Question 85: In the relationship of spouses, shall the right to decide of the creation, possession, use and disposition of common properties of the spouses, be decided by the higher-income spouse if there is, in fact, a significant difference in the income earned by each spouse? Why so?

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During the marriage period, the property rights and obligations of spouses towards the common properties of the spouses are equal, irrespective of the properties contributed and created by the spouses during their marital period[3]. Specifically, the common ownership of the spouses is joint ownership – a form of ownership in which the ownership right of each owner is not determined for common properties[4].

However, in real life today and in Vietnam’s cultural traditions which still bear the influence by feudalism, some families often suppose that the right to decide the creation, possession, use and disposition the common properties of the spouses belongs to the spouse who has the higher income in the family, usually the husband. Awarding the right to decide the creation, possession, use and disposition of the common properties of the spouses to the person with a higher income in the family is inconsistent with the spirit of the applicable Law on Marriage and Family. Spouses always have equivalent rights and obligation regarding the common properties of the spouses, even in the case one spouse generating/earning high income and the other spouse is staying at home with housework without generating any income. Moreover, according to Article 30 of the Law on Marriage and Family 2014, either spouse who wishes to use common properties of the spouses, dispose, and conduct transactions related to them for the purpose of serving the family or his or herself’s essential needs, is entitled to such rights without requiring permission from the other one. Consequently, the other spouse has no right to restrict, obstruct, or prohibit such right. It should be noted that according to the law, the common properties of the spouses must not belong to a group of properties requiring a joint decision or a written agreement of the spouses. These common properties of the spouses shall neither be related to the main and only source of income of the family.


[3] Article 29 of the Law on Marriage and Family 2014.

[4] Articles 210.1, 213.1 of the Civil Code 2015.

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