Question 6: To which Court – level and territorial jurisdiction, may a Vietnamese submit a divorce petition? Or which one is competent if a spouse is a foreigner? If a spouse appeals over a first instance judgement or decision which Court has the appellate and territorial jurisdiction?

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  1. To which Court – level and territorial jurisdiction, may a Vietnamese person submit a divorce petition?

Under the provisions of the Civil Proceedings Law, State agencies competent to settle divorce procedures for spouses being Vietnamese are determined as follows:

  • Case 01: Both spouses request a divorce by mutual consent

Both spouses requesting for a divorce are considered a divorce by mutual consent. At this point, both spouses have reached an agreement on issues such as properties, and children. The receipt of divorce file may be conducted at the Family and Juvenile Court of a district People’s Court in which the husband or the wife resides or works.

  • Case 02: One of the spouses requests for unilateral divorce

When the spouses do not agree to divorce by mutual agreement, one of the spouses has the right to request the competent Court to resolve unilateral divorce. At such point of time, the plaintiff shall go to the Family and Juvenile Court of a district People’s Court of the location where the defendant’s residence or workplace is located to submit the petition file for unilateral divorce. In addition, the spouses also have the right to negotiate and agree to each other in order to request the Family and Juvenile Court of a district People’s Court where the plaintiff spouse’s residence or workplace is located to handle the divorce case.

2. Which level of the Court is appropriate and which Court has the territorial jurisdiction when initiating divorce with a spouse (the defendant) who is a foreigner?

In this case, it can be understood that the applicant (the plaintiff) is a Vietnamese and the defendant is a foreigner. The determination of a competent Court to handle divorce dossiers is determined as follows:

  • It the defendant has a place of residence (permanent or temporary residence) in Vietnam, the competent Court having jurisdiction of the divorce case involving foreign element is the Family and Juvenile Court of the province under Central Authority or city People’s Court where the defendant has his or her residence or workplace; and
  • If the defendant has no place of residence (permanent or temporary residence) in Vietnam, the competent Court having jurisdiction of the divorce case involving foreign element is the Family and Juvenile Court of the province or city under Central Authority People’s Court where the plaintiff has his or her residence or his or her workplace.

3. When the judgement is appealed by one of the spouses in accordance with the appellate proceedings, which level of the Court and which Court will handle the case?

Husband or wife has the right to appeal against the legally invalid divorce judgement of the Court of first instance. The spouse may request the appellate Court to settle the divorce case in accordance with the appellate proceedings. After the dossier of the appeal case has been prepared, one of the spouses shall submit it at the Court of first instance that issued the first instance judgement or decision being appealed. With respect to jurisdiction, in case of a divorce with a foreign element, the superior Court of the place where the plaintiff submitted divorce documents and received the decision or judgement on divorce has jurisdiction over appeals of the first instance judgement; decision of the Court which is not yet legally enforceable and is being appealed. In case, the spouses are Vietnamese, and the case does not consist of any foreign element, the provincial People’s Court in which the plaintiff submitted divorce petition has jurisdiction over the appeals.

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