Question 9: Is a third party, a person or an organisation, allowed to apply for a divorce on behalf of either spouse? And why?

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In principle, the right to marry as well as the right to divorce are individual rights, accompanying each person which consequently cannot be assigned to any third party[2]. Thus, either the husband or wife cannot authorise anyone to apply for a divorce on their behalf. However, they may authorise a third party, a person or an organisation, to draft and submit the divorce petition to the competent Court for its acceptance. This is totally in conformity with the law as it follows the institution on an authorisation under the civil law. Additionally, if the spouses cannot submit the divorce petition to the competent Court, by themselves or by authorising a third party, they can submit it through the post.

Furthermore, under the Law on Marriage and Family 2014, the father, mother, and other relatives of a spouse are entitled to apply for a divorce on behalf of him or her if he or she suffers from mental illness or other kinds of illness making him or her unconscious of or unable to control his or her own behaviours, and he or she is a victim of domestic violence from the other spouse, causing serious threats to his or her own life, health, and mentality[4]. This is a new and humanistic point compared to the old Law on Marriage and Family 2000 as it helps the victim “escape” from a marriage that is meaningless to him or her. There are many cases where a mentally-retarded spouse was treated terribly by the other spouse. In this case, the rights and interests of the victim could be seriously violated. Hence, the ending of the marriage relationship was becoming so necessary but he or she was not able to do it himself or herself. In such cases, the law now allows a third party such as the father, mother, or any other relatives to such unfortunate persons to apply for a divorce. One of these third parties will become the spouse’s representative and will be entitled to attend to the activities in the divorce proceedings on his or her behalf.


[1] Điều 25.1 Bộ luật Dân sự 2015.

[2] Article 25.1 of the Civil Code 2015.

[3] Điều 51 Luật Hôn nhân và Gia đình 2014.

[4] Article 51 of the Law on Marriage and Family 2014.

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