order, and safety; prevention of social evils, fire, and domestic violence.

[6] Article 186 of the Criminal Code 2015 as amended by Article 1.37 of the Law on 2017 to amend and supplement the Criminal Code.

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